Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Singapore Office Ladies will like- Lake Inle, Myanmar

"I don't want to tour Myanmar," my wife's colleague shook her head vigorously. "I want to go to Japan."

"Why don't you like Myanmar?" I was doing my survey as I have now been given a travel agency licence by the Singapore Tourism Board. This slim lady in her 40s could afford any trip as she had no husbands or children to support. She is the aunt whom nephews and nieces love as they get lots of love. One day she shocked me by saying, "I don't want to be associated with my nephews and nieces when I bring them to the Bishan Community library. I stayed far away from them." When I asked why, she laughed, "They are a noisy bunch". Fortunately, Bishan's community library for the children is in Basement Two. This is one library where the energetic progenies do not upset the others as they read and run wild.

Many Singaporeans are not keen on touring Myanmar and you can see that there are practically no advertisements on Myanmar tourism in Singapore's Straits Times.

"Too many potholes," the wife's colleague said. "Not comfortable travel."

I looked at my wife, "You have sabotaged my start-up business." She said, "The sunset of Lake Inle is so beautiful. Green hills on one side flowing past, calm waters. The sky's colour and hue are incredible..." Lake Inle will win the hearts of the office ladies of Singapore.

Before I could speak further, my wife asked me as she remembered my 2nd trip when my new Canon EOS 40 malfunctioned halfway during the visit, "Did you manage to take some pictures of the sunset of Lake Inle successfully? Did your camera malfunction due to the bumpy rides in Myanmar?" She associated rough rides to the damage to the Canon camera. I was holding the camera all the time, ready to take pictures. During my second trip, the camera could not focus. I should have brought more than one lens and camera - a lesson to be learnt.

"Yes," I said. I post three pictures here as the others are in other parts of the blog. Lake Inle is to be experienced as words fail to describe the serenity and beauty.

Lake Inle is worth at least 2 nights' stay to explore the villages and to hike. October is a good month but October to April should be good as the climate is cool.

Any office ladies or adventurers interested in making up a group of 6 to visit Lake Inle, tel 9664-0404, 9668-6468 or e-mail to> for a further discussion. The "danger" is only some bumpy rides in certain roads of the outlying districts.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wet Market, Myitkyina, North Myanmar

North Myanmar is off the radar for Singaporeans as this part of the country is never advertised in Singapore. Myitkyina will be the town where Singaporean tourists will stay.

For the internet generation, Myitkyina will be Singapore of over 50 years ago in many ways. The less hectic pace of life is evident here. For the baby-boomer generation, there is the nostalgia of seeing the history of urban development of Singapore some 50 years back. Bicycles and bikes are the major form of transport. You will be surprised if you see one teenaged girl cycling on the roads in Singapore. In Myitkyina Wet Market area, many young ladies just cycle to the market.

Visiting Myitkyina is like visiting history. The era before the bureaucrats developed Singapore into "First World". Nowadays, they must be thinking daily of how to "recover" the costs of new fees as there is no such thing as a free lunch. Some government units start to introduce new fees to regulate the businesses.

So, every year, the cost of doing business and living increases in Singapore. Something must be regulated. Get the private sector to pay. One medical equipment sales entrepreneur told me that in April 2009, every item he imports, e.g. a brand of suture is required to be inspected and fees are to be paid to the government. If he imports 1,000 items, he pays a hefty sum to the regulators. At least $20,000.

For small animal practices, there is a need to get an inspector to check the safety of the autoclave. That was because there was one explosion some years ago. So, every clinic with an autoclave must get an annual inspection or face the consequences. For safety reasons.

There have been some explosions of LPG gas used in apartments as not all Singapore homes have piped gas. Apartments have been burnt down. Should there be annual inspections of LPG gas cylinder valves for all apartments in Singapore. For safety reasons?

For example, the Wet Market in Singapore. Old ones are torn down and new ones are built with much smaller stalls rented out at very high rentals. The rentals are market rates and only those who can afford the rates will be able to rent the stalls.

In the picture of the Wet Market in Myitkyina, you will see that the fishmongers actually sit on top of the stall table to sell her fish. Therefore, more stalls can be set up. The Market is bigger than any in Singapore. There are many farm produce and fishes not seen in Singapore. It is a great visit for tourists from Singapore.

At night, there is a night-market selling all sorts of clothes and food. I walked the streets safely.

Myitkyina has some modern houses too but these are few. It has a big mosque and a beautiful church. Temples and pagodas predominate the religious landscape.

For those who love photography, there are so many scenes to take picture and practise their craft.

Readers who are interested in a personalised tour of Myanmar to de-stress and to bond with their children, e-mail or tel +65 9664-0404, 9668-6468.