Mission of Burma
A boy walking along the tracks, taken from the train between Yangon and Bago.
(1/125, F2.8, ISO800, 17mm)
Of the travels I made the last 2 years around Southeast Asia the one that was probably dearest to me was the week I spent off-the-beaten path in Myanmar.
I know the term ´off-the-beaten´ is used way too often nowadays and even when reading articles about Myanmar all of them point to Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Yangon, which are already flooding with tourists. That´s why me and my friend opted to go by train from Yangon to Bago, an unexplored transport hub. Bago was indeed an amazing little town and an afternoon bike ride thru its surroundings took us to various immense reclining buddhas, beautiful temples, cheering kids and the highest stupa in Myanmar, where we spent sunset all alone.
After sundown we decided to do a bar-hopping return to the only guesthouse in town. Where the Lonely planet stated there was no nightlife what so ever in this town we spent half the night in local bars on a weekday, only to leave the locals to it at around 4am.
A burmese farmers hat on a fence opposite the river from Hpa-an
(1/125, F2.8, ISO800, 17mm)
After Bago we jumped in a cab to Hpa-an surrounded by its beautiful limestone mountains, caves and paddy fields.
The oasis we found after going thru the Saddar cave near Hpa-an.
This canoe brought us back via an underground river and rice fields full of water lilies to the cave´s entrance.
(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)
A 2 hour boat ride from Hpa-an took us to Mawlamyine, the first Britsh colonial capital in Burma between 1826 and 1852, also hardly visited, although the views over the sea, the islands around, the nightmarket on the boulevard and its friendly locals made it unforgettable.
A peak inside an old colonial house in Yangon.
(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)
Looks amazing > Would love to go to Burma. Do people speak any English over there, especially in the out of the way places? Was it easy to get around or were there restricted areas or places that were a definite no no?
Hi Andy, it was absolutely amazing, and most of the country is open for tourists, some areas bordering other countries are off-limit, people hardly speak English outside the big cities and touristy areas, but some how you manage, cuz there very willing to help and unbelievably friendly and hospitable. The number one journey on the lsit Im´posting now will be this one and will get more into it than here, but best thing for me was to not go to the famous places, Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay, should be nice, but getting too crowded. Where we went it felt like you were the first people the locals encountered 😉
But definitely a must-go if possible…
Have a great weekend,
Cheers for that Ron. I’ve noted the camera you were using at some point. I’ll have to treat myself sometime. I think Burma is my next port of call and you’ve really charged my batteries up with your post 🙂 Have a great weekend back there mate and keep in touch 🙂
Nice one Ron > Great to have you on board 🙂
Thanks and nice to ´meet´ you too, Andy! What camera do you mean, th compact RX100? nice one, most of my photos are with dslr but some travels i bring the compact!
If you do go to Burma, I think I have some advice when you do go, have a good weekend
Wow! I have dreamed of seeing Myanmar so much. I would love to go there. I bet it is a pretty magical place.
Thanks, oh yes, only been there for 8 days, but stayed off the tourist trail (again) and it was a beautiful adventure. thinking of going back and doing more photography work and traveling and get closer to those amazing people!
That sounds wonderful!
Beautiful post, thank you for the idea on my next stop after Rangoon!
You´re welcome, I wouldnt follow everybody to Bagan and Mandalay but opt for this places, much more authentic, enjoy!!!
Greetings from Malaysia, Ron
I ended up going and loved Hpa An! I’m going to Malaysia tomorrow, I will follow your posts closely.
Oh, cool, have to check your posts, interesting to read your experiences there! Just send me an email if you want advice around Malaysia, as far as I know it, it´s firstname.lastname@example.org!
Beautiful shots of a beautiful country
Thanks a lot, Stevie, loved Myanmar and hope tourism and the Chinese influence aren’t changing the people and country too much in the coming years!
It’s all good but the peak in the house was amazing. Thanks for posting EXIF data too.
Hi Dunelight, did you spot the little bird on the doorstep peaking in as well? 😉
Chose to post EXIF, because that taught me a lot when I first started photographing!
All the best, Ron
Thanks for visiting and liking my blog. Your photos and descriptions of Myanmar are excellent and show the beauty of this little known country. I especially like the canoe and mention of the cave trip – it must have been wonderful!
Hi Marilyn, thank you for stopping by!
So nice to hear you enjoyed ‘my Myanmar’ and from all the memories of that beautiful country with its friendly people the cave plus canoe trip was definitely one of the most magical!
Greetings from Malaysia,
This is some great photos from Burma (I was here in 1986 🙂 ). I can’t wait to see more photos from your travel there!
Hi Truels, that must have been an even bigger adventure in 1986! Loved it still!
Thanks for having a look,
All glorious shots Ron and what bliss to enjoy it all with the locals!
Hi Patti, it was a delightful way of traveling, made my idea of going the other direction than the guidebooks even stronger!
Thanks for your enthusiasm, greetings from KL,
a fascinating country…
Oh definitely, but reading more and more about the most visited places not being so nice anymore in terms of overtourism, but must be enough to explore and I surely hope I will 😉
Thanks for stopping by, Annete, all the best,
Prachtig licht overal, bijna magisch zoals het op de eerste foto op het kind valt.
Dank je, wilma, dat is het voordeel van het feit dat die trein niet harder ging dan 15km/u en keer of 20 stopte in 2 uur treinreis 😉
What a trip this must have been! Redolent with atmosphere 🙂
Thanks so much, Jo, it is a dear memory and would love to meet the people and places of Laos again!
Hope all is well, greetings, Ron
Yes, good thanks, Ron 🙂
Ace work Ron.
fabulous photos, great documentary. I became a fan.
Oh, thats very nice to hear, Julio, hope I wont and didnt dissappoint since then 😉
Greetings from KL, Ron
The farmer’s hat, canoe and small inner fire were really captivating. Also loved the textures in the Buddha’s hands. Wonderful piece. For a town with no nightlife, 4am does appear to be an odd hour to go to bed. Great piece.
Hi Noelle, sorry to be so late, trying to catch up in respecting comments and support like yours, shouldn´t be too difficult with my low frequency of posting 😉
Thank you for taking a thorough look at them, this was such an amazing diverse holiday in 8 days, still cannot believe this was only that and the night out was one of the best and most original in a long long time!
Hope all is well, greetings from KL,
Thanks very much, pdlyons!
Thanks so much, Alois and sorry for being so late in my reply!
I think you have just given us a preview of what’s in store, from this lesser explored part of the world 🙂
Or you wanted to give a message that it’s better pack your backpack and experience on your own rather than get all the secrets of this beautiful world gets revealed in wordpress reader 🙂
I think I am ready for the adventure …
Thank you so much for sharing and have a great time 🙂
Haha Hello Sreejith, definitely always pack your back and go where no one´s ever been before or at least don´t follow the crowds, because the true experiences are not found in the most touristy places, it is in the real people and sights that make you connect to a place!
Hope you´re already having adventures, from your blog it looks like you enjoy 😉
Thanks and enjoy too,
so exciting and adventurous to discover new sights
That´s so true, always looking behind the horizon 😉
Enjoy your 2016, greetings from KL,
Thanks so much, Sriram!
Enjoy your 2016,
Thank you very much, Cybele, stunning country too 😉
Have a great 2016,
Wonderful and revealing images….of the place…. And of your photography.
Clearly a place worth visiting………!
Thanks very much, John, definitely highly recommended!
Have a great 2016!
Greetings from KL,
Clearly you enjoyed a fabulous trip and captured some fine pictures.
Oh yeah I did, so many already, but this one was special, also cuz my best friend from Brazil came over to join me 😉
Thanks for liking them, Louis, always appreciate your interest very much!
Enjoy your weekend,
Just wonderful with beautiful warm light !
Thanks a lot, Pat, wont grab my camera after breakfast and before the sun is setting to keep it warm 😉
Great travel tales, beautifully ‘illustrated’! The deep, indigo blue and the reflections in the canoe photo are magnificent.
(Nice job on this post’s ‘post punk’ title too ;-))
Hi, Suzanne, thanks, feel so blessed with all these adventures that I can make! The canoe pic Arjen and I found after going thru a pitchblakc cave and then finding that scene and going back with that canoe by water thru another cave to arrive in ricefields as far as you can see filled with all kinds of waterlilies, just unbelievable!
(re: postpunk you know I wont travel without music and vs. was doing its rounds a lot there 😉
Hope all is well with you two, big hugs from KL,
Thank you, Cornelia! It was even easy for me as a perfectionist to choose from so many, even though I´ve only been there 8 days, but it´s a beautiful country and the people to match it 😉
Warm greetings from KL,
Good to see you! 🙂
Thanks, Ashley! Its less frequent around here, but no worries, I´m enjoying my travels and photography a lot 😉
Enjoy your weekend,
So good you opted for something other than the tourist filled places. It’s great to explore “off the beaten track” to get a far richer experience. These are great photos!
Thank you, Angeline, and I always opt for the least visited place or time, makes the experience so much better, I think, and luckily most people follow the herd so its pretty easy to do it a little different!
Have a nice weekend, great tos ee you coming around, even though I´m less active nowadays, thanks for that!
Thanks a lot, Seonaid, hope you´ll have a great weekend!
Fabulous experience Ron, beautiful photographs! 🙂
Thanks Adrian, great continent to be traveling and photographing! So nice to see how you evolved and deservedly with your photos as well!
All the best, Ron
I can see why it would have made an impression on you, or anyone for that matter: the scenery is absolutely beautiful and serene! 🙂
Hi Fatima, yep, scenery but especially the people made it so special, they are so enthusiastic about you visiting their country and it really feels like they hardly saw any tourist where we went! Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend!
Thanks Carlos, glad to be posting again, but almost time for much more travel too 😉
Best regards, Ron
Lovel these superb photos! Sounds like a brilliant trip 🙂
Hi Peter, thanks for the com(pli)ment! It truly was brilliant, still can´t believe this all happened in 8 days of keep on moving!