Myanmar had always been a mystic destination to us and when that dream had finally came true, we still couldn’t believe all the emotions and connections this trip can bring. Putting into words the highlights of the journey last April 2016, we found ourselves quickly faded into reveries.
We first arrived in busy Rangoon under a humid and extremely hot weather. Quickly, we seek calm and refuge at the magnificent Schwedagon, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar. By the end of the day, when the temperature started to cool down, strolling among the formal capital’s streets can also bring a lot of pleasant surprises: street food stalls, teahouses, and even hidden bars.
Our next stop was Bagan, the ancient city of thousand temples. What can we say? No words can truly describe our fascination for this city. Just rent an electric bike, get lost within this 104 km2, scattered with 2200 temples and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of a once in time, powerful dynasty. If you want to take this experience to another level, a hot air balloon tour is the best way to fully observe the greatness of the site.
The capital of Myanmar, Mandalay
Mandalay, our next stop, struck us as the dynamic little brother of Rangoon, where the population is young and techno music is king in every shop and café. After a sweaty visit of the city center under the 40C sun, we decided to follow the locals and took a rest in the famous Mahamuni temple. Lucky as we were, Ashin Kunela (also the coolest monk of all time) approached us and politely asked if he can practice his English with us. After a short introduction, he offered a private tour of the temple and even embarked us on a “spiritual walk” on the U-Bein Bridge, where he shared that wisdom and mindfulness are the virtues of pursuing.
After hectic Mandalay, we arrived in Inle. We biked through farmer villages and encountered wonderful people that invited us to join their festivities during the Thingyan Water festival. The elders, children, women and men celebrated, got together at the village center to dance, sing and of course to throw water at each other. We decided to capture this moment of joy on camera and came back the next day to distribute the photos. Well, word traveled fast and after a few minutes, people started to create a queue to get their own family or portrait picture. Beyond the culture and language difference, we found a way to create a strong human bond: a photo booth!
All things come to an end and our 9 days journey as well. We will never forget the kindness of the people, the beautiful landscape and the timeless charm of this magical country. Since the word is not our forte, we have created this 3 minutes video that can hopefully, motivate you to explore and visit Myanmar.
/// Written by Mathieu Debruyere