Chilli – Myanmar’s hottest travel blogger
KHIN HTET HTET SAN The yanmar Times DECember 11, 2019
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page,” said Saint Augustine.
YANGON, Myanmar – Travelling can sometimes teach you more than a university course. You learn about the culture of the country you visit, the people, their customs, traditions and history. By noticing the differences, you’ll also appreciate what makes your culture unique.
According to Saint Augustine’s words, many girls (and boys) in Myanmar may have only read a page or two from the world’s books. Parents sometimes pressure their children, especially girls, to stay at home and look after their siblings. They’re not keen on letting their kids flee the nest, in other words.
There are those individuals, though, who are the pink flamingos among a flock of family pigeons – having flown the nest early, they want to explore places the other birds flock to. Chilli, aka Khin Myat Myat Naing, is one of those traveling flamingoes.
“Travel has been one of my favourite hobbies since I was young, and I also enjoy writing about the places I’ve been. I make sure I travel somewhere each month, so that I have something new to write about. Writing and blogging is a way I can share my experiences with others,” Chilli explained.
Chilli is the founder and editor of the “Go with Me” and “My Khayee” travel blogs. In her mid-twenties, the young traveller started her blogging career after finishing her matriculation exams in 2013.
On the top of Kyar Inn Hill, Hpa Ann.
After five years as a travel blogger, she has visited some 31 countries around the world and countless places in Myanmar. Her blog has a following of over half a million fans.
Part of her success is an excellent command of technology, shooting videos with her portable Go-Pro and smart phone cameras. She even launched a new feature on her Facebook page that links followers – once they have viewed or read her content – to businesses in the featured locations.
“At first, I want to publish ‘Go with Me’ as a mobile app,” Chilli explained to Metro. “But that needed a larger investment, both in terms of time and money. So, I just launched it as a bot together with my Facebook Page,” Chilli explained.
Kemala resort Thailand, she says it is a romantic place for couples.
The function will also be on Messenger. Followers just need to click on the ‘Go with me’ website, and answer questions from the auto replies: “Will you take a look at the food? Or relax in hotels?” or “Would you like to chill in bars?”
The programme is called “Ballobot”, and works by creating links to existing reviews for viewers to browse. It’s a feature that makes her blog interactive, connecting her own content to suggestions for her viewers to choose from – so that they can plan their own holiday adventures.
“That makes it easier to search and I don’t have to reply all the time. I’ll also be adding a “Top Pick” feature too, which will highlight 5 of the top places each month – based on what my fans vote for,” she added.
Though she makes good use of her social media skills, her most popular travel destinations are far from the world of technology and hyper-connectivity. Her trip to Kanchanaburi is Chilli’s most popular blog story, and helped make the “My Khayee” brand famous across Myanmar.
“I love that place – there’s no internet or electricity and the environment is surrounded by everything natural,” she added.
Aside from the appeal of remote locations, her blogs also explore the myths and personalities that make a place unique.
“I write about fantastic places with new perspectives, like visiting Bagan during night time. Not many people would think of doing that. It’s interesting to know, for instance, that certain spirits are said to inhabit the town at night,” she said.
“For example, “Moneywar Oo Phoe Shin Kyar” – he’s an ancestral spirit who has many wives. Every night before going to bed, he throws a pillow to his harem of wives. He only sleeps with the wife who catches the pillow. When I explained that legend on my blog, it became an instant hit,” she explained.
To maintain reader interest Chilli spends many hours researching a location before even leaving the house, looking for interesting places to go and people to visit when she gets there.
“Everyone might think travel blogging is easy, and pays really well. It is not true. It requires a lot of work, and I also have to use my own money to travel. Sponsors are only really interested if I have a certain number of followers. So to keep my blog going, I have to use my own money and take all the risks first,” Chilli told Metro.
Through My Khayee, she hopes to inspire travel around Myanmar and help fellow travellers to plan their own khayee (travels).
The Log at Gaw Yan Kyi Island.
“Compared with other countries, Myanmar’s tourism industry has a long way to go. Myanmar has a lot of beautiful natural places and there are a lot of ways to make more money but there is a lack of knowledge on how to promote it,” she explained.
Chilli’s blog is responsible for popularising many off-the-beat-and-track places to local travelers, such as Hsipaw in Shan state or Maungmagan beach near Dawei, but she believes more needs to be done to promote the country to overseas travelers. “In other countries, they hold events such as travel blogger workshops or meetings with bloggers from around the world so they can better promote the host country. I think we also should do that in the future.”
From: THE MYANMAR TIMES (MYANMAR) DECember 11, 2019