Myanmar is like the Merlin wizard of South East Asia. Magical, spoken of in hushed tones and until recently shrouded by a cloak deterring tourism access.

Today, Myanmar is a ‘hot-pick’ travel destination and it’s easy to see why.

Misty mornings, the brightest sunsets, fragrant flowers adorning Buddhas and the ubiquitous maroon, orange and pink clothed monks and novices walking the streets.

Today’s post is our impression of Myanmar told through photos.

Morning rush hour.
Morning rush hour.
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon.
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon. The oldest pagoda in the world according to some at 2600 years old. It is reputed to contain 8 strands of Buddha’s hair, making it one of Myanmar’s most revered shrine
Buddhist monk
Buddhist monk, Bagan. Mobile monks are common, often with better phones than we have!
Children feet with a dropped scoop of icecream
Children from around the world do the same thing and drop their ice cream (and then pick it up and eat it)!
Full Moon of Thadingyut (or Light Festival)
Full Moon of Thadingyut (or Light Festival) Street, home and shop lights are turned off and the temples and houses glow by flicker of lit candles.
Novices in front of Mingun Bell, Myanmar.
Novices in front of Mingun Bell, Myanmar. Monastic schools provide an invaluable service of education, housing and food. Many orphans and children from rural areas will join these schools in order to get an education. The Mingun Bell is the second largest ringing bell in the world, after the Bell of Good Luck in China.
Sunrise in Bagan. Worthy of waking up to watch the sky light up in fiery tones.
Sunrise in Bagan. Worthy of waking up to watch the sky light up in fiery tones. With over 2000 temples still standing, there are numerous sites to climb to take in the awesomeness of the place.
Gotiek Viaduct, Myanmar
Gotiek Viaduct, Myanmar. Built by the British in 1900, the rocky train journey is considered one of the top ten rides in the world. Jostling 250metres above ground across 689 metres of track, you are pleased that the speed is only about 5km an hour.
Daily bathing routine in Hspiaw, Myanmar.
Daily bathing routine in Hspiaw, Myanmar. Families come down to the river bank and bathe in the cool waters in their longyis (a wrap skirt worn by men and women).
Drying fresh noodles ready for your Shan Noodle or Mohinga breakfast meal.
Drying fresh noodles ready for your Shan Noodle or Mohinga breakfast meal.
30 Caves Pagoda, Sagaing.
30 Caves Pagoda, Sagaing (near Mandalay). 45 Buddhas are seated in a crescent moon shape. The walk up Sagaing Hill is dotted with temples and shrines. Children from the nearby school race up the steps eager to have a chat and share their lunch with you.
Richard and Pia with all their new friends!
Stories shared and fire crackers lit as part of the Festival of Light, Bagan Myanmar.
Stories shared and fire crackers lit as part of the Festival of Light in Bagan, Myanmar.
Myanmar - top 20 photos 22-1
U-Bein Bridge, near Mandalay. The 1.2km bridge is considered to be the longest teak wood bridge in the world. An important passage across the Taungthaman Lake for locals.
Rural life in Hsipaw.
Rural life in Hsipaw. This small town is covered in rice and corn fields surrounded by cooling waterfalls.
Mahamuni Buddha Temple in Mandalay
Mahamuni Buddha Temple in Mandalay. We woke up at 3.45am to ride to the temple to watch the face-washing at 4am. A daily ritual conducted by the most senior monk in the adjacent monastery. The face is washed and the teeth cleaned. The temple halls are filled with tv screens showing the ‘live’ version of the clean to the chants and prayers of Buddhists.
Signage to show betel nut spitting is banned in Yangon.
Outside the courthouse in Yangon this sign waves lonely in the large carpark. No red splats are found in the near vicinity, but walk out on the footpath and pretty much anywhere you will see the remnants of betel ‘nut’ chewers. A report on CNN states “Around 600 million people worldwide are thought to chew betel quids, making them the fourth most commonly used psychoactive substance after tobacco, alcohol and caffeinated drinks. They’re predominantly chewed in Asia, where their use isn’t limited to adults.”
A temple in ruins in Inwa.
A temple in ruins in Inwa. An ancient imperial capital from 14th to 19th centuries, Inwa is best seen by horse and cart. The 10km round trip in the afternoon sees students receiving lessons by monks in the grounds of the old monastery and kids playing Chinlone (a version of football).
Teak monastery in Inwa.
Teak monastery in Inwa. Smelling of teak wood, the smoke filled rooms gives the light a ‘body’ finding spaces to fill and for us to capture.
The largest book in the world is in Mandalay.
The largest book in the world is in Mandalay. In the grounds of the Kuthodaw pagoda consists 729 large marble tablets with canon of Theravada Buddhism inscribed on them. A further tablet recording how the ‘book’ came about was added. Each marble tablet is housed in it’s own white cave like structure.
Fisherman during their sunrise catch
Another early start to watch the fisherman during their sunrise catch. The heavy clouds create a border for the hills in the distance and the sun rays get to ‘peek’ through. I have chosen not to include the ‘tourist fisherman’ with his bamboo net, whilst iconic, I prefer that this chap is actually trying to make a catch.

Hope you enjoyed our 21 moments in Myanmar.

Have you been to Myanmar and what was iconic for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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Magical Myanmar – 21 images that leave an impression
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