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Myanmar : Delight for travellers



This is Burma and it is unlike any land you know about – wrote by Rudyard Kipling. Today after over a century after he wrote this quote, Myanmar retains the power to surprise and delight the travellers. Myanmar was known as Burma prior to 1989; the name was changed during the Military rule. In the year 2015, Myanmar got its first Democratic governor in more than half a sanctuary.

Myanmar consists of over 100 ethnic groups bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon (Formerly known as Rangoon) is the country’s largest city and home to bustling markets, numerous parks, lakes and the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century.

Myanmar today

Once the democratic government took charge of the country, the country has seen international investors interested to do business in Myanmar. Myanmar has also seen social and economic changes since the new government took over. Modern travel conveniences such as mobile phone coverage with internet access, domestic flights connecting tourist places, modern hotels are now getting common. The new Myanmar is very much a work in progress country.

Old World Charm of Myanmar

Myanmar consists of multiple ethnic groups and even today Myanmar does remain a rural nation of traditional values. Local men will be seen wearing a Longyi – like a sarong and chewing betel nut and spitting the red juice on the ground, women are seen with faces covered with thanakha (a natural sunblock) and cheroot-smoking ladies. Drinking tea is very common and tea houses serving traditional savouries and tea are seen all over the place.

Myanmar – is rich with over 2,600 years of Buddhist civilization and posses many golden treasures across the country. Myanmar offers different travel option for different travellers from a rich cultural and historical experience with golden temples and pagodas in Yangon and Mandalay to vestiges of Bagan or a spectacular sunrise & sunset in Bagan or Mandalay.

Temples of Myanmar are distinct in design and patterns and temples or relics combine with spectacular surrounding scenery will leave an unforgettable impression of the rich and spiritual life leads by the locals.

Inle Lake offers extraordinary leisure along with a rich insight of local life and floating villages, floating gardens and markets. The Inle Lake also connects to some of the famous trekking routes or one can Drift down the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River in an old steamer or luxury cruiser or visit a beach on the blissful Bay of Bengal. Trek through pine forests to minority villages scattered across the Shan Hills offer a true glimpse of the local life of the Myanmar villages.

Thankfully, the pace of change is not overwhelming and has left the simple pleasures of travel in Myanmar intact. Best of all, you’ll encounter locals who are gentle, humorous, inquisitive and passionate. Now is the time to make that connection.

Jay Kantawala from WIYO Travel visited Myanmar in May / June 18 and felt that people are by far the best part of Burma; he was welcomed with smiles and kindness everywhere he visited. Now is the best time to travel to Myanmar as the new democratic government is working hard to improve the country’s image and uplift tourism. Myanmar today remains one of the world’s mysterious and untouched destinations.


Honeymoon spots that will make your marriage more memorable



honeymoon on beaches

After finally tying the knot with each other, the couple is always waiting for their best days of life; their honeymoon. Wedding always has a lot of planning from the big decisions down to the tiniest details that make the life miserable at times. Hence, to come out of this madness of wedding the best thing is to go for a honeymoon and relax. The honeymoon is their chance to be with each other, just the two of them and temporarily detaching their workaday lives and worries. This is a place where they want to spend their best time and hence most of the couples worry about finding the right place that is fun and enjoyable for both. Excited about being together in their own cosy space the couple feels happy. They need a place of their choice and comfort to start off their new journey and a new life together. Comfort and candour are important in a lasting relationship which starts with the honeymoon. Some may want to have a luxury honeymoon and some may want a short trip as per their budget. Anything is fine as long as both enjoy the most. The honeymoon is a chance for a newly wedded couple to reignite the inspiration that led them to choose each other in the life forever.

Vishal Kejariwal,Co-founder and CEO – Taxidio Travel India suggested five best honeymoon destinations outside India especially if you’re planning for a honeymoon in December, January and February. The base of the destination recommendations are on the season and that will help the couple to enjoy more.


Considered as the perfect post-wedding stress buster honeymoon spot. Mexico is a great combination of some exceptional nightlife along with beaches. The two must-visit beach places are, Cancun – known for its beautiful beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife. Tulum, is known for its palpable beaches and well-preserved ruins of an ancient Mayan port city. Here the couple can enjoy romantic walks along beaches by spending quality time with each other. Though Mexico is little far from India, it is one of the best honeymoon destinations. Since the flights to Mexico from India are slightly expensive, it could be a good idea to fly to the USA and then go to Mexico by road.

Mexico is not as cold as other western countries; the cities are in the typical range of 15-20 degree wherein Indian people can adjust easily. Beaches the atmosphere is around 25 degree so it is pleasant for Indian couples.


One can get the best memories captured in the camera when they are at the snow-capped mountains of Norway. Scandinavia offers to makes your honeymoon pictures and memories more beautiful. Couples can spend their days exploring the unspoiled snow along with the northern lights. Till the month of early April, the couple can get the chance to see the beautiful northern lights which are like having a once in a lifetime opportunity. Scandinavian nations like Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark are popularly visited by honeymooners who have thick pockets.


Enjoy your private and special place in each other’s heart in the mid of water. Water villas are one place where couples dream of staying with each other lifetime. If your travel plan is short for a week or so then the Maldives is definitely the place to go. The best thing in the Maldives is you just go park in the resort. The best place to stay is the ocean villa if your pocket supports that kind of villa and stay there for a few days. Ocean villa becomes a bit out of budget sometimes so we recommend people to take a good hotel or a beach villa and stay there for a few days and enjoy. Also, staying and relaxing in the ocean villa for a day can weave good memorable days. Many airlines give direct flights from India to the Maldives


This is a place that is typically unexplored by Indians, but it is one of most romantic gateways for any newlywed couple. It is one destination in Europe that is easy on the pocket. One can visit the beautiful city of Lisbon which is Portugal’s hilly and coastal capital city. It is a blend of tradition and modern as well as it is one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities of Europe. Another place to visit in Portugal is Porto that is a coastal city in its northwest. Madeira island is one must place to explore here as it has a lot to explore from adventure sports to water sports etc. Direct flights are there; lowest fares also available.

New Zealand

If you’re a couple who loves adventure then New Zealand is the best place to visit. It will be summer this season. If you love water rafting, sky jumping, hiking then this is the best place and season to do the same. Provided you’re an adventure person you will like this place a lot. This place also offers spectacular diverse landscape, stunning natural scenery and a welcoming community. Flights typically from India fly via Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Hongkong.


Above places are based on what kind of traveller you are, Mexico if you love beaches or nightlife, Scandinavian is high on a budget but very interesting in terms of the exceptional beauty of the place for Indians, as it is a great place to visit because of the snow-clad tops. Maldives is a place if you enjoy staying in the water; Portugal is one unexplored place by Indians but very beautiful and good for the pocket. And lastly, New Zealand is best for the couples who want to explore in adventure sports etc.

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US bill over reciprocity of access to Tibet awaits Trump’s signature



travel access to Tibet

Chicago, Dec 13 : The unanimous passage of a bill that insists on reciprocity between the US and China over travel access to Tibet is seen as a clear message that the US Congress is sending to Beijing about the situation in Tibet.

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which deals with “the level of access Chinese authorities granted US diplomats, journalists, and tourists to Tibetan areas in China”, seeks to deny admission to Chinese officials who prevent Americans from visiting Tibet.

It says, “The State Department shall report to Congress annually, identifying individuals who were blocked from US entry during the preceding year and a list of Chinese officials who were substantially involved in the formulation or execution of policies to restrict the access of US diplomats, journalists, and citizens to Tibetan areas.”

The bill now awaits signature by President Donald Trump to become law. Its passage was a result of a nearly four years of efforts by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and other Tibetan groups under the leadership of ICT chair and Hollywood star Richard Gere, a passionate activist and a committed Buddhist, as well as its president Matteo Mecacci.

Asked how optimistic he is about Trump signing the bill into law, especially at a time when his administration is engaged in a tense trade war with Beijing, Mecacci told IANS in an interview via email, “The overwhelming support shown by the US Congress for this bill, which passed unanimously both in the House and the Senate, is sending a very clear message to the Chinese government that the American people care deeply about the situation inside Tibet, and are concerned about the isolation that China has imposed.”

He said this bill is about the “principle of reciprocity that complements the Trump Administration’s policy”. “The State Department has also conveyed, during a hearing in the Senate, that it shares the goals of the bill and will implement it. We are confident that President Trump will take all these elements into account, when it comes to signing the bill into law,” Mecacci said.

On how, once it becomes law, it might impact US-China relations in the specific context of Tibet, he said, “The State Department, which on December 4 expressed official support for the goals of the legislation and plans to implement it, will have to assess the level of access to Tibet for American citizens and identify the Chinese officials who are responsible for blocking access, and eventually denying them visas to the United States.

“This is about reciprocity and fairness, and it is very important that the United States challenges China’s policy not only on trade or economic issues, but also on civil and human rights, such us freedom of movement, freedom of information and the rule of law,” he said.

President Trump has not been known to pay particular attention to Tibet. It is questionable whether he is aware of the historic complexities of the problem. Given that, it has not been clear how he might approach the bill waiting for his signature.

However, Mecacci is optimistic. “As I mentioned, the US Administration has been following this bill very closely and supports its goals. In general, the Trump Administration has already issued a report on the status of Tibet negotiations in May 2018 in which it has outlined its position on the Tibetan issue.”

On whether the bill may become a sort of political football in the trade dispute, he said, “This legislation was introduced in Congress well before the beginning of the Trump Administration and of the trade dispute with China. For decades, the US Congress and US Administrations have supported the aspiration of the Tibetan people to a better life. This will continue beyond a trade dispute. Since it is about American interest, we do not see how this can be impacted by the trade dispute.”

(Mayank Chhaya is a senior journalist of Indian origin based in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected])

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Taj Mahal entry fee hiked by Rs 200

Visitors who buy the Rs. 50 ticket would not be allowed to enter the main mausoleum, but would be able to move around the Taj and see the rear side, the Yamuna river front at the back.



Taj mahal

Agra, Dec 10: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Monday enforced a new ticketing system for the Taj Mahal, aimed at reducing increasing human impact on the fragile 17th-century white marble marvel.

Vasant Kumar Swarnkaar, the ASI chief in Agra, said the new ticketing system came into effect from Monday morning.

According to the ASI, visitors will now have to shell out an extra Rs 200 to enter the main mausoleum with the graves of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Earlier, the domestic tourists were initially paying only Rs 50 only.

Now, the visitors who buy the Rs. 50 ticket would not be allowed to enter the main mausoleum, but would be able to move around the Taj and see the rear side, the Yamuna river front at the back.

Foreign visitors will also need to buy the Rs 200 ticket in addition to the Rs 1,100 entrance fee.

The visitors from SAARC countries will have to pay Rs. 740 instead of Rs. 540.

The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute had originally suggested two tickets, to help reduce the number of visitors to the main structure.

The tourism industry has not appreciated the increase, fearing this step could hit arrivals.

The Taj Mahal is considered one of the finest specimen of the Mughal architecture.

In 1983, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”


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