Myanmar: Country of Thousands of Temples and Pagodas
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.
Burma or Myanmar?
The country was known in the past as Burma. In 1989, the military junta gave this country a new name: Myanmar. Burma was a colonial name from which the country's new leadership wanted to cut off and also made it clear that there was a new state here. You can use both names during a visit. For the local elderly generation, it is still inhabited by Burma, while the younger population call it Myanmar.
Myanmar is an authentic country, still untouched by mass tourism. It offers a huge number of mysterious temples, sights and attractions. Many travelers are often known as the "tourist triangle" - the cities of Yangon, Bagan and Inle Lake. The largest attraction in the north is undoubtedly the Bagan temple complex, an archaeological site with over 2200 ancient Buddhist temples and pagodas. Myanmar presents its most beautiful side in the Shan State and around the tourist magnet, Lake Inle. Take a hiking tour to the small town of Kalaw.
During a two-to-three-day trip from village to village between different ethnic groups and discovering the Burmese countryside, you will reach the Inle Lake. In the south you will find the business city of Yangon, home to many markets, golden temples and chaotic little mansions. The biggest attraction of this city is undoubtedly the gold Shwedagon pagoda. After a great deal of culture, you can go relaxing on the West Coast. The most famous beach towns are Chaungtha and Ngapali. Do not forget to eat. You can go to one of the restaurants and enjoy local specialties.
Be sure that the country is rather extensive and travels there can be unpleasant and lengthy. Movement is still restricted in some areas (especially in the east and far north).
Do not postpone your journey. Experience the authentic ancient atmosphere of Myanmar.
GPS: (Yangon international airport) 16°54'11.7"N 96°08'09.0"E
Text and photos: Andrea Meluzínová
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.
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.
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.
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.
Castle gates, gigantic royal palace, wooden teak cloister, world´s largest book, the Iravadi river – welcome to Mandalay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are only handful of places where you don’t have to think about anything. I enjoyed this state of mind in a cave.
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?
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