My favorite destination in South East Asia
1. The other side of Myanmar (part 1)
It has been 3 years since I arrived in Kuala Lumpur and my favorite trip so far out of many extraordinary adventures was the spontaneous travel I did with a friend to Myanmar.
All the magazines, articles and blogposts write about the fact you must see Myanmar now before the development sets in.
But all of them talk about going to Yangon, Mandalay, the temples of Bagan and Inle lake, which according to many travelers I met there a year ago and elsewhere around SE Asia, is already firmly on the tourist trail and therefor not for me.
We booked a flight, arranged visas in a day and there we went to Yangon without a proper plan or idea where to go and what to do.
We arrived on friday and decided to spent the afternoon in the old harbour to see all the activity unfold and watch the sun go down over the river…
(1/200, f5.6, iso200, 28mm)
…from a terrace where the locals started there weekend with another pretty good Asian beer, aptly named Myanmar.
(1/125, F54 ISO125, 29mm)
Although my phone camera saw double in the photo above we were doing ok and had some local snacks from a foodstall near the river…
(1/160, f4, iso125, 54mm)
…before we wandered off and took a tuk-tuk to the main attraction in town, the Shwedagon Pagoda.
(1/1250, f2, iso500, 12mm)
Although there were enough tourists, experiencing the candles being lit, the monks making their rounds in prayer while the sun was setting, was magical.
Everything around us was shining bright gold and even the moon decided to make an entrance in between the many small pagodas.
(1/15, f4, iso800, 10mm)
We spent some hours visiting all the surrounding temples and experiencing the atmosphere to the fullest before heading into town to find the famous BBQ-street, where we stayed til closing time at another famous joint, the 80-cent mojito bar Kosan.
(1/640, 4, iso100, 10mm)
Next day we took a long stroll in the old quarter with its dilapitated British colonial buildings.
(1/100, f6.3, iso200, 17mm)
I was interesting to see the people from Yangon and the way they used those old buildings, even making fires inside…
(the bird on the doorstep seems surprised too!)
(1/640, f9, iso200 ,12mm)
After another night strolling around the old centre and ending up in the mojito bar, we took the train to Bago early next morning.
The train took about 2 hours doing the 40km distance, but with that speed it was perfect to watch all the ricefields, pagodas everywhere and locals in their daily routines.
Walking to school…
(1/50, f8, iso200, 17mm)
…or commuting to work.
(1/320, f8, iso200, 35mm)
We arrived in Bago, where most people on the train would went to Mandalay, we got off and spent one afternoon biking around the rural landscape visiting many reclining buddhas, monasteries, pagodas and seeing the unbelievably friendly locals waving and (trying) talking to us.
(1/640, f9, iso200, 10mm)
Just before sunset we ended up at the biggest pagoda in Yangon, the Swemawdaw pagoda, which stands even 16 meters taller than the famous Swegadon in Yangon.
(1/640, f6.3, iso400, 34mm)