Visiting Myanmar (Burma)

The land I would like to introduce you to is not only one of the most beautiful in Asia, but also one of the most diverse in the world in terms of culture and natural resources. It extends some 2,000 km from a sub alpine region in the Himalayan foothills in the north to tropical rain forests on the Malay Peninsula in the south. In between are grasslands, semi-desert regions, mangroves and large areas of monsoon forest. In the entire world, Myanmar (Burma) is second only to China in biodiversity – a feast for the eyes of any visitor.

The landscapes of Myanmar (Burma) are dazzling. They include large mountain ranges with dense forests, vast mountain plateaux with deep valleys, and some 4,000 beautiful islands in the south. Serene lakes such as Lake Inle are found in the central part of the country, and two great rivers, the Ayeyarwady and the Thanlwin (Salween), traverse the country from north to south.

And then there are the wonderful people of Myanmar (Burma); some 60 different ethnic groups that speak over one hundred languages; among them the Burmans, the Shan, the Karen, and the Kachin. They are kind, friendly, unusually hospitable and highly civilized. They will welcome you to this land of great diversity and strong contrasts.

Pagoda in Bagan Myanmar (Burma) is a country with a long history and distinctive culture that you will encounter during your visits to the many historical and religious sites with their magnificent buildings in unusual settings. Bagan, Mandalay, Sagaing, Kyaikto, Kak Ku and Mrauk U are some of the splendid places you may want to see.

Unfortunately, this wonderful country is also a land of contradictions and controversy. Democracy and human rights have not yet been re-established. But there is a glimmer of hope. The military government and the opposition are holding talks under the auspices of the United Nations. Let us hope that these negotiations will lead to national reconciliation, which the country and its people urgently need before the nation can develop.

Myanmar (Burma) is still suffering from the after-effects of decades of socialism and self-imposed isolation, a destructive mixture that the former strongman Ne Win had prescribed for the country in 1962. The boycotts imposed by the West in order to pressure the present government into political concessions have been largely counterproductive. Boycotts hurt the average citizen more than a country’s leadership.

the youngest boys of the orphanage Aware of Myanmar’s many problems I decided to see the country for myself and to form my own opinions based on personal observations, contacts and conversations with the people of Myanmar (Burma). In the past six years I have visited the country six times, and have been to many parts of Myanmar, covering 13 out of the 14 states and divisions. I have written a report on the first two journeys, of which some chapters have been placed on this homepage. I hope you will enjoy them.

During my several visits to Mandalay I was introduced to two orphanages, the Mandalay Buddhist Orphanage for Boys and a separate Buddhist Orphanage for Girls. With the help of my German and American friends I have set up two charitable organizations, the latest one in the State of Hawaii, the CHILDREN SUPPORT INITIATIVE. Our aim is to improve the living and health conditions of about 360 girls and boys and to offer them practical training and access to higher education. This homepage includes a chapter on the two orphanages. Please have a look at it to learn more about the challenges and hopes of these special children.

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