Meanwhile filming a 3 part travel series for the BBC, Dara O Briain and Ed Byrne found a lot of interesting places in and around Bangkok.
Thailand is an ideal destination for a perfect holiday which has the magnificent temples, incredible wildlife, delicious food and amazing beaches.
Road to Mandalay is the fascinating travel series of 2 comedians Ed and Dara as they traveled to Myanmar and its wonderful city of Mandalay from Malaysia, through Thailand.
Dara says: “Of all the places we visited, if you asked me where I’d bring my family on holiday, I’d say Thailand.
“You know what you’re going to get — Thailand is the blockbuster movie that’s going to be perfectly good and entertaining and fantastic and beautiful.”
Ed adds: “Myanmar is the cool, arthouse film that’s a bit trickier but ultimately a richer experience.”
Although Thailand is an interesting place, Ed and Dara found that it gradually loses the allure for tourists. This country has started to draw westerners since US GIs used it as a place for the Rest and Recuperation during the WW II.
When the war ended, Thailand became a member of the United Nations and a tourist attraction as well.
But Ed says: “No matter how far off the beaten track you go, there’s a gift shop. Even when you’re going to visit hill tribes, you pass a roller-coaster. It’s impossible to escape. So when we made this show, we had to talk about tourism, the positive and negative aspects of it. It’s geared up as a pleasure palace. In parts, it’s creaking under the amounts of people visiting.
“Bangkok is the single most visited destination in the world, not to mention Phuket and other places where they have to shut off some of the beaches to people because there’s nowhere for turtles to lay eggs.”
That was the elephants used in shows and for visitors rides affected to the duo. Ed says: “It’s ingrained in the culture — it used to be logging, now the elephants carry tourists around and sleep in built-up areas where there isn’t enough food for them to eat.
“We ended up talking a lot about sustainable tourism and how they can live in decent conditions. There’s no way to get away from tourism. So if you’re going to go, it’s about seeking out eco-tourism.”
Looking for a fresh and new experience, they chose Myanmar to be their next destination. Myanmar or Burma was achieved the democracy last year after decades ruling by the military dictator.
In the Irish duo’s opinion, this country will be a great destination for adventurous spirits. You can fly from Bangkok to Yangon (previously Rangoon) – the largest city of Burma.
Dara says: “Myanmar hasn’t had many visitors yet — the Buddhist monks were lining up to have selfies with me because I’m this giant from another part of the world. And people would wave at you as you drive past in the street. They’re so excited to see foreign faces.
“We saw things there no one has seen, or I haven’t seen in any documentary before.
“Yangon is this city with about 1,100 Buddhist temples and they are surrounded by farmland. There’s this incredible vista of trees and peeping above the trees are all these pagodas and temples as far as the eye can see.”
Ed adds: “Of all the places I’ve ever been, Myanmar is the one I’d like to go back to in five years. You know it’s going to be almost unrecognizable. It’s almost charming how they’re not quite geared up for tourism yet.
“You wonder how much is going to get knocked down and replaced with glass buildings.
“What’s amazing is you climb up to the top of the biggest temple and there’s no fence, no lighting, no warning sign. It’s very raw, very new.”
The pair also stopped at Malaysia where traditional and modern converges between the old colonial city of Georgetown or the rural Muslim areas and the bustling shopping city of Kuala Lumpur.
Dara says: “You think you’re going to find the real Malaysia, the one character that sums it up but it’s more of a patchwork.
“They are starting to get a comedy industry, so we went to a comedy club where they recently got their first gay comic and first female comic.
“We asked them about Malay humor but they said it isn’t a thing, because Malaysia is three or four communities which don’t really mix.”
The duo are just like any other parents who have children and only want a common place for a holiday. .
Ed says: “I’m not going to take a five-year-old and a four-year-old through these countries, so going with the BBC was the only way.
“A holiday for me is to sit in my house with my family.
“I suggested we go skiing after Christmas and my wife said, ‘Or we could just stay at home.’ And I just said, ‘Thank you for saying that.’ “The great thing about my job is I get to see things I wouldn’t get to see with my family because they’re so far away.”
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