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Sorkoo Adventures

Myanmar Adventures

MYANMAR | Thursday, 31 August 2017 | Views [256]

It was something of a random decision to go to Myanmar. It's a country neither of us thought we would visit. We were drawn to photos of the sun setting at Bagan and the mysteries of a country that has only recently opened its doors to the outside world. Throughout our stay, it often felt like we were the only tourists around. Myanmar is off the beaten path and we visited at the low season for tourists. It was great! 

 Our first stop was Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar. We visited many temples including one where only men could go up to touch a large Buddha and cover it with gold leafs. Yep, Danny got to touch the Buddha while Natalie took pictures from the hall. We took a trip to Inwa Island where we bumped around on a horse drawn carriage to see more temples and we ended our day at the longest teak bridge in the world. Locals and tourists were gathered there to watch the sunset, grab a drink or picnic. 

 A highlight of the day was when we randomly stopped at a school. The children were eager to show us their classrooms and practice their English. Over 2,000 children attend this free school. Most were young Buddhist monks or nuns. Myanmar is such a poor country and joining a temple is quite enticing to children as they receive shelter, food and sometimes education.

 There was another level of poverty in Mandalay that we had never seen. We saw small huts and shacks all along the side of the highway. The inhabitants came from a village that floods every year. Each rainy season they take their families and livestock to these huts on the side of a very busy road. We can't imagine ever seeing this in America. As we left Mandalay we felt a little sad and grateful for what we have. 

 Our second stop was the ancient capitol of Bagan where once, over 10,000 temples and pagodas dotted the dry landscape. Time and earthquakes have brought that number down to just 2,000. We spent two days on an e-bike driving dirt paths and roads around temples and pagodas. Some are in ruins while others are newly built. Each road was a new adventure. One day, we got stuck in a cattle traffic jam and then were immediately surrounded by goats. It was cool yet scary. We joined other tourists at the large temples but found ourselves alone in smaller temples and pagodas. The sunsets and sunrises were beautiful even if they weren't perfect. This is why we decided to visit Myanmar and it was well worth it.

 From Bagan, we took the worst bus ride of our life to Inle Lake. We both ate something bad that morning and had to deal with horrible stomach pains on a 7 hour hot and bumpy ride. Thankfully, it was well worth it. We hired a long boat to take us around the lake. We visited villages on stilts, floating tomatoes gardens, two giant temples and an area filled with hundreds of pagodas. The weather was cooler and the scenery was beautiful. On our second day, we biked around the lake villages. We ended at Red Mountain Winery for a late lunch and a wine tasting. The wine was light and not bad. It was a fun way to end our trip in Myanmar. 

Our time in Asia was amazing. We can't believe it has come to an end. We had heavy hearts as we flew out of the smallest airport ever and onto the next phase of our adventure. 

 

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