The world according to Nyi Nyi "Frankie" Naing

With our annual World Guide Awards just around the corner, we chat to shortlisted Nyi Nyi "Frankie" Naing, from Burma

5 mins

Mountain/desert/jungle/ocean which are you?

I think I like "Mountain" more than "Ocean".

First travel experience?

Bangkok in 2003. It was the first time that I saw what the world looks like to someone not Burmese. It was crowded, with big towers and too many cars.

Favourite journey?


Top five places worldwide?

Bagan, New York, London, Paris, Vienna.

Special place to stay?

A clean, nice and friendly home.

Three items you always pack?

Passport, camera, guide-book.

Passport stamp you're proudest of?


Passport stamp most like to have?

UK, or Schengen

Guilty travel pleasure?

Ahh... I had a drink in a bar in Kuala Lumpur during Ramadan. Does that count?

Window or aisle?


Who is your ideal travelling companion?

My wife.

Best meal on the road? Worst?

There is a vendor nearby "Victory Monument." He sells salad of "fresh small shrimps". I tried it once and I can still remember the taste.

The worst meal I had in my life was in Chin state, Burma. It was "pork curry." It was so smelly and couldn't bite a bit.

Most surprising place? Most disappointing?

Bagan is most surprising place to me. I do not have a disappointing one.

Where do you NOT want to go?

I do NOT want to go to (perhaps) Dubai.

Who/what inspired you to travel? Any travel heroes?

I don't think I have one. I have "too many" indeed. When I start to see "tourists" in my country, I start to think why people travel around. When I travel inbound, I feel like I know what the travelling makes sense to me.

What do you listen to on the road? Any song take you back to a particular time or place?

It depends on my mood of the moment. I store "music" on my hard disk/phone both Burmese and international. I perhaps play "Beethoven" when I am in Vienna. I also like "classic rock" music.

What do you read ?

I would bring Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman if I go to Middle East.

Is there a person you met while travelling who reaffirmed your faith in humanity? Anyone who made you lose it?

When travelling, I see both of them.

What's the most impressive / useful phrase you know in a foreign language?

Could you please do me a favour?

What is your worst habit as a traveller?

Absentmindedly making friends, talking too long without thinking if she/he might want to part.

Snowbound in a tent in Antarctica, how would you entertain your companions?

I would play cards, guitars and drink "some strong liquor" together.

When and where in your travels have you been happiest?


What smell most says 'travel' to you?

A fresh breeze or the smell of "basal leaves".

Given a choice, which era would you travel in?

Right now...

If you could combine three cities to make your perfect metropolis, what would they be?

Bangkok, Las Vegas and London.

Wanderlust World Guide AwardsFrankie is one of four finalists in this year's Wanderlust World Guide Awards. The winner will be announced at a gala event at the Royal Geographic Society on October 4, 2012. Register for your free tickets now.


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