Myanmar remains the same
Things change, but Myanmar is still one of the most beautiful countries to visit in Asia, and for me it’s true: this trip to Myanmar was truly unforgettable. It is a place where you really feel like you are the only tourist in the world. Or in my case, the only two tourists: I went there with one of my best friends to escape from our busy everyday lives and to find some calmness.
The greatest landscape: Bagan
The first stop is Bagan. My favorite place in Asia! Bagan has the most amazing temple landscape – forget Thailand, forget Cambodia – you have never seen something like this. When the sun slowly rises above the temple landscape, everything glows in a magic light. Enjoy a tour around the beautiful scenery by horse carriage or bicycle, but make sure to also stop at some of the smaller temples. Take time to walk up the stairs, sit down to enjoy the view and the quietness of the early morning hours.
A must do is the hot air balloon sunrise tour. It’s breathtaking and really I have no words to describe it to do it justice. It is a once in a life time experience but be aware that you will have to share this one with quite a few other tourists.
On a bridge in Mandalay
The second stop is Mandalay. This old city inspired many authors like Rudyard Kipling in the 19th century and it is still an amazing experience if you go there today. There are different ways to get there from Bagan, but I think you should plan more time so you can take a boat up the Irrawaddy River. This can take up tp 12 hours, but it was an amazing trip. Mandalay is a busy city with 1,2 million inhabitants and a big tourism because of the famous Kings Palast. It is the second biggest city in Myanmar after the capital city Yangon and everything that you imagine a busy expanding asian Metropolis to be. Including the smog and constantly honking traffic. Nevertheless, there is one thing I recommend you to see in Mandalay and it’s the U Bein Bridge. Take a small boat and drive out on the Taung Tha Man Lake to enjoy the sunset over this beautiful bridge. It is more than one kilometer long and I do recommend to walk along the bridge to enjoy the stunning view. Get ready to meditate at the sight of this peaceful image – when the sun sets and you see silhouettes of Monks quietly crossing the bridge.
Looks funny: the traditional “One Leg Rower”
The third place to find your calmness is the Inle Lake. It is known to be the biggest lake in Myanmar. Our tour? Taking a boat, together with volunteers from “Doctors without boarders”, who we met shortly before. But everyone can do this tour which will take you across the whole lake, passing by the floating gardens over to a silk factory ending up at the local market in the south. There trying “Bethel” for the first time, left a remarkable memory but something I will never forget are the so called “One Leg Rowers”. It’s a technique used by fisherman to continue rowing with the help of their leg to have their hands free to be able to fish on the go.
As for the capital city Yangon, I can say that you don’t have to spend a lot of time there. Maybe a day to arrive and recover from your international flight and to look at the famous Shwedagon Pagoda. But that’s all. Get out of there.
Myanmar is sure to be on many travelers wish lists, so make an effort and try to get there soon before it get’s overcrowded to have a chance and experience it the same way I have. Peaceful, mind calming and just breathtakingly beautiful. Have fun!