Burma and some interesting things about the country

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Asia » Burma
December 31st 2017
Published: December 31st 2017
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Burma, or Myanmar, surprises in many ways. It was the 3rd and final new destination this year and it's refreshing to visit a country that's opening up rapidly to tourism. The infrastructure (roads, buildings) far 'exceeding' what we have expected. Most locals are able to understand and speak good English, and they are 99% friendly towards foreigners, unlike certain overly-visited places in the region. We even met some Burmese who worked in Singapore previously and enthusiastically shared their experiences with us. Though a short 5 days trip with Steph and friends, it was a good break from the monotony of city life, relaxing in a vastly different environment. Listing down some of the interesting observations to remember:

- Ladies apply Thanaka on the faces, giving an instant recognisable look that they are natives

- Men wear Longyi, a sheet of cloth worn around the waist, providing cool 'ventilation', unlike pants/jeans

- Burmese language feels like a mix of Chinese, Indian and Bahasa, not surprising given the geographical proximity and influence

- Both right and left-hand-drive vehicles are present on the road (for left-hand-drive)

- Burmese are mostly staunch Buddhists, and they are really thousands of temples and pagodas in every city/town/village you visit

- Any form of footwear, including socks, have to be removed before entering the temples and pagodas

- Burmese food seems to be a confluence of Chinese and Indian food (again not surprisingly). Rice, or vermicelli, is the staple with multiple side dishes, is the norm

- Tea Leaf Salad is an unique dish, found here, a good blend of sweet, salty and slightly bitter taste

- Nuts, in all form and variety, are used in most of the traditional dishes, from salads to appetisers and main courses

- Lotus clothes are painstakingly hand woven together; they are much rarer than silk and cost almost 7x the price

- Bus rides in Yangon costs 200 kyats one-way, however long the journey

Lastly, since we came during year-end period, 1 thing we noticed was...

- All Santa Clauses here are short sighted: they wear spectacles!

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