In February, 2013, I led a fabulous trip to Myanmar and Thailand. It was a trip of a lifetime! Why? I knew about the beauty of Thailand but was not very familiar with Myanmar. Myanmar turned out to be one of the most interesting and unique countries that I have ever visited.
Myanmar was totally cut off from the rest of the world for political reasons for over 40 years. Only recently has the country been opened to tourists and the influence of the modern world. It is very beautifully ‘stuck in the past’. The people are friendly and innocent. They have not been overwhelmed with too many tourists yet.
Every day in Myanmar brought new adventures. We visited several Buddhist monasteries where we watched processions of hushed monks of all ages as they lined up for their daily meal. We saw elaborately decorated horse and ox carts carrying young boys and their families in all of their finery, parading to the monastery before the boys had their heads shaved and became novice monks. We climbed beautiful old stupas and pagodas in our bare feet to see the sun set over a field of ancient pagodas. We watched people at work - all of them using primitive but effective means with no electricity - pottery makers, blacksmiths, weavers, paper makers, men making bricks, farmers, fishermen, etc. And we visited bustling markets where the local people, some in hill tribe costume, came by ox cart or boat to buy all of their fresh food.
There were so many highlights. The area that was totally unique was Inle Lake where we travelled for 3 days exclusively by Long Boats that held only 5 people ( no roads, no buses). We visited floating farm villages where fresh vegetables are grown by hydroponics on floating gardens. The homes are on stilts and the people travel by dugout boats which they propel with their leg wrapped around the paddle. The men fish with primitive cone shaped nets and spears and we watched them as they sat patiently in their dugout canoes waiting for fish. It was a wonderful glimpse into a world that may soon disappear. I highly recommend visiting this country -’The Land Time Forgot’ in the next 5 years.