Magical Myanmar! As my parents are going there soon, I tried to sum up my highlights. Not an easy task without my travel journal, but here we go!
Golden Shewdagon pagoda
: a very nice shop, selling products from projects
Loved staying at the Pickled Tea Hostel
, probably the fanciest hostel I’ve ever stayed at!
Inle Lake, probably the most touristy part of the country, but oh so beautiful! Organise your own boat tour, just ask around for a nice guide. Start before sunrise. The fishermen fishing “traditionally” are sadly fakes. Silk manufactures, floating gardens and markets, a pagoda in the south where uncountable little bells sway in the wind, around Indein Village.
In Nyaung Shwe, the market is cool, and there is a super nice restaurant, owned by a French guy and a burmese lady.
I coincidentally went to Tauggyi
at the time of the balloon festival, a crazy event where thousands of locals get together to vote which of the handmade paper balloons, decorated with candles and/or fireworks wins the competition. I think it has something to do with the 1st full moon in fall, it’s pretty wild, and good! Apparently happening 29th October-3rd November 2017. Such a great event! So worth it! Check out that video!
I also went to a stunning temple in a forbidden region, but you need a guide and a driver and it’s a pretty big effort. The region you are going through is stunning though, they don’t see man white people there. Direction Nampan.
Kalaw is a pretty mountain village. You can hike from there to Nyaung Shwe, I think it takes 3 days.
the bridge at sunrise is truly an experience, the temple on the hill is cool, and the fortress. There I rented a bike to drive to Hsipaw. Crazy traffic as it’s the main land way to China.
There is also a train going that way, crossing over an insanely high bridge. Hsipaw has a great night market. From there, you can do day hikes into the mountains, and tea is being grown in that region. Also, an Austrian lady was married to the prince here.
I think from Mandalay, you can take the boat down the river Irrawady to Bagan.
Bagan is simply breathtaking! Make sure to visit different temples each day for sunrise and sunset, also check out the smaller, less known ones. I could have stayed there for weeks! So impressive! Cruise around on an electro scooter.
Apparently the temples in Mrauk U are super impressive as well.
one of my personal highlights, especially the tour on the island, pretty architecture, george orwell (burmese days) was stationed there.
has great rock art, caves with bats, and I also did a hike there through a field with buddhas and spent a night in a monastery on top of the hill. The monks don’t really care about you, and i’m sure there are better places to stay i a monastery if you want. But probably nice for a day hike, the views are good! Also, there is a massive buddha statue and that area. And a Vipassana meditation retreat.
Transport: super good luxury bus lines between the big touristy cities. The local buses are dodgy and an experience. I spent sleepless nights in night busses, always an adventure. I felt super safe, traveling on my own. Inland flights are affordable.
Every day I am discovering!