After defeating the Tamil Tiger insurgency, in 2009, the Sri Lankan government has resisted calls to drawdown its massive security force. Instead, it has steered the military directly into an expanding range of businesses, perhaps none more conspicuous than tourism.
Though Bagan is less famous than Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, Egypt’s Luxor or Peru’s Machu Picchu, its historical treasures are no less impressive. Some 3,000 temples, monasteries and pagodas stretch across a 26-square-mile plain. The country’s recent rulers have been keen to make their mark on it. Their so-called beautification projects have been controversial, though.
It’s late evening outside Phnom Penh’s O’Russei Market, and Anthony Bourdain is sitting at a foldout table on the street, slurping a bowl of beef noodle soup. Around him, food stalls hawk everything from the obvious to the exotic, from pork buns to bird fetuses.
Ta Mok was the ultra-Maoist regime's top military commander. In Anlong Veng, an isolated district of mostly wooden homes and crop fields north of Siem Reap, the name still conjures a mixture of worship and fear.