For decades, travelers debated whether it was politically correct to visit the southeastern Asian country we used to call Burma but that today is called Myanmar. A military dictatorship ran the country and kept a Nobel Peace Prize winner under house arrest.
But over the last couple of years, the military has loosened its grip on things and freed Aung San Suu Kyi who subsequently won an election to a government post. Citizens can now access the Internet and the local press enjoys a bit more latitude.
Myanmar isn’t a poster child for democracy or freedom. But it’s being accepted by the world community, and visiting is no longer something most people debate. Myanmar says it doesn’t want mass tourism to overrun the country, and there seems to be no danger in that. Next-door-neighbor Thailand probably earns as much money from tourism in two weeks as Myanmar makes in a year.
And, yes, the government or friends of the government own or control many of the places tourists visit. If you go, I’d encouraged you to spend money on local small businesses and restaurants. I’d also suggest a guided tour by a company such as Audley that’s had a lot of experience taking travelers to Myanmar.