September 25 2011
Now that Aung San Suu Kyi has softened her approach to tourism sanctions in Burma, developments are starting to show themselves beyond the country’s Bagan temple route. New outfitters are joining the fray, including Khiri Travel (www.khiri.com; from $475 for a seven-day itinerary), which has just opened an office in Rangoon. The South-East Asian specialist will now be offering excursions into more remote regions, including Thibaw and Kyaukme in Northern Shan State, and the Rakhine Mountains, its tours incorporating specialist guiding, such as the antiques-connoisseur-led visit to the colonial houses of Pyin Oo Lwin.
And on Ngapali, one of Burma’s most spectacular white beaches, Amara Ocean Resort (www.amaragroup.net; from $280) opens this month. The 26 bungalows are the brainchild of German Gerald Schreiber and his wife Kalayar, who also operate the teak Amara I and Amara II boats on the Irrawaddy. What makes this resort stand out is that fishermen still significantly outnumber tourists in this forgotten corner of the Gulf of Bengal, which is just a tiny sliver of the country’s 1,250-mile coastline (much of the rest is inaccessible to tourists).