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Campaigning for an open, accountable and responsible tourism industry in Burma/Myanmar
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How to visit Myanmar responsibly

  • Read our “Dos and Don’ts for Tourists” cartoons. Download for free at www.dosanddontsfortourists.com.
  • Browse our database of Tourism Businesses in Myanmar to read about our featured businesses and find out which ones have caused controversy in the past.
  • Buy local, sleep local, and spend local. Patronize locally owned businesses to ensure the money stays n the local community. Try to spread your spending: critics of independent travel argue that travelers’ spending usually bottlenecks at select places, even if those spots are privately run (Lonely Planet Myanmar 2012, pg 23). Be conscious that behind-the-scenes commissions are being paid on most things you pay for when in the company of a driver or guide. Ask yourself where your money goes.
  • Try to make informed decisions. Ask your tour guide, hotel receptionist or anyone related to tourism you meet, about the tourism impacts on the local community and environment. Ask them what they are doing to minimize negative impacts.
  • Do not give ‘Tea-Money’. Do not participate in bribes. Just refuse.

 

Seek out projects that are beneficial to the community and teach you about the local community.
Below are some of our ideas. Please share yours!

  • Explore the music scene! Especially the alternative music is a great way to get to know contemporary culture in Myanmar. The website www.myanmarxbands.org is a hub for the Burmese punk scene along with other alternative Burmese music. Music Center Gitameit is a community music center and performance space that covers a wide variety of genres form around the world.   http://www.gitameit.com/
  • Support Myanmar’s traditional arts and crafts by visiting workshops and learning how things get made. You can learn about Myanmar folk toys, wood carving, laquerware, lotus fiber weaving, silk and cotton weaving, tapestries, pottery and ceramics, umbrellas, hand-made paper, silverware or gold leaf making.See a traditional music, dance or puppetry show.
  • Eat locally! Go to restaurants serving traditional Myanmar dishes (order 1 main dish and a table full of side dishes will appear on your table) and remember your visit would not be complete without a visit to a local tea shop. You can ask your guesthouse about their favorite local restaurant. Definitely try the street eats.
  • Go to Art Galleries. Art Gallery listing for Myanmar:

http://artstreammyanmar.net/galleries/galleries.htm
http://sstmyanmar.com/tourism/destinations/galleries_guide.html

(see recommended galleries in Yangon below)

  • Visit National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries to learn about Myanmar’s nature and conservation efforts. Then please tell us about your experiences and impressions.

Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve, Kachin State
Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, Kachin State
Hkakaborazi National Park, Kachin State
Natma Mountain and National Park, Chin State
Hlawga Wildlife Park, Htaukkyant, Yangon Region
Myaing Hay Wun Elephant Camp, Yangon Region
Meinmahla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary, Ayeyawady Region
Ngwe Saung Elephant Camp, Ayeyarwady Region
Moe Ingyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary, Bago Region
Pho Kyar Elephant Camp, Bago Region
Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park, Sagaing Region
Shew Settaw Wildlife Sanctuary, Magwe Region
Myeik Archipelago, Tanintharyi Region
Myanmar Orchids in Kachin, Chin and Shan States as well as in Mandalay Region.

 
Ideas by destination

YANGON

  • Rent a Taxi from Golden Harp Taxi Service, a taxi collective run by former political prisoners. You can hire half day, full day, or longer. Just ask. You will get a special tour of Yangon with them. Contact Golden Harp at shwehinthar2012@gmail.com or call Talky (+95 9) 450019186, Shell (95 +9) 449004810, Bo Bo (+95 9) 428117348 or Tun Myint (+95 9) 73217789, or download this PDF for more information.
  • Visit Bogyoke Aung San Museum. No 15. Bogyoke Museum Lane. Bahan Township. Yangon. Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. $2 entrance fee.
  • Go on a book tour. Explore the currently evolving media landscape and browse the book shops and newspaper stalls. Check out the second hand books on the southern side of Bogyoke Aung San Road between Traders Hotel and Bogyoke (Scott) market. Another good location is Pansodan Street between Mahabandoola and Merchant Road. Or you can walk along 37th Street and you will find plenty of bookshops. Also recommended are Innwa Book Shop, Myanmar Book Centre, Bagan Bookhouse, Green Bookstore, and Monument Books. Check out http://myanmarinsights.com/english-books-yangon for more info. Please contact us.
  • Visit Art Galleries

Gallery 65 http://www.facebook.com/pages/GALLERY-65/220776431299262
Thavibu Gallery http://www.thavibu.com/
New Zero Art Space Gallery http://www.newzeroartspace.net/index.htm
Inya Art Gallery http://inyaartgallery.tripod.com/index.html
River Gallery http://www.rivergallerymyanmar.com/
Pansodan Art Gallery http://pansuriya.wordpress.com/pansodan-art-gallery/
New Treasure Art Gallery : No 84/A, Thanlwin Road, Golden Hill Avenue, Golden Valley, Bahan Township, Yangon.
Anawmar Gallery : 18A, Thukhawaddy Road, Sooniram Park, Yankin Township, Yangon.
Art Asis NYC http://www.artasianyc.com/index.htm
Heriot-Grant Gallery http://heriot-grantgallery.com/

  • Visit Free Funeral Services Society: Myanmar celebrity Kyaw Thu is a founder and president of the Free Funeral Services Society, Yangon (FFSS), which provides free funeral services to the poor. He has used his prominence to help the country's poor. As of June 2008, the society had paid for over 50,000 funerals. Since 2003, his society has also helped pay medical costs in poor neighborhoods of Yangon, and since 2007, started a free clinic for the poor. You can visit and leave your much appreciated domation. +95-1-580133 info@ffssyangon.org

http://www.facebook.com/ActorKyawThu
http://www.ffssyangon.org/


INLE LAKE

  • Rent a bike and ride around part of the lake stopping at local shops for refreshments and take a peek at little visited pagodas. You can hire a boat to ferry you (and your bike) across the lake and continue your cycling trip on the other side.


KALAW

  • Shop at the Rural Development Society’s fair trade shop. You can also hire guiding services at the shop and in return make a donation to the RDC for its many community projects. No 4. Ward, Myoma Road, West side of market.


MANDALAY

  • Visit Paung Daw Oo Monastery and find out what donations are needed. This monastic education center in north-eastern Mandalay was founded in 1993 and has provided private free education to thousands of under-privileged children of Mandalay. The centre also provides free healthcare to local residents with doctors and staff volunteering their time.

 

PA AN

  • Thar Man Nya Monastery offers free vegetarian food every day. Please consider donations. To give food which is redistributed among the poor in the village is customary and very much appreciated in Myanmar.

When you’re back home, build awareness around you about your impressions of responsible tourism in Myanmar. Helping can continue for a long time after your visit by raising friends and family’s awareness about whether and how it is possible to visit Myanmar responsibly.