» Myanmar: Country of Many Faces VIII – Trek up Mount Victoria
Myanmar: Country of Many Faces VIII – Trek up Mount Victoria
Let's climb up the second highest mountain of Myanmar. Nice weather means beautiful vista over mountains in India and to Bangladesh. There is a complicated road to the base camp. On the other hand, the climb is easy and takes you up to 3053 meters above sea level.
The planned route which peaks with making to the top of Mt. Victoria is doable in three days. Don't mind travel agencies trying to tell you out of it. You need one day for a ride from Bagan to Kampalet, one another day to climb up the mountain and the third day for a ride back. However, you can't go for a trek to Mt Victoria without buying it at a travel agency.
We are headed towards Chin State. Our green jeep bumps on dirt road. Its wheels with tractor pattern fight potholes showing up all of a sudden from dust clouds. Usan, our driver, is experienced. He drives carefully and safely as much as possible. Two hours later we stop at a hut.Its dwellers gift us buffalo meat with rice and nuts.
We meet "road builders" while on our way. They don't wear orange vests nor some protection equipment or even contemporary working tools. They slim and build roads with their bear hands. Women and children break down huge stones with hammer and carry them then in bamboo baskets on the dirt road. Half of the road is covered with stones and the other is separated by a thin lotos thread. It operates as a provisionary part for the traffic. Men thread heavy barrels on a backrest to stone baes. This is the life of mountain dwellers of Chin State, a state where new infrastructure is being built and the state is getting ready for a boom of the tourist industry.
We reached the main camp in Kampelet after an eight hour of ride from Bagan. We found accomodation at a hut. The price we bargained to 70 dollars for four persons a night. The huts are situated in a pine forest which smells after pine trees. Once it gets dark electricity is turned off as well as water. However, pancakes and home-made jam for breakfast made up for it. Let's go to Mt. Victoria!
In the morning, we buy an access to Nat Ma Taung national park (4500 kyats per person, ca. 90 Czech Koruna). It is obligatory to hire a guide. We spotted a nameless village two kilometers on the road. Mountain dwellers observe us with fear in their eyes. The elder approaches us and invites us for rice wine – as a welcoming gesture. It is the perfect time to give away our colored pencils with Little Moal as a motiff. We have kept it entire journey for some special ocassion.
Children are covered by dust and louses dwell within their hair. They smile, play with us and one Czech game is fun even for grown-ups. Eventually, even the last door open and women with tatooed faces approach us. This is one of the grimm consequences of hars military junta. Soldiers raped women. Therefore girls voluntarily made their faces ugly to not to be attractive for soldiers
We go up in the jeep for about 30 minutes in a very slow pace. Then our driver parks the car and we set off on foot to the top of Mt. Victoria. It is really important to set off early in the morning for there often is fog. You can't get lost while going to the peak of the montain. There is only one path leading up. Moreover, it is lined by red rhodies floewrs. our guide didn't listen to our claims that we can manage the walk up by ourselves. He joined us for about 1 kilometer. Then he said his goodbyes and e waited at the car. Thirty minutes later we hear the noise of his bike. His consciousnes didn't let him to leave us on our own.
The statue of Buddha emerges from behind hills after two hours of walk. It sits at 3053 meters above sea level. It is a bright day and we see mountains in India and also we see lands of Bangladesh. It is quite windy up there. Therefore, it is good to pack some more clothes into your backpack. It is nice to sit down at a Chinese flag and let your thoughts flow.
Next week we take you to Lake Inle.
GPS: 21°13'57.9"N 93°54'10.5"E
Text and photos: Šárka Vacková
Castle gates, gigantic royal palace, wooden teak cloister, world´s largest book, the Iravadi river – welcome to Mandalay.
Do you like ancient monuments, temples and learn about new cultures? Then there is probably no better place in the world than Myanmar, a country that opened its borders in 2012 to the western world. The Republic of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is the youngest country in Southeast Asia. The westernmost country of Indochina is located on the peninsula of India's back along the Bay of Bengal. It borders Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. Since 2005, it is its new capital, Neipyijto. Burma is a Buddhist country, with less than 90% of the population reporting this religion. The official currency is the buzz, but some hotels and local travel agencies accept US dollars.
They call Myanmar the gate between India, China, and southeast Asia. In country's largest city - Yangon - you quickly realize why it is so. There, influences of all cultures of the region meet as well as people - Indians, Chinese, Burmese... Let's quickly see the center and the suburbs of the city.
Burma's second largest city sometimes gives you the feeling as it doesn't fint into the country. To be honest, I loved it more than any other city in the country yet it was unimpressive at first. Let's make a quick look at the city.
One of the most popular place in Myanmar is Inle Lake. There are couple of interesting things about it. First, there are traditional fishermen. But also, there are unique floating gardens, and many villages built on water - on lake, or the river streaming from the lake.
Southeast Asia is booming. Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia are in some respects much more developed than we here in central Europe. However, should you like to experience the "true", unglobalized Asia then travel to Myanmar, Cambodia or - as we in this short video - to Myanmar, the country you might know as Burma.
The last stop in Burma is devoted to recreation on beach and a motorbike trip. A banana shake for breakfast, sea fruits for dinner. Peace, quiet, swashing of the waves during the sunrise and the sunset. Paradise or reality?
There are only handful of places where you don’t have to think about anything. I enjoyed this state of mind in a cave.
Great performance of the sun and the longest teak bridge in the world in the background. This you can see at only one place in the world.
A town where is a water canal, banana trees, remains of wooden cloisters. Curious looks of Burmese children, and a pleasant encounter with farmer Uman.
Myanmar is its most beautiful side in the Shan State and around the tourist magnet, Inle Lake. You can easily reach it by bus, but how about a two-day to three-day adventure trip from Kalaw? You will experience a journey from village to village, between different ethnic groups. You will sleep in a Buddhist monastery, you will have the opportunity to get closer to the local culture and life in the countryside, and finally you will reach the aforementioned Inle Lake. The lake is one of the most popular and at the same time the most beautiful tourist destinations in Myanmar.
Monumental pagodas over 250 years old are glitter under sun shine. Pointy cactuses rise among temples made of red bricks. There are also bushes with red and rose blossoms. You can hear a clapping sound made by shepherd’s clogs.
Colonial structures, an English-style tower, railway stop, orchid park, bamboo bushland, the view over a botanical garden, motorbike ride, waterfalls and rainbow and a great melon at the end. This is Pwin U Lwin. A town with a hidden face of fresh Burmese beauty.
While travelling across Burma, we travel to Hsipaw in Shan State in the north of the country. Full moon is about to come. In this time a large celebration takes place in Bawgyo. Many Burmese delicacies are sold during this time, and you can experience also some fair rides and fire works.
Whistling train comes on time. The rails squeak. We looked down into the mouth of the canyon up form the Gokteik viaduct. What should we see first? The view over scarily deep canyon or slow moving of the train? Welcome to the one of the most famous railroad viaducts in the world.
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