The monks’ melodic chanting continues straight through the night, as far as I could tell, anyway. The steady rhythm began to rock me to sleep as I listened for chirping geckos and grass-hoppers. The sticky heat of the day finally subsided as I slipped beneath the thin sheets. Allowing the fan to cool off the remaining heat in my muscles, I inhaled in the salty odors of the night-market, still buzzing with activity just across the road. My feet were still slightly singed and red from exploring the temples barefoot, as customary in Myanmar. My footsteps might be swept away tomorrow by a novice monk, but will stay etched in my memories.
Myanmar might be one of the last truly authentic countries in the region, still unshaped by western tourism and the wealth it brings. Although quite a few people speak impeccable English, Myanmar is still very Burmese.
If I haven’t convinced you yet why you might place the areas of Yangon or Bagan on your travelers bucket list, here are my favorite photos to inspire a bit of wanderlust:
Around the rickety boardwalk on top of Kandawgyi Lake, families picnic and relax near the fountains. Small turtles and other marine life swim lazily in the blue-green waters, as a few fishermen try their luck at netting a fresh dinner.
Sweet, spicy, savory and sour. Burmese cuisine is everything but bland. Sometimes the restaurants are filled with the sharp scents before the dish has made its way onto the table.
Scintillating temples fill the skyline, and dot the landscape. Mirror-laden places of worship hide behind thick clay walls, waiting to be discovered.
Relax your mind and your body at the Shwedagon temple after dusk, as the novice monks slowly illuminate the pavilion with thousands of candles.
Escape the heat of the day inside the dusty Bagan temples, or watch the fading rays from the monastery rooftops.
Have you visited Myanmar? Where and what were your favorite areas?