In spring 2017 I visited Myanmar, a beautiful and wild country with a lot of jungle, buddhist temples and trash. Men wear national clothes similar to a skirt here, and one can find free water everywhere, as giving water to thirsty people is considered the best deed for your karma. The level of life is quite low here, but tourist prices are high compared to other countries in South East Asia, as the country was open for tourist relatively recently.
Here I want to share what are some interesting things one can do in Myanmar.
- Visit Bagan, the ancient capital of Myanmar, where you can find over 2000 temples in the fields, and just travel from one to another by electric bike. Here one can meet the sunrise and ride a hot air balloon watching over the temples of Bagan (one ride per person is 300$).
2. Buy a huge straw hat to protect yourself from the sun while roaming around by bicycle or on a boat.
3. Meet buddhist nuns at the longest wooden bridge in the world – U Bein bridge near Mandalay.
4. Roam around Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most sacred buddhist sites in the world, which is said to contain the reliques of four (buddhas), and is situated in Yangon. Here you can watch the monks and locals roaming around among the temples and buddhas, praying, meditating and burning incense.
5. Taste the sweet yummy and nutritious jackfruit.
6. Eat street food which you can buy on the sidewalk, it will be noodles mixed with veggie and sauces or rice with different little dishes, and one meal costs around 1-2$.
7. Ride a circle railway around Yangon, the tickets are very cheap and the full loop takes around 3 hours, it will take you around the city and you shall see markets and fields covered in trash, and local houses, some of which are very impressive slums.
8. Ride a boat on Inle Lake, where people live directly on the lake, and they produce a lot of handicrafts, such as silver, silk, cigars, wood carvings and even boats.
9. Buy handmade silver crafts from local tribes.
10. Use tanaka – the powder of sandalwood that locals put on their cheeks to protect themselves from the sun.
11. Chill on the grass in a park and meet a local boy band, who will play guitar for you, and is very promising to be successful in the future )
12. Sleep in a tiny “single room” in one of the Yangon hostels, and feel like you are in Japan.
13. Get some souvenirs from Pomelo,a fairtrade shop in Yangon which support handicapped people, orphanages and other disadvantaged Burmese people.
14. Be careful and check the situation before going, due to discrimination and conflicts between different ethnicities there has been tension in the country and many rohinyas became refugees in neighbouring Bangladesh.
15. Roam around the streets with your eyes wide open, inhale all the aromas of the cities and villages, look in the eyes of people and try to soak in all the sacred and authentic parts of this beautiful country.