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Reisverslag Myanmar, The land of hidden surprises.
17 mei 2014
Myanmar, The land of hidden surprises.
This post will be a bit longer then usual and, sorry for my dutch speaking friends, it will be only in English.
Finally I took off towards a country where I hoped to find back something that I had left in India and Nepal. People, local experiences and a level off standards that is not even close to what we have in Holland. What I found was even better then what I expected. Myanmar is the land of hidden surprises.
Arriving in Yangon is nothing more special then arriving in any other small airport. As soon as you step out of the door you enter the metropolis of Yangon. In the plane I found my seat next to a Dutch guy named Martijn. Together with him we decided to take a local bus towards town to check out a few guesthouses. Even in that short ride, people where so friendly to us. Helping us, with finding our way. After a stroll true town we met up with a friend of Martijn, called Joren, with him we shared a room for the first night. That evening we started to make plans for our travels. The next morning we walked in to a tourist office where we met the fourth person off our group, Charlie from Sweden. A photographer who was looking for some amazing shots, of country that is still to less explored. Us four spend almost 5,5 weeks in Myanmar.
Early in the morning we took a bus to Pyay, our first stop. We were welcomed by mister Sue and his friends. Mister Sue was an Ex munk who just got out of the monastery, a very friendly guy, making our stay much more pleasant. After a few nice sights and a couple of free beers(by surprise) we took off towards the beach. Our Goal was Mrauk U, a Bagan like temple town. After an hellish ride in a minivan over a mountain we arrived in Taunggok. Mister Sue promised us that there was a beach in Taunggok. We arrived 2 am and we heard that there was no beach in Taunggok, so we jumped back in to the minivan and drove a town further along the road, Nagpali Beach. Again a few more hours in that shitty minivan south! Mister Sue just did not know, and did not want to disappoint us.
We asked multiple people about our travels towards Mrauk U, some of it seemed true and some not. It was hard for us to inform ourselves about it. To make a long story short, Nagpali Beach was not where we wanted to be. We had three options back then: or traveling for 5 days (two boats, one bus and waiting days) to get to Mrauk U(let alone going back the same way) taking 3 buses(3 days of traveling) to get to Bagan(our next highlight) or take an expensive flight back to Yangon(45min) and take a new route from there. We took the flight for various reasons, one of them, we just wanted to explore more!
Back in Yangon we started our "second" chance. We took a bus to Bago where we were picked up by a very hyper active local who loved to show us around! We booked his tour and the next day we were on the back of 4 locals and their motorbikes, buying Lungies(local mens skirt), putting on local sun cream made of wood, visiting a cigar rolling factory, drinking some palm beer, visiting a snake monastery, pagoda and one of the longest lying Buddha's!
Next destination was the Golden-rock, the way up to the rock and walking down was probably the best part of the day. After a night in the village where the goldenrock is situated we went towards Kalaw, the trekking capital of Myanmar. Soon after we arrived and strolled around town we took off for a 3 day trekking towards Inle Lake. I have to say, due to the dry season, the scenery was not that special and didn't changed much during the 3 days. Walking down hill towards Inle was for sure the best part. Cruising down the lake in a longtail boat we all decided immediately to spend a few days on the lake! Stunning to see and very different to other lakes I have seen anywhere else.
Hsipaw was our next stop where we visted some hotsprings and drink lots of shakes at mr. Shake. We took the train towards Pyoolwin over a breath taking bridge that we crossed. Pyoolwin was nice because of the waterfall and park. Bus nr.8 in Myanmar took us to Bagan, known for its 4000 tempels. We wouldn't see them yet, our first priority was to get to the Chin-state.
Wow, what an amazing trip was that, four guys in a jeep looking for adventure and local contact with the tattooed faced ladies, their families and customs. With a local guide we went around the villages, when we arrived at their homes, people mostly changed to a more traditional clothing so we could take some pictures. Hunters, families, childeren playing, schools and giving English lecture their, invited for traditional ceremonies where the people where kept on giving us local "juice", which did contained a little taste of Alcohol, loads of bamboo huts and much more. Again, an amazing experience in a part of the country that opened up for tourist only a few months before.
On our way back we entered an other great ceremony, Myanmar's New Year. Celebrated with a big water fight on the streets, another 3 days of fun and happiness. Then it was time to discover the Tempels of Bagan. During the day it was just to hot to go out, but we had some amazing sunsets and sunrises over the tempels. Not as clear as we, and specially charly, wanted it to be. But still truly amazing. The landscape is just impressive and some of the 4000 Temples where definitely worth seeing from the inside. My best moment was alone on one of them when I headed out on a morning by my self.
After a week in Bagan we where back in Yangon to visit some sights and buy the last souvenirs. After this we needed some time to relax. Three of us flew to Bangkok and checked in a hotel at Khao San road, with swimming pool. We deserved it and we enjoyed it, thinking back of a wonderful and impressive experience.
After A few days in the pool and saying goodbye to a great crew, I took a train up north to Pai. Pai, many people told me, you will love. I was thinking of spending just a week there, I ended up staying there for two weeks. Just an amazing place and I cant describe why. Maybe you can compare it a little with Kalmar(for those who know), maybe thats why I loved it so much.
In my next post you can hear read about Laos and the rest of south east asia.
Till we meet again!
Foto's bij verslag (13)
17 mei 2014 09:52 | Door: Frans
Tering koops! Anders maak je me even jaloers!
Jij hebt me net over gehaalt om myanmar op mijn bucketlist te zetten!
Echt gave verhalen maat! Ik kan alleen maar zeggen dat jij goed bezig bent!
Enjoy!!!! Kick some ass!