Traveling has become more popular in Myanmar for the past few years and Burmese people, both young and old, are always looking forward to seeking adventures in new places all across Myanmar. Their destinations vary, from beaches like Chaung Thar, Ngwe Saung, mountainous places like Kalaw Hpa-an, to plains like Bagan, Mandalay. Despite the variations in places they go to, I have observed some similarities in them and separated them into five different types of travelers.
(This is a light-hearted observation of travelers in Myanmar and it is recommended not to be taken too seriously.)
- Foodies travelers @ Ma-thi-buu-sar-mel
These people usually do not care much about where they are traveling to and all they could care about is what to eat when they have reached to their destinations. They will prepare the list of things to eat weeks before their trip. Their list usually goes like this: To eat rice salad (hta-min-thote) in Pyay, Shan noodle in Taunggyi, khotaung mont-ti in Mandalay. Even when they have arrived at the attraction sites, they first stop at the nearby restaurants to try local snacks and drinks. At every stop they make, they will buy snacks to bring them back to their homes. Sometimes, their spending on food may exceed the total spending of traveling and accommodation throughout the trip.
- Peer-pressured travelers @ Ma-lite-chin-lite-chin kha yee twar myar
These people normally do not like traveling but are usually persuaded by their friends to travel. They would rather love to spend their times reading books or listening to music at their homes but the peer-pressure of their friends is so high that they could not resist them. As they were dragged to the trip, they do not share the same excitement that their friends are feeling during the trip. Even when they have reached their destinations, they cannot enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and rather blame themselves for joining the trip. They also feel that they betray their homes and the only joy they can get from the trip is the thought of the time they will be reading their favorite books in the warm beds. The most fun part of the trip for them is when they get back to their homes.
- Home-allergy travelers @ Ma-thi-buu-twar-mel
They are the total opposite of peer-pressured traveler. As mentioned in the title, they have a serious allergy with their homes and they cannot even stay a second at their homes. They are always browsing through internet and looking for places to go during weekends. They do not care much about whether their friends are going or not and they can travel to the same destination more than once as long as they do not have to stay at their homes. They love to go through the calendar every day, searching for public holidays. Even when in Yangon, they would repeatedly go to shopping malls, pagodas, restaurants, and parks just to stay away from their homes. This is just how much they do not like staying at their homes.
- Poppin travelers @ Ma-thi-buu-yite-mel
These types of travelers make up the large percentage in Myanmar. They would love to go to any places that have gained popularity in Facebook for the past few months. Arranging a trip with such people is the easiest among all types because they want to reach to these popular places as soon as possible. Even before the trip, they will post the bus ticket photo with the caption “feeling excited” on Facebook. An irony with these people is that they spend more time with mobiles rather than enjoying the beauty of tourist attractions during the trip. Popular activities among them include taking a photo on the bridge in Taung-wine Mountain, painting the Henna tattoo on their hands in Bagan, trekking along the trails of Kalaw and relaxing in the gigantic swimming pool at Thuwunna Bumi Mountain View Resort.
- Backpackers @ 8-ta-lone-swal kha yee twar myar
This is the highest level among the travelers. Although they make up quite a very few percentage, they show the keenest interest to the places they are going. They do not rush making their decisions in choosing the destinations, and make proper research about the areas before the trip. Usually, they set a tight budget for the trip and do not spend a lot on eating and accommodation. They would rather spend more money to explore more areas during the trip. They spend time interacting with locals, stopping at each tourist attraction area for quite some time and immerse themselves in the environment, reminiscing of the good old times of these places. These types of travelers are not made but are born with it.
Zaw Ye Naing