Blogs from Eastern Burma, Burma, Asia

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Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma » Taunggyi January 22nd 2014

What a wonderful day . It was a chilly morning I'd guess @12 C . Breakfast on the terrace at the hotel had everyone reaching for the thermos of coffee . The steam was rising from our eggs , our mouths and cups as well . I put on socks! and the black pants I wore leaving Canada! What a change!!! We had booked our boat , a 15Meter long speed(?) boat , the night before for 8:30 am to 6 pm. for $40 . A bit high I think but the convenience of doing it at the hotel is worth something. Heading out on the 4 km channel to the lake was chilly indeed . My jacket and socks over my sweater and a silk scarf was a welcome addition . The journey was interesting ... read more

Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma November 23rd 2013

I am assured by the girl at the front desk that we will get a 4.00am wake-up call to enable us to catch our 5.30am boat to Mandalay. Luckily for me the prayers are still coming from the temple and wake me at around 2.00am. And even with my toilet paper ear plugs, I can't get back to sleep. It's a stroke of luck that I am still awake at 4.00am as the wake-up call is non existent. The security guard is found asleep on the floor in reception, however I give him a serious wake-up call before getting in the taxi for the boat. A river boat, on the Irrawaddy River to Mandalay is a wonderful experience. It's an 11 hour trip up one of Asia's great rivers, a wide muddy river from the annals ... read more
tribesperson
Walking up Mandalay Hill
Longest Teak Bridge

Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma » Tachileik November 13th 2013

Caught a public bus from Chiang Rai bus station- so small no room to squeeze my legs in so had to sit sideways on the seat. Fare was a mere 39 baht for the hour and a half journey to Mai Sai. On arrival at the bus station there we all had to get a songthaew to the border costing another 15baht. 19 people plus 3 sacks of produce were crammed into that van- good job it was nonly a few kms and I hung onto the back outside, Filled in a departure card at immigration and then stood in an almost non-moving queue as both the people in front of me had overstayed their Thai visa so had to fill in paperwork and pay fines. When it was my turn I was stamped out with ... read more
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burma2
chinese temple

Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma » Pindaya October 14th 2013

A shiver up my spine While waiting at Yangon airport for our flight to Heho I heard Ohnmar say "oh, there is Daw Suu Kyi", I quickly looked around and sure enough there was Daw Aung San Suu Kyi being to led to an airport bus to take her to board a flight to the political capital. I caught a quick glimpse of her on the bus and felt a shiver up my spine. Next, we saw all the airport staff standing on the tarmac waving off the plane she was travelling on. It was a fleeting glimpse of this amazing woman, which created a snapshot that will stay in my mind a long time. Bombing in Yangon On the flight to Heho, we read about a series of bombing attempts in Yangon which injured some ... read more
Yangon News
Pindaya Cave
Pindaya Cave

Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma » Kengtung April 12th 2013

Our last day in Myanmar and here we are in Kengtung, an old British enclave and the largest town in Shan State, home to many minority groups including the Akha people. Kengtung is also the capital of the Golden Triangle, being only 2 hours from China and 3 hours from Thailand. Our arrival has coincided with the start of the Burmese New Year celebrations, also known as Thingyan Water Festival; so far we have avoided being soaked but Eve is keen to buy a water pistol and join in the fun ! The celebrations will still be in full swing in Chiang Rai and then in Laos as we pass through on our next journey, so water pistols might be a useful investment... So we are saying ta-tar to Myanmar, with great regrets in having to ... read more
Nuns at Nyaung Shwe
An Akha woman from Shan State

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Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma January 30th 2013

Inle Lake is perhaps best known for the fishermen who stand on the ends of their boats, casting nets and traps, slapping the water to scare the fish into the net, and paddling along with their foot wrapped around the paddle. It is a popular photo opportunity, and our group spent much time trying to get the perfect shot. We rode along in our long boats, outfitted with single wooden seats set single file one behind the other. We could get three or four people in each boat. The boats, all crammed with tourists and others with local people and their goods, zoom around the lake with remarkable speed and annoying noise. We visited all kinds of places. A temple enshrines some very famous Buddha images that are unrecongnizable as such because they are packed with ... read more
Beauty
Fishing Net
Market talk

Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma » Pindaya January 27th 2013

We left Kalaw, high in the hills of Shan state and drove toward Inle Lake. We saw overloaded vehicles on the way to market, women in fields cutting and threshing wheat. We stopped at a colorful market. I love markets. All colors and shapes of vegetables, fruits, dried fish, skewered eels, and cigar smoking women were there. I stopped to get a smear of thannaka, the light colored paste that so many women wear on their face to keep cool. The vendors were so patient and gracious, and loved seeing their photos. This helped them get over their puzzlement at the westerners staring at the strange produce. Then we stopped at Pandaya, an absolutely incredible natural cave that is filled with thousands of Buddha images. I thought the entrance was overwhelming with Buddhas, but there was ... read more
Cigar Break
Thannaka Smear
Umbrella

Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma January 21st 2013

15 January 2013 Painted blue, green and yellow shutters and doors on natural bamboo and woven palm houses on stilts are scattered in and around the lake. Matching curtains are tied with contrasting ribbon. It is all very chic. The villages here are better off than other areas we've passed through. Though the lake shore has receded by about two miles all round, the lake is still vast and beautiful. The floating gardens where villagers grow onions, garlic, tomatoes, bitter gourd, and flowers, herbs and rice are flourishing. The produce in the local markets is testament to this. There is food for everyone. The floating villages perch picture perfect over the water. Fishermen's houses have large fishing nets slung underneath to keep the catch alive and fresh until market day. Shops display their wares strung up ... read more
pretty house
smokey morning on Inle
Sunrise through the mist

Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma January 21st 2013

16 January 2013 We stay at the Princess Gardens Hotel in Nyaungshwe. I think it is by far the nicest place to stay here. Ko Aung and Mee Mee are wonderful hosts and their bungalows are lovely. They have just been forced by the government to extend their original 8 rooms to twenty to be able to maintain their hotel license and have had to build some extra bungalows and a wing of attached rooms to this purpose. The rooms are great but the bungalows are fantastic. We are lucky to have been able to get One. They are usually full and the only reason we can stay here is because of the government ruling - so not all bad in this case, as far as we are concerned. Princess Gardens is also the only place ... read more
leg rower
floating village
floating village

Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma » Kalaw January 20th 2013

13 January 2013 Falling asleep to the sound of monks chanting at the Buddhist monastery next door.. The air is cool and crisp and smoke from cooking fires is beginning to seep into our room. Kalaw was once a hill town where the British colonials came to escape the heat and it still has a faded but gently colonial ( is that an oxymoron?) atmosphere. The people here are much more guarded. They are not too keen to talk to tourists - they have seen and done this all before. We are only approached by two people during our afternoon walk-about. The first is a Christian nun from the old church up the hill. She is selling blessings for donations and she takes us for prime christian donation candidates. Little does she know that our light ... read more
Andrew in tea shop
Kalaw Barber Shop
Aung Chan Tha Zedi in Kalaw




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