Burma, officially the “Republic of the Union of Myanmar” (commonly shortened as Myanmar) was an adventure. We had 4.5 days there and went to 3 different cities via airplane. So basically everyday (except for one) we were on a plane and visiting a new part of the country. The Myanmar government hasn’t been very open to tourism tour in the past and only in the recent years have they made it easier for foreigners to come visit. And because it has had “closed boarders” it is a country fairly untouched and well preserved in its heritage. We booked a tour guide through Tint Tint Travel but were not that impressed with our guide. She spoke French, some Spanish, plus the native language, but her English was very poor. It was easier for us to understand her in French or Spanish than it was in English. I would also eavesdrop on other tour guides in Spanish to figure out what exactly we were looking at and why it was important. So, the tour guide wasn’t awesome, but we still had an enjoyable time in the country.
It’s also worth noting that our vacation happened to fall during “Thingyan” — the Buddhist New Years Water Festival. The entire country celebrates for 3-4 days by engaging in non-stop water fights, concerts, disco dances, parties, etc. It was an unbelievable spectacle, and we had a blast participating!
We arrived at the Yangon Airport and were greeted by our tour guide, the owner of the company and our driver
Straight from the airport we headed to a family’s home to watch the famous Htwe Oo Myanmar Puppet show…this group has traveled to the USA to perform their show
We took this type of airplane nearly daily to travel to our next city. At the airport we never once showed our ID since we had our tour guide with us and took care of everything for us while traveling domestically
We stayed at the “Amazing Bagan Resort” and really enjoyed the pool, especially in the afternoon when it was hot
Our first stop in Bagan was at the Nyong U Market. They have produce, meat, souvenirs, etc
With our tour guide at the Shwezigone Pagoda, which was one of many that we saw in Bagan.
At the top of a Pagoda during sunset. So many pagodas in Myanmar. It would have been fun to take a hot air balloon and see all of the pagodas from that view point (but the balloons don’t operate in the summer).
We went to a lacquer-ware factory to see how they make things. This shows the different steps to making something from lacquer
In Bagan they have a Golden Palace…this only shows half of the palace
While in Bagan the “Water Festival” started. The locals are out getting people wet and painting faces.
After 2 nights in Bagan, we went to Mandalay and stayed at the Mandalay City hotel
We went to U Bein Bridge which was super busy and crowded
We visited a monastery around lunch time and saw the monk procession where they bring in their donations for the day and then get their lunch meal
Mason ready to call people to prayer with a prayer gong
Ladies could only get so close to a Buddha to worship
So many people have put gold flakes on this Buddha that he looks like he is getting fat
We went to the Mandalay Hill Pagoda and had a beautiful view of the city and also saw the beautiful pagoda
The most memorable part of Myanmar was the “country-wide water fight!” (Thingyan) We were able to open the sun-roof to our van and have people throw water on us…yes it got the van completely soaked inside
The locals here are making a traditional sugar snack that is only eaten during the Water Festival
Matt and Kalani got out of the van and started dancing with all of the locals while getting water thrown on them
Matt and the kids joined in the fun of throwing water on people as they drove by
Yangon was first and last city we visited in Myanmar. They had awesome water stations to get wet
Getting wet with water wasn’t bad since it was mostly warm water. But then there are some people who buy ice and pour ice cold water on you and of course you scream and they laugh
The kids were done getting wet so they went inside the cab of the truck we had and were so much more happy
Our very last stop in Myanmar was at Shwedagon Pagoda. It is pretty amazing looking especially at night
More photos of Myanmar (Burma) here.