Myanmar only opened its doors to tourism in the past 5-10 years. Prior to this, the country was essentially shut off from the rest of the world, under military rule. Many come to Myanmar expecting an untouched version of Thailand, or any other country in South East Asia. However, Myanmar is nothing like any of them. Geographically, it lies in between China and India. Influences from these two cultures are most apparent, however it is uniquely different at the same time.
Myanmar was an absolute pleasure to travel. The Burmese are very friendly, hospitable, and curious people. It was a very refreshing experience to be in a country so different than the rest of South East Asia. And never have I ever seen so many Buddhas and pagodas in my life! Here are some of my favorite shots:
Bagan is an ancient city that once had over 10 000 temples and pagodas. Today about 2000 remain.
Every morning hot air balloons carry tourists over the city for a unique view of the ruins.
The entire city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Each pagoda houses one or more Buddha images.
Walking into each temple not knowing what you might find is the best part about exploring Bagan.
Some of the ruins are locked, but if you are lucky the key master will be nearby to let you in.
A Burmese lady praying in one of the temples.
Two child monks hanging out in the ruins.
Shwezigon Pagoda, a beautiful golden pagoda.
Monks sometimes offer candles and incense in the ruins at night.
A friendly monk at one of the temples. We exchanged photos of each other.
Umin Thounzeh temple houses 45 Buddhas.
The outside of Umin Thounzeh temple.
A tour we did brought us to Mahagandayon Monastery, where tourists come to watch hundreds of monks line up for lunch. I thought this was rather rude to the monks, although I did snap this one shot.
The Burmese commonly use thanaka as a skin care product.
A fisherman in the lake at sunset.
Our boat driver.
The way to Nirvana, or enlightenment.
The beautiful floating villages of Inle Lake.
The fisherman have a very unique style of paddling, using their foot and their ore.
Burmese ladies rolling tobacco.
A weaving shop.
The thread they use comes from the sap of the lotus flower stem!
Long neck tribe woman weaving.
Tourists shops sold these very old Buddhist scripts. I felt like they should have been in a museum instead.
Fisherman pose at sunset for a few extra kyat from tourists.
Yangon, Myanmar's capital, is a bustling city full of markets and street vendors.
This meat dipping barbecue-type street vendor seemed to be a very popular choice amongst the locals.
A lady sells a variety of colorful beverages.
Another interesting jelly beverage being sold on the street.
A lady happily shows off her fresh fish.
Raw meat out in the open is a standard sight in any South East Asian market.
A vendor putting his many durian out on display.
Many locals chew paan for its stimulant properties.
Very cute coconut carving souvenirs.
A bird selling lady taking an afternoon snooze.