Myanmar is a fascinating country, largely because it is still pure from westernisation. Summing up this country, and any country, in a few pictures would be shallow and unfair but these images help us to remember the side of Burma that we loved: The lives of the people, not the sights on a tourist trail.
Our month in Burma ended in May 2013 but we’ve had a lot of fun going through all the photos in preparation for our new Ebook release: Budget Burma a backpackers guide to Myanmar.
Buddhism is the centre point of life for a great many people in Burma.
Rice is the fundamental crop and staple food for the Burmese people.
We spent an unforgettable few days staying with the Palaung people in Burma’s “Shan State”. We didn’t see another tourist for 3 days and many of the people we met didn’t speak one word of English. Still, we felt amazingly welcome and even nature greeted us with this fantastic view as clouds filled the valley below the village.
Read more about our 3 day motorbike trek to the Palaung villages.
We felt privileged to be the only foreigners attending an initiation of young monks in the small town of Kyaukme. All Burmese buddhists are expected to spend at least one week as a monk in their lifetimes. Often this is done as a child during school holidays. The first part of the ceremony involves each monk-to-be dressing as a prince, they will then give up these lavish outfits, as the Buddha did, and take on the robes of a monk.
After Climbing the 777 step to the temple at the top of mount popa we got stunning views and to meet a lot of monkeys! This is Megsy’s favourite Burma Picture.
The Gokteik viaduct stands proudly as a marvel of engineering. At the time it was built, in the early 20th century, it was the longest single spanning viaduct in the world. Our somewhat rickety train passed very slowly over it… Read more about how we traversed this amazing viaduct.
The U-bein bridge near Mandalay is the only tourist attraction photo that made it onto this list. This place is over-photographed for a reason!
We liked Myanmar so much we even wrote a book about it!!!
The stilt villages of Inle Lake, although situated in one of Burma’s most touristy regions, are certainly not there for the entertainment of visitors. As you pass by you see the people living there everyday lives – from cooking, to the arrival of the Ice-cream-boatman! There was even a post office on stilts!
If there is one thing that always catches our attention, its food! This bowl of Shan noodles may not be the pinacle of Burmese cuisine but it is synonymous with the everyday life of the people of the Shan state. For less than 50 cents this makes a tasty and filling meal that is affordable for everyone.
Discover more about Burmese cuisine in our Foodies guide to Burma
Nothing captures the essence of Burma more than the kids, their friendliness and optimism sums up the general mood in Myanmar at the moment – a country waking up from oppression, genuinely pleased to see visitors as a sign that their world is changing for the better. We met this group in Dala enjoying the Thingyan water festival (Buddhist new year).
Read more about our experience of the water festival in Myanmar