January 2010 • Foreigners who visit Myanmar begin in the capital Yangon, because land crossings are prohibited and air arrivals can be more strictly controlled. For over 20 years, this country has been beaten down by autocratic rule and international economic sanctions, yet the Myanmar people are the warmest, smilingest, most unjaded I've ever encountered. Not sure what explains it—maybe a unique alchemy of national character, Buddhist faith, and extreme isolation from the rest of the world. But all that is about to change. Two years since these photos were posted, the government is showing tentative signs of reform, and Aung San Suu Kyi has rejoined the political process. Myanmar is a white-hot travel destination, and developers are doing what they do best—surveying, planning, buying, profiteering—to take advantage of the tourist influx. Best of luck, Myanmar. All you need do is look across the border at Thailand to see how ugly this could get.
33rd Street, Kyauktada township
Ferry to Dalah