Myanmar was my first real real solo trip and I L O V E D it!! I unknowingly went for their New Year celebration, known as Thingyan. Pretty much, the whole country is shut down and turns into a huge water fight/dance party. SO MUCH FUN!!! The only downside was that I had to take internal flights from city to city, because when they say the country shuts down, they’re not kidding. Smaller airplanes were kind of scary, but definitely an experience I won’t forget.
Many people haven’t heard of the country Myanmar, and to be completely honest, I hadn’t either until I went to South East Asia. Situated north of Thailand, the country was only recently opened to tourism a few years ago and is often referred to as Burma. Looking back, Myanmar was probably one of my favourite trips I took. Not only because I completed it solo and met a string of new people along the way, but also because of the locals in Myanmar. The locals are extremely kind, and caring and compared to other countries in SE Asia, I never felt like people were trying to sell me something or look for a return out of helping me. The Burmese are still not accustomed to seeing tourists, so they genuinely want to go out of their way to help you, take photos of you (honestly I felt like a celebrity at times), and just want to ensure you’re having a good time. If you get the chance to visit, I highly recommend it as one of the hidden gems in South East Asia.
My plan was to visit 3 cities: Yangon [capital], Bagan, and Inle Lake. Check out the highlights of my trip through this vlog where I spent 7 days visiting these wonderful places.
YANGON – I spent two days in the capital city and man was it crazy! Yangon is where the biggest celebrations of Thingyan happen, so the crowds were massive. Highlight of this city would have to be Myanmar’s famous Schwedagon Pagoda; it’s the country;s most prestige place of worship, covered almost entirely in gold. I’ve never come across such a breathtaking structure, both as a result of its size and beauty (you can see it in the vlog!)
BAGAN – Bagan is known as an ancient city, with over 3,000 abandoned temples. My days in Bagan were spent temple exploring, watching sunrises and sunsets from the tops of Pagodas and temples. The locals rent out e-bikes (similar to motorcycles, but electric ones that run on battery) and you can take them around exploring anywhere and everywhere. The nice thing about Bagan is that there was no right way to go about exploring temples; there were thousands of temples and with each one being unique, it was quite the relaxing experience and allowed me to reflect a lot on my travels.
INLE LAKE – Inle was my final stop. I spent a day and a half, which was short but very sweet. They have a vineyard situated on top of a mountain that overlooks the entire town. At sunset, you can ride a bike up there, and enjoy the view with a glass of local Myanmar wine, including a tasting of 4 wines for $5 (what!!). Because the town is mainly situated on a lake, one of the most popular activities is to get on a boat ride. Locals would run day tours from 5 a.m. in the morning until the evening, taking you around in long, narrow boats to explore different floating villages on the water.
If you haven’t yet, check out my blog collab. with Ryerson Student Life HERE — where you can read all about my other adventures!