As Myanmar comes out of five decades of Army-imposed hibernation, it is finding the tourist game a tough one to play.
Khin Maung Win/AP/File
At night, the politically and culturally iconic Shwedagon Pagoda glimmers 325 feet high over a darkened Yangon. The ancient city of Bagan boasts a spectacular plain of more than 2,000 temples – some more than a millennium old – a short drive from Mandalay city is the old capital of Amarapura, home to the U Bein Bridge, the world's longest teak bridge and site of hazy lakeside sunsets.
International tourists to the country will tell you that Myanmar (also known as Burma) has some breathtakingly beautiful places to visit. But here's the problem: Tourists are hard to come by.
Earlier this week, local media reported that in the first nine months of the year, 357,159 tourists entered Myanmar. It will take another year or two for Myanmar to top the 1 million tourists per year mark, says U Naung Naung Han, the general secretary of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association.