Now, in a sign of how much life there has changed, the democracy activist and longtime political prisoner is resuming world travels, arriving last night in neighboring Thailand after an 85-minute flight from her homeland.
With the installation of an elected government last year, and her party's own entrance into parliament this year, she can claim at least partial success for her long fight and feel the freedom to explore the world.
In several days in Thailand, Suu Kyi is to meet with poor migrant workers and war refugees from her homeland, as well as taking part in the World Economic Forum on East Asia.
In Dublin, she'll share a stage with U2 frontman Bono, a staunch Suu Kyi supporter, at a concert in her honor, according to Irish media. In London, she has been given the rare honor of addressing both houses of Parliament. France's Foreign Ministry says she also plans to stop in Paris.
The tour marks Suu Kyi's latest step in a stunning trajectory from housewife to political prisoner to opposition leader in Parliament, as Myanmar opens to the outside world and sheds a half century of military rule, with President Thein Sein getting her back for am ambitious program of reforms.
Earlier yesterday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with her in Yangon, saying her "life and her struggle, her determination has inspired millions of people all over the world" and inviting her to visit his country.
The trip "signifies a strong vote of confidence on Suu Kyi's part in the seriousness of the reforms under way," said Suzanne DiMaggio, the Asia Society's vice president of Global Policy Programs.
The last time the 66-year-old Nobel laureate flew abroad was a year before the Berlin Wall came down, in April 1988, when she traveled from London to Myanmar to nurse her dying mother.