Myanmar is one of these rare places where it feels that time has stopped. Below …
Burma is a huge country with endless activities and places to discover. Below I present the places I’ve choose for my visit.
I started my trip in Yangon (formerly Rangoon). I don’t have any picture from there (most of my pictures from Burma got lost) but I remember having a really good time there. Walking through the city with a mix of colonial architecture is a good start to explore the country and exchange some information with other visitors.
The busy capital with nearly 6 million citizens has a lot to offer. The area around Shwegagon pagoda is where most of the people stay. Close to local street food markets, with several hostels and of course the Pagoda itself.
The huge golden temple is a masterpice of Buddhist architecture and a place where people from around the world come to pray. I recommend melting into the the colorful crowd of pilgrims in the sunset lights. It’s a thing to please all your senses. Observe the colours, listen to their holly songs, smell the candles and fresh flowers they offer to the god, taste local food outside the pagoda.
After Yangon I went to Pa -Auk forest monastery to practice meditation. It was the most amazing part of my trip. Following the tough routine of the monastery truly change my perspective. The forest thing I had to to was to put more modest clothes. I thought my t-shirts and leg gins were pretty modest but they weren’t. I learned how nice is to be dressed in humble clothes, greys, white and dark blues.
How pleasant it can be to go sleep in an empty room in a total silence. Sleep without a blanket , with a just small pillow on a tough wooden bed. No matters. Waking up at 3 am by the sound of a massive gong. Going to meditate, clean your mind while cleaning the leaves around your hut (called kuti). Going to receive food. Eat it in a complete silence, alone. Mediate again. Having the last meal at 10 30 AM and devote the rest of the day to meditation. This was simply amazing!
I had luck to met a friend there, a practicing yogi, who introduced me to the monks inside the monastery. The tendency is rather to spend the time there in solitude and silence.
After these few days which felt much longer than they were in ‘reality’ I headed up to reach the famous Inle Lake. The very picturesque please was already quite touristy. The lake is so big though that by renting a small boat you can get a truly unique experience and explore it without seeing other foreginers.
My next stop was in Bagan. The city full of ancient temples. Absoultely incredible! You can rent a bike or a motorbike and ride around it.
Watch the sunrise with balloons all over the huge area. Later just get lost and explore on your own. Enter some of the ancient temples for free, eat food selled by local people from the village, watch the local life still well preserved there, even though the place became very famous.
It’s big enough to get lost and feel it’s amazingness on your own.
After Bagan me and some fun people I met in the hostel headed to Madnaday. The huge city has some interesting places to offer. One of them is the biggest teak bridge in the world, called U-Bein bridge, where in the morning monks walk in single file with their bowls to get food from the local people.Go there early to see how monks walk in a line to the other side of the bridge to receive food. It’s a spectacular view!
Another one was when we rent a boat in a dirty but so lively and vibrant little port on the Mandalay river, and went by boat to Migun. Migun used to be an ancien town.
While crossing the river we could slowly see the shapes of a hilly village and massive ruins of the town. It was incredible! The statue of elephants, a tropical forrest inside. Do the trip.
Later I went all the way up to Hsipaw, a rural area of north Burma. The route was picturesque and the town very nice and laid back. Walking alone through the fields and observing local life. This was even a better meditation than in the monastery!
Pictures: Marzena Bielecka, Burma March 2015, mobile phone Samsung galaxy 3. I know.
Check my analogue pictures from Burma.