Mission of Burma

Boy walking along railway path in Myanmar

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.

Sunset opposite the river from Hpa-an

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 behind Saddar cave near Hpa-an, Myanmar

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.

Looking inside an old colonial house in Yangon, Myanmar

A peak inside an old colonial house in Yangon.
(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)

Here´s to hoping I meet these beautiful people and their country again…

71 thoughts on “Mission of Burma

  1. 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 🙂

        • 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
          Cheers, Ron

    • 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!
      Cheers, Ron

    • 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

  2. 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,

    • 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,

    • 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,

  3. 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,

  4. Hello Ron,

    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,

    • 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,

  5. 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,

  6. 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!

    • 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!

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