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From Bangkok to Burma

MYANMAR | Friday, 15 March 2013 | Views [6215] | Comments [4]



We made it to Bangkok after braving an overnight bus with loud travellers singing Karaoke and some near death turns that almost made the bus topple over.
I don't have much to say about Bangkok, as Jake got a pretty bad cold and we were in need of a break. We saw some temples and the grand palace but mostly stayed on the infamous Khao San road. Khao San is really for backpackers and travellers, so there isn't much to do other than go to bars which we were not up to doing. We did make a trip to Ayutthaya about an hour outside the city and saw the old capital with scenic views of old temples. I don't want to bore you with too many photos of temples, so here is a photo of an elephant taking a cucumber from a baby instead. Aww!

As our visa in Thailand was running out, so we had to leave the country. Jake's brother and his wife had taken a trip to Myanmar earlier in the year and convinced Jake that it was a must see. Although it wasn't in the plan, we decided to head west to Myanmar for an extended visa trip. So after four days in Bangkok, we  hopped on a plane and landed in Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar. I was quite nervous to go, as it wasn't one of the countries I had looked into, and I didn't really know what to expect. But from the second we landed I knew it was what we were looking for in a city. It's hard to describe but it just had such a good feel to it. First of all, there are all old buildings still from the colonial age which give it a very interesting look. There are also endless markets and stalls all over the city. As the borders were just recently opened for tourists, it is not overrun with tourist infrastructure yet, so the look and feel of the city is completely genuine. We checked into our hostel, ate and then ran to the most famous pagoda in Yangon for the sunset. It was absolutely phenomenal! It was all pure gold and all the temples were decorated and very detailed. There were so many people there as this temple is the pride and joy of Myanmar and a must see for all Buddhists in the country. We stayed for a couple hours and then got lost trying to find where we left our shoes. The next day we did a Lonely Planet walking tour where we saw another pagoda, city hall, the strand hotel, and then china town, little India and the Aung market place. We ended our day with a traditional Myanmar meal with curries, soup, raw veggies and salads. It was similar to Chinese food, but a little bit different as it was a bit spicier and had a bit more of an Indian influence. And they give you so much food! It was great.

We then got on an overnight bus to Bagan to see the famous 600 year old temples and pagodas. When we got to Bagan at three in the morning, it was funny to see all the people wearing jackets, bu it was actually quite cold outside. Luckily when we hopped on a horse carriage, there was a blanket I could use to keep warm as I sent my only sweater home because I haven't needed to use one this whole trip. Instead of paying for an extra room in the hotel, we left our bags with them and joined a nice traveler from New York named Bob to watch the sunrise. After getting dropped off at a temple and given vague directions to turn left, we wandered around a 600 year old temples in the dark. Eventually we found stairs in the temple and stood on top of it to watch the sunrise. It was so amazing because we didn't really know what to expect of Bagan. But as the sun rose we saw why we were told to go to there. Every five minutes as the sun rose we saw more and more temples until there were more temples than the eye could see. It was absolutely spectacular.


After a good sleep, we rented bikes and saw a couple more temples and watched the sunset from a large, more tourist populated temple. It is probably the first and last time we intentionally watched the sunrise and sunset on the same day.
The next day, we took a horse cart with good humoured Bob, and did the usual route, stopping off at all the big temples along the way. It was so amazing to see so many temples in one spot, and I am so glad we made the trip. The children selling us things were also quite adorable and I keep seeing their cute little faces in my head. Here is a picture of Bob and Cheeta! 
That night we headed back to Bangkok via an overnight bus to Yangon where we waited about 9 hours for our flight, and then waited another 3 hours for an overnight train to Chiang Mai.

Although I was hesitant about Burma at first because of the politics and lack of knowledge I have of it, I was so happy to go and it's one of my favourite places so far. The people are less jaded to tourism now, and I get like we were really seeing it for what it is. It saddens me to think that we are part a slow process that contributes to turning these places into overrun tourist hubs, but I feel if all tourists tried to be respectful and understanding of there surroundings, as well as try to do as the locals do, we can have a small impact, and hopefully a positive one. 

Tags: bangkok, elephants, horsecart, khoasan, myanmar, sunrise, sunsets, temples



*sigh*. So much beauty you are seeing and experiencing. Thank you for sharing all of this. To see the sun rise and set in such beauty - those images will stay with you forever. I love the first pic of you and Jake - you both look so relaxed and happy!

  Heather Roth Mar 15, 2013 3:09 AM


That photo of Jake in the city looks like you photoshopped him into a sci-fi movie or something futuristic! That place looks amazing and otherworldly!

  Tina Mar 15, 2013 12:49 PM


We’re so grateful to you for taking the time to write these blog posts Nicole, thank you! Love the photos too. xob

  Barbara Young Mar 15, 2013 1:29 PM


Hi! May I know how you got the bus from Yangon to Bangkok? Also how long did it take and how much did it cost?

  Annabel Sep 26, 2015 6:17 PM

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