jeudi 8 novembre 2012


"This is Burma and it is unlike any land you know about."
Rudyard Kipling, Letters from the East (1898)

    This is what you can read on the back page of the most read book in Myanmar after the ones from George Orwell, I mean the Lonely planet :-)

    From the very first moment you step foot on the ground in Myanmar, you are in for a truly unique experience. 
    Being cut off from the rest of the world for so many decades, Myanmar has achieved a unique preservation of culture bounded by a rich, unspoilt landscape. Abundant in natural resources, the landscape of Myanmar ranks amongst the most breathtaking sights anywhere in the world. 

    Each of the destinations within Myanmar; whether it be Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay or Inle Lake have striking features differentiating Myanmar from any other destination within South East Asia. I was not excepting anything, that's maybe why I still have some difficulties to put words on this travel, it reminds me India, and Cambodia, and also…all the other one but being so…unique, that's the word, UNIQUE.

After 2 week in Bali, what have we done in three weeks in Myanmar ? 
  1. Yangon
  2. Bago
  3. Mawlamine
  4. Mandalay
  5. Bagan
  6. Kalaw Trekking
  7. Inle Lake
  8. Pindaya
  9. Yangon
1/Yangon (3 days)
  • People say 1 day is enough, we spend 3 days exploring by foot the life in the capital, and getting lost in this very unusual capital!
  • Considered the jewel of Burma, Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most beautiful Buddhist pagodas in the world, topped by a huge stupa covered in gold.
  • Other places to visit: Maha Wizaya pagoda, Paya Chaukhtaki pagoda Botataung, Sule Pagoda, the National Museum and the Museum of Myanmar Gems ( we didn't have the time to visit the museum)
School Girl in North of Yangoon going to class

Marie shooting a diet balance predicting your future in the most famous market of Yangoon : Scott Market ( Bogyoke Market)

Street Food, pork intestins

Electric issues?

Night Market in Yangon

First diner in Yangon!

Ths is the famous Shwedagon of Yangoon, our first morning there!

The young boy have some Tanaka on his face

This was the old taxis

And this is was we see from few months, taxis imported from China

The buses we were taking time to time

The Strand, the most..."colonial"

This is the kind of vegetation that you can see growing everywhere in the street of Yangon!

The Sule Pagoda!

Yangon train station

We came here 3 consecutive days, to get a ticket from Yangon to Mandalay. Issue with the counter, with the train, with our US dollars.

And also issues with the language

Our train!

Try to remember these signs, can be useful during your trip ;-)

The ticket booking office, which is different from the train office!

This is why making a call in Myanmar is such a nightmare!

Shwedagon by night 

If you want to plug your iphone or laptop, you need to plug them in these mectronic safeguard box, otherwise, you risk to toast it!

Our great host in Yangon, Dorota and Kristof! Thanks again for your kindness!

2/Bago (2days)
  • Shwethalyaung Buddha : he Shwethalyaung, a colossal reclining statue of Buddha (181 feet [55 m] long), is to the west of the modern town and is reputedly one of the most lifelike of all the reclining Buddha figures; allegedly built in AD-994, it was lost when Bago (Pegu) was destroyed in 1757 but was rediscovered under a cover of jungle growth in 1881. Shwethalyaung Buddha is the second largest reclining Buddha
  • Shwemawdaw Paya :   It is often referred to as the Golden God Temple. At 375 feet in height, the Shwemadaw holds the record for the tallest pagoda in the country although theShwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is usually credited as the tallest pagoda in Myanmar (at 98 meters - approximately 321.5 ft). Shwemadaw, along with the Shwedagon and Kyaiktiyo, are famous Mon pagodas.
  • May Tha Lyaung Reclining Budhha

Snake Budhha

Shwethalyaung Buddha, 55 meters long, bigger than the relying buddha from Wat Pho.

May Tha Lyaung Reclining Budhha

It was a suprise to find this lake budhha at the sunset

And the other surprise was to discover this garden with its students

3/Mawlamine (3 days - my favorite place with Inle and bago)
  • Geographic center of the country and the second largest city of Burma.
  • Win Sein Taw Ya : This is the biggest reclyning Buddha in the World , by name Win Sein Taw Ya .This Buddha is still under construction . But you can go inside this sculpture and see different sculptural scenes about what is waitin` for in Hell , sinner !  Also you can see a panoramic view from this giant Buddha...
The bus station! Good luck!

Marie & her "Brussels Represent" t-shirt!

Our best hotel in Myanmar! The cenderilla at Moulmein ( mawlamine)

Fuse box in a Pagoda!

Burmese Writings

Every Buddhist from Myanmar need to spend few weeks/months in his life as a monk. My personnal opinion is that every country should do the same, that would make people less anxious.

Marie asked this monk if we could photographic him, he looks so worried for his end-year taxes, house rent, ex-wife pension, kids arrogance control, end-of-life pension, etc etc....:-)

Little sista of the golden rock that we couldn't see!

Petrol Station

The road to the longest reclying buddha in the world

Win Sein Taw Ya

10 more years to finish the construction. 

This huge buddha was next to the Win Sein, it was another suprise.

4/Mandalay (2 days)
  • Geographic center of the country and the second largest city of Burma.
  • Hiking to the top of Mandalay Hill for a breathtaking view of the city.
  • To see: the Mahamuni Pagoda and the small museum of Offerings, Nandaw Shwe Monastery, the monastery Shwe Bin in the royal palace. Factory of bamboo leaves and the gold leaf.Down the Irrawaddy boat between Mandalay and Bagan.
This train was the WORSE train EVER!
I've used train in africa, in India, but I've never wondered so many time when this train would brake during the night, it's indescriptible, the sound of metal cracking...unforgettable experience or just me getting older! ;-)

Just one advise : DON'T TAKE THIS TRAIN!

This monk reminds me one of my friend : STEVE. Can seems nice but you never know when he is going to ask you money!

Marie in the Teck Petrol Pagoda

5/Bagan (3 days)
  • One of the most amazing archaeological sites in the world! More than 2000 temples and pagodas sparkling. The most famous and largest is the temple of Ananda eleventh century. There is plenty of choice: Temple Manuha of Nanpaya of Htilominlo, Pagoda Shwezigon ...
Bus station in Mandalay

How to cool down a bus

This is how we make up with Tanaka

The tanaka tree

The only tanaka museum in the world, at the same time, that's the only country using it day to day so...

The first seven to eleven in Myarmar

First sunset in bagan

Bagan by night

In this restaurant, if you're not happy after you're dinner, you don't pay.

One of the biggest temple of Bagan!

A Hindou temple in Bagan

Who wants an appetizer?

6/Pindaya (1 day)
  • Nestled in a green valley, Pindaya houses a treasure: a 8000 Buddhas Cave, a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists.

The entrance of the Pindaya Cave.

7/Kalaw Trekking (3 days)
  • The trekking from Kalaw to lac inle was amazing, beautiful landspace, we had the chance to get an experimented guide in naturotherapy, teaching us the value of natural medicine
During our trek, we were sleeping in Monastries like this one.

Landspace during our trek

Our trekking team. USA, Germany, Thailand, Mexican, Croatian, Indian, good team!

And good food!

No need of AC!

The kitchen

Look at how that woman is laughing! :-)

Local Car Wash

How to make peanuts


Winner team!

8/Inle Lake (3 days)
  • An oasis of freshness and natural beauty in the heart of the central highlands of the country. Nyaungshwe, the main village, motor boats serve many villages on stilts, surrounded by floating gardens.

JD and Marie walking of floating garden on the lake!

Every religion have its own limits...

I never saw so much GOLD. 24 carat, 100 gramm, around 5000$ in the hand...

This was during the Inle Lake festival

It's a mix betwen frog leg and porc knee.

9/Yangon (1 day)
  • Last quiet day spent in the capital: the big survey Bogyoke Market and walk around the Kandawgyi Lake.
I had some spare time to invest there!

So happy to find some french stuff after 2 months of asian food!

Last night in Yangon!

Just before our landing in Qatar discovery! :)


    Myanmar was one of my favorite place until now. Once home, I've read some article about Myanmar, I watched "the lady",  saw what was happening around the different borders of the country, and dispite all, tried to get a bit more from Orwell and Kipling about this fantistic country, and I'm sure we'll come back, one day, with our kids, to see how much things can change fast i guess.

Practical Part

1e = 1,29 USD
Visa Bali = 25usd
Visa Burma = 25e
Paris-Bkk-Paris 631e
Bkk-Bali-Bkk 340e
Bkk-Yangon-Bkk 56e
Pass Bagan 15e
Pass Inle 5e
Price are in euros there.
Hotels were expensive : from 15 to 30 USD per day for a coule so for 3 weeks; about 250 euros (per person )
Food, about 5 euros lunch and 10 euros dinner maybe ( I don't count the exceptions time to time). So about 300 euros for food maybe.

For us, 5 weeks bali + Myanmar cost 2200 euros per person ( no internal flight, couchsurfing few days). You can manage to get cheaper!

Contact me if you need more information : david.jaya (at) gmail (dot) com

Next chapter : SRI LANKA! Home country after 30 years ( "first" time for me)