Features - The Irrawaddy
Sex Sells in Burma’s Sin City

Nowhere in culturally conservative Burma is it easier to find sex than in Mong La, a Sino-Burmese border town with a reputation for the illicit.

Market Growth and Moral Decline in Mong La

The Sino-Burmese border town of Mong La has long been a den of vice, but that hasn’t stopped Burma’s president from exhorting its economic success.

Mandalay’s Handmade Gold Leaf Industry Under Threat

Golf leaf manufacturers in Mandalay say cheaper, machine-made foil—which is of lower quality—is now being used at Rangoon’s Shwedagon Pagoda.

In US, Burmese Sushi Chef Crafts New Career on Incubator Farm

A physicist from Armenia, a juice-maker from Bermuda and a Burmese sushi chef all join a program that applies the business incubator model to farming.

Getting the Word Out

Yangon’s music scene is flowering, with an open mic night at Transit Shed No. 1 and a concert including world-class musicians at the National Theater.

Phantoms of Flight

In Myanmar and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, ghosts are said to haunt airports, popping up everywhere from cockpits to arrivals halls.

In Burma, Risky Drugstore Sales a Regular Part of Life

Despite the chance of negative reactions, many Burmese bypass the doctor’s office to buy prescription-only medicine without prescriptions, hoping to save money and time.

On the Border, a Lifeline for Burma Migrants With HIV

An ethnic Karen woman finds support for her illness after moving to Thailand, where she now helps run a shelter for orphans and vulnerable women.

A Lifetime of War, with No Peace in Sight

A 92-year-old Kachin man, who is living in a camp for internally displaced person, recalls his decades of fighting against—and for—the Tatmadaw.

Standing Tall

A synagogue in central Yangon testifies to the resilience of the city’s Jewish community despite the many setbacks of the past.

Can Meditation Really Slow Aging?

Is there real science in the spiritualism of meditation? Elizabeth Blackburn, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist in the United States, thinks so.

Portraits of Burma’s Independence Hero

An art exhibition to honor Gen. Aung San opens on Saturday, the 67th anniversary of the independence hero’s assassination by a political rival in Rangoon.

Burmese Workers Still Manning Thai Dream Island

On the upmarket resort island of Ko Tao, about 70 percent of workers in the tourism industry hail from southern Burma.

In West Burma, Ancient City Needs Care: Activists

In Mrauk U, a campaign is under way to preserve religious edifices that date back to Arakanese kingdoms but have been neglected for years.

Not the Same Old Song and Dance

A creative musical challenges priorities in international efforts to end human trafficking.

Book Review—Refugee Camp Governance with a Difference

A new book on the 30-year history of refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border gives new insight into the unique way they were run.

Black Gold Rush

Oil fields abandoned by Burma’s state-owned oil company have turned into a lawless arena for local drillers and petrol smugglers.

Yangon’s Pedal Power

The commercial capital’s ubiquitous “sai kaa” cycle rickshaws support a sizeable workforce, and offer a unique way to see the city.

Talking Peace, Thinking War

Burma’s vaunted “peace process” is in danger of collapsing, as the beating of war drums begins to drown out the sound of talks.

A Day in the Valley of Darkness

A Polish explorer travels to Hukawng Valley, which he describes as Burma in miniature — a place where the entire country’s problems are concentrated.