Wednesday, 26th October 2016
The Strand Yangon to reopen next month
One of Southeast Asia’s most iconic hotels, The Strand Yangon, is due to reopen in November after a period to renovation. Ever since it was founded in 1901, the establishment has been the grand dame of Burma’s hotel scene but was in much need of a makeover for the 21st century.
Olivier Trinquand, vice president of the Strand, said: “The Strand Yangon was one of the first luxury colonial outposts to open in Southeast Asia, founded in 1901 by the famous hoteliers, the Sarkies brothers, and it remains one of the most architecturally beautiful landmarks in the region.
“This latest project has preserved the heritage at the heart of the hotel and honours the Strand's part in Myanmar's history, whilst creating a more relaxed, refined and glamorous setting for 21st-century travellers and explorers.”
It has taken six months to return The Strand to its former glory, during which time the hotel has been closed to guests. A team of local artisans has been employed to restore its original details, including teak panelling, antique bedsteads, traditional lacquerware and marble flooring.
As well as staying true to the traditional décor of the building, the hotel’s 31 bedrooms and suites have been fitted with modern amenities. These include air conditioning systems and in-room technology, ensuring a stay conforms to the standards expected in a luxury hotel in the 21st century.
While the hotel was closed
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Tuesday, 25th October 2016
Burma features among Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017
It’s that time of year again when Lonely Planet announces the places it believes we should be travelling to in the next 17 months. The guide book publisher has been in business since 1972 and certainly knows it’s stuff, which is why we believe it when it says that Burma is a hot destination for 2017.
Coming in at number nine on the list of countries to visit next, Burma continues to be a bucket list destination all keen travellers should tick off. So why go to Burma now? Lonely Planet outlined a selection of reasons for making the journey to this part of Asia in the near future.
Firstly, Burma has this year just seen the election of its first civilian government in 50 years. This has wide-ranging implications, from hope that life will become easier for its population and the proceeds of tourism going to local people to a more open society with better infrastructure for travellers.
Burma has been opening up in the last five years, with sanction having been lifted and tourists starting to flock to the country. It has been involved in many lists of places to discover before it loses its unique charm and it’s great to see it’s still up there.
While not all of Burma’s problems have disappeared overnight, it is moving forwards. With a unique sense of stepping back in time, it is a nation that has a huge amount to offer, from its incredible history and iconic sights to stunning landscapes and smiling faces.
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Thursday, 13th October 2016
New gateway to Burma to open in 2022
The construction of a highly anticipated airport for Burma is due to start in the new year, according to the country’s government. It has finally reached an agreement with a Japanese-Singaporean consortium and is expected to sign on the dotted line by the end of 2017. This would allow the Hanthawaddy International Airport to go ahead as planned.
Located to the north of Yangon, the new airport is expected be open to welcome travellers in 2022. When this happens, it will become the main gateway into Burma for foreign visitors and offer world-class facilities, the like of which the nation has never seen before.
At a cost of US$2 billion (£1.6 billion), Hanthawaddy will occupy a 9,500-acre plot of land, which once housed an old airport. Upon completion, it will be the landing destination for the majority of international flights, while Yangon will move to mainly domestic services.
The signing of the new concession agreement is good news for the project, which has been trying to get an airport built near the town of Pegu for nearly 20 years. Things stalled again in 2014 when negotiations about funding broke down, but are back on track.
Now, the 2022 date has been set for the first phase of the airport to be complete, at which time it should be capable of handling 12 million passengers a year. All being well, a second phase will then be undertaken to reach a capacity of 30 million.
That is according to U Ye Htut Aung,
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Monday, 10th October 2016
Is it worth visiting the Bagan Archaeological Museum?
It is not disputed that a trip to Bagan is an important part of any visit to Burma, as the site, consisting of more than 2,000 monuments is a highlight of the country. The question, then, is whether or not to include the archaeological museum as part of your itinerary?
Most people would expect such an institution at the world-renowned site to provide greater insight into its history and development over the years. While there are some fascinating artefacts inside, remember that Burma has only recently opened up to the world and the museum’s layout and organisation may not be up to the standards you’re expecting.
What’s in the museum?
The Bagan Archaeological Museum has no shortage of exhibits with some 850 artefacts having been discovered at the site and put on show. In theory, they have been organised into ten separate rooms, each with a different theme. They are:
Bagan Palace city, Bagan period literature, Bagan period social life, Bagan period architecture, Bagan arts and crafts, Buddha images of Bagan, Buddhist art of Bagan, Bagan period frescos, paintings presenting pagodas and monuments of the Bagan period.
In practice, everything is a little more muddled than this and descriptions, especially those in English, are few and far between. Despite this, it’s worth looking through the displays for some fine examples of Buddha images and bronze work.
Should you visit?
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There are some incredible performances you should not miss when travelling to Burma.
171 of Bagan?s historic pagodas have been damaged in a 6.8-magnitude earthquake.