In this post, I’ll take you through 5 things I think more people should do in Myanmar, and why. If you haven’t already, be sure to read my previous post – 5 Beautiful Things Everybody Gets To See in Myanmar.
Sometimes it seems that every tourist in Myanmar is trying to do things that no one is doing. There are some great things to see and do, but if you yearn for experiences that are a little more rare, try a few of these.
1) Sunrise from anywhere, in Mandalay
Everyone is pretty much obsessed with sunset in Myanmar. For good reason – it’s beautiful. But don’t forget about the equally beautiful sunrise.
On my first morning in my lovely guesthouse (Ma Ma’s Guesthouse) in Mandalay, I went up to the roof balcony at about 6am. By 6.30am, the sun was starting to peak over the hills, giving me my first daylight view of the city. I also managed to accidentally give a good scare to one of the guesthouse staff. She came up to sweep the floor, and wasn’t expecting a foreigner behind the door taking pictures. So I took a picture of her too.
They say Mandalay Hill is an excellent place for sunrise and sunset. I didn’t make it there that early. For me, it was a fine, deserted walk up in the middle of the day. Occasionally I was stopped and asked to pose for photos. To be back in Asia is to be a mini-celebrity again!
Sunrise in Mandalay
Walking up the hill
The top of Mandalay Hill
Over the last couple years, Myanmar has made it easier for tourists to come and visit this little travelled region of South East Asia. In the past, the military government just wasn’t that keen on letting outsiders come in, and seeing what they were up to.
For reasons that I won’t go into right now (let’s just use the code word: Aung San Suu Kyi), they have decided to open up their kimono, and are making it easier for the world to see their attractions.
Already, there is a well-worn path of worthy destinations. I’m not saying you should skip them, as they are beautiful experiences, but be prepared to share them with the other travellers in Myanmar.
1) Sunset at Ubein’s Bridge, near Mandalay.
Walk along the world’s longest teak foot bridge at Sunset. Perhaps get a boat, or stay on shore. Either way, at sunset you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, photogenic scenery. Of course, you and dozens of others will be taking nearly exactly the same beautiful photos.
It’s not just Ubein’s Bridge around Mandalay, there are some fantastic monasteries, stupas, pagodas and images of Buddha. Just explore and see what you find.
Sunset with Fisherman at Ubein’s Bridge
Umin Thounzeh, Sagaing Hill
Yedanasini Paya near Inwa Lake
A friendly monk in Amarapura
100s of Buddha images in Amarapura
Lying Buddha in Amarapura
The world’s longest teak footbridge
Mahamuni Paya’s seated Buddha
Taking a boat near the Bridge
Three years ago, Caroline Neutzling started a blog about the favelas in Brazil. She was studying in Rio, and couldn’t find a good source of information for what was really happening in the poor communities, so she started finding out her self: “I really needed to know what was going on, from the people living there, so I started to find out and write about it. I thought other people might be interested too”. They were.
Enquiries started coming in through the blog, and for one and a half years, Caroline, or Caca as she prefers to be called, has been running a new, better kind of favela tour.
The first thing that hits you is the water. No, you are not literally washed away in a huge torrent the moment you get the falls. But it’s the scale of it – all that water. And it just keeps coming. And coming. And coming. Where does it all come from? Does it ever stop? Isn’t it beautiful… And just when you’ve been blown away by the mass of water in front of you, you take a little walk and realize that the waterfall stretches for miles. And miles. And miles. And your jaw just hits the ground. It’s a force of nature. Maybe you can get a sense of it from the video below. Some people might say there should be more waterfall and less Richard in the video, but I’ll let you decide. Continue reading
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Bonito – it’s not just about the water.
There is at least one attraction that involves none of the wet stuff.
Ecotourism entrepreneur, Senor Modesto Sampaio used to be a farmer. In 1986 he acquired an unusual piece of land. Part of the land included a giant sink hole, a natural sandstone crater with it’s own unique ecosystem. The largest sink hole in South America, and second largest in the world. Of course, engineers advised him to cover or fill it somehow, so that he could use all the land for farming, but Modesto, now in his 70s, realised its unique potential.