The military dictatorship which controlled the country in one of the world's longest civil wars finally formally ended in 2011. However, the many years of strife left its toll, with systematic human rights abuse being a constant. Now, Burma has been renamed Myanmar (actually an old name and one which they regard as more encompassing of the people) and the famous heroine of the people, Aung San Suu Kyi, is free. I can't write the history here, but as an introduction to it, it's really worthwhile watching the film "The Lady". Given all that's happened to the people, it's amazing how much they smile. Certainly it could be said that they're happy to see the tourists coming back as it's a symbol of their new found freedoms. They are warm and gentle people, but they also know how to haggle ! At the moment, facilities for tourism are still in the development stage. Foreign phones and bank cards can't be used still, and hotel room numbers are still limited while they rapidly build new ones.

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