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Archive for the ‘Myanmar (Burma)’ Category

Boat on a River

This picture was taken from a boat on the Mekong River in Myanmar. You can take a boat on the Mekong to go see the sunset, and I’ve got to say, it’s really beautiful. I like boats, and taking the boat trip gave me a slightly different perspective of the area than walking around did. The view is really cool, and it’s also pretty interesting to see people in different types of boats doing different things. These men were fishing with a net, which was interesting to watch. We also saw passenger boats carrying tourists, Buddhist monks, and locals who were just getting from one side of the river to the other. Also visible from the boat are the many pagodas in the area, their mountain-like shapes and spires make for a really cool horizon. You can also see people on the banks, just going about everyday life; planting or harvesting, collecting shells, kids play and bathing in the shallows near the rivers banks, it’s a good way to get a better idea of what life is really like here. If you are interested in arranging a boat trip for an hour or two, you can probably do so at your hotel, or you can just head over to the banks and see if there are any boats taking tourists/ travelers out.

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Thanaka

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These photos were taken in Bagan, Myanmar (formerly Burma). This woman is selling Thanaka, a sort of cosmetic bark paste that’s pretty common in Myanmar. The paste is applied to the face, and sometimes the arms, it sort of acts as a sun block, and its used to keep people cool. We bought some from this woman; she was really sweet, and she was REALLY excited that we were interested in this. It’s sold mostly to locals, and you don’t really see tourists with it, but we were curious. She showed us how the paste was made, let us smell it, and applied it to both mine and my sister’s faces. She didn’t speak any english, but it was a really interesting interaction all the same, and even with the language barrier it was easy to tell that both of the parties involved were equally interested. Myanmar is a fantastic place, and probably one of the more interesting countries i’ve visited, mostly because it’s an awesome place, but also because it’s really just starting to become a tourist destination. The people are friendly, the food is fantastic, the culture is really incredible, and the art and archaeological sites are just amazing. I would ABSOLUTELY recommend a visit to Myanmar! I’ve only been to two cities there, but I would highly recommend both Bagan and Yangon.

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Monks Outside a Temple

This picture was taken at one of the many Pagodas in Bagan, Myanmar. These monks were in charge of a group that seemed like it was on a field trip, they had lots of very curious little monks along with them, and they were just as interested in us as we were in them. It was an interesting exchange, my sister and I were taking pictures of the monks, and one of the older monks took out his cell phone and took a picture of us. I love it when both tourists and locals get something out of an experience! In our experience everyone in Myanmar was really friendly, and no one seemed to have a problem with pictures. Bagan is a fantastic city, and if you are visiting Myanmar I highly recommend a visit to Bagan!

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Little Monks

This picture was taken in Bagan, Myanmar. Bagan isn’t a very large town, but it seems to have a fairly large population of Buddhist monks. Bagan is home to an array of architecturally stunning archaeological sites. The city itself is actually an archaeological zone, where you can visit over a thousand ancient pagodas. Personally, I have always found buddhist monks to be really interesting, there’s something about the affect that just makes them seem so serene. This even holds true for the kids that are training to become monks. Often in the mornings you see these children walking from building to building to receive alms. You have to get up pretty early to see this, but i’m not sure what the exact time is, so if you want to make sure you don’t miss it ask the front desk of wherever you are staying. I don’t know the specific rules for Myanmar (they may be different) but in Laos you are permitted to take pictures of the alms as long as you don’t break the line or use flash. This picture was taken with a telephoto lens from a car, so I know I wasn’t being disruptive. If you are going to take pictures, just make sure you are being respectful!

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Tree of Life

This picture was taken in one of the many fantastic pagodas in Bagan, Myanmar. Behind the Buddha Statue is a painting of a tree of life, this tree is prominent in the imagery in this area of Myanmar, and can be found in many of the Pagodas. Bagan has a ton of cool Pagodas to offer, with a lot of really amazing art and architecture. If you are visiting Myanmar I would highly recommend making a trip to Bagan. If you’ve read any of my other posts about Myanmar you will already know this, but if you haven’t I think it’s important to mention; there IS an appropriate dress code here! Myanmar tends to be a little conservative in general, and whether you choose to respect that or not while in town is up to you. My family all did, we kept our legs covered at least to below the knees, and our shoulders covered. When you are in temples MAKE SURE you are dressed appropriately, cover your legs and shoulders, and make sure you remove your shoes and socks!

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This picture was taken inside one of the many Pagodas found in Bagan, Myanmar (formerly Burma). There are over a thousand Pagodas in the area, and each one has something interesting to offer. Some are more ornate on the inside, others have more to offer in terms of architectural design. Many have intricate paintings, some of which, have faded away, or have been lost over time. In this picture you can see, on the wall behind the Buddha statue, as well as in the hall, the remnants of some of these fantastic paintings. Personally, I like the combination of the bricks and the paintings, it really allows you to see multiple aspects of the Pagoda, in terms of it’s construction, and the way it has changed over time. Many of the pagodas are still in use, for religious purposes, as well as for visiting tourists. Often you will see buddhist monks, like this one, praying in front of these statues. If you see this, try not to be disruptive. Walk around rather than in front, and make sure that you do not take any pictures with your back facing the Buddha. Also when visiting these pagodas be respectful in the way you dress, many have signs posted outside to indicate what is/ is not appropriate dress, and make sure you take of your shoes, and socks. I can’t recommend visiting these sites highly enough, they are truly amazing, and pictures (even good ones) don’t really do them justice. If you are visiting Bagan it’s not likely that you will have time to see all of the Pagodas in the area, we were there for four days and we saw twenty-one, so do your research! Get a guide book, or a guide/ driver if you are more comfortable with that, and figure out which of the temples you want to see the most. No matter what you see when you are here, they all have something to offer, and each one is unique and beautiful. If you are in Myanmar try to find time to visit Bagan, it is absolutely worth the trip!

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This photo was taken in Bagan, Myanmar (formerly Burma) just outside one of the many incredible pagodas that you can visit. This was really just a luck shot, I don’t really know why this baby was in a basket, but I thought it was a pretty cool picture none the less. This woman, and her children, were with a group of people who seemed like they were just passing through the area where the Pagoda was located, they had stopped to look at a group of tourists. The interest was clearly mutual, the small group of Burmese people was looking at the tourists, and the tourists (a group from the U.S.) were looking right back, it was sort of an interesting exchange to witness. If you look closely you can see a sort of yellow-white paste is covering the child’s face. The paste is called Tha Na Ka, it’s made from a sort of ground root and water mixture, it’s applied to the face to help keep you cool. While we were there my sister and I tried it ( a very sweet older lady outside a temple applied it for us, she was also very insistent that we smell it, though it really didn’t have much of a strong scent) it was an interesting experience, but neither of us found it to be particularly cooling after it dried. Still, i’d recommend trying it if you have a chance (and if you don’t have any serious plant allergies) it’s an interesting experience, and a lot of local people seemed really pleased by the fact that tourists were trying it out. Behind the woman you can see a horse cart, these are really common in Bagan and you can hire them to take you to pagodas if you prefer the more open air travel to taxis.

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