Secrets of Myanmar

Falling in love with Burma made my heart fly. It’s still working its magic on me even though I’m now in Kathmandu, Nepal. I cannot forget it and I’m happy to share it with you too.

I just finished my latest issue of Vagabond on Myanmar and its overflowing with:

What No One Tells You About Burma, Meditating and Motorbiking in Myanmar, 169 photograph, Photography Advice for shooting on your own world adventures or your backyard and tips I learned in the 29 days I was visiting this Astonishing Country. Here’s the cover. Check it Out!

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The best things about Burma: the friendly people. They help you find your destination while on the city bus, are over the top excited to be in pictures with you and chat about your life. Astounding level of consideration and tenderness! They know you are a tourist and therefore don’t know much about anything in Burma.

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And the spirituality is everywhere. People are not caught up in only achieving. They are meditating, praying, and being kind. That’s my kind of religion –  not really a religion, but a way of life. See the video here to get inside Shwedagon Pagoda!

Yangon, the finest and most ethereal temple I have ever seen in my life.

Yangon, the finest and most ethereal temple I have ever seen in my life.

Shwedagon Pagoda is my favorite place to go in Yangon. Being there at sunset was divine, the candles were glowing and I was blessed to see two full moons there. This is not Photoshop – this is the real deal.Full Moon at Shwedagon, YangonAnd Eating! I asked a local in Bagan where do you go to eat?

This is what I got, vegetable curry with rice for $2.

All these plates are for me. Can you believe it? And they weren’t done bringing out the food, more arrived that I could not identify  but if you want to see it all on video go here

Go to Nu War restaurant in Bagan for real Myanmar food. At non-tourist prices.

Go to Nu War restaurant in Bagan for real Myanmar food. At non-tourist prices.

Bagan is mystical – you can’t believe how many temples there are – this one made me veer off the road while I was biking and go see its gorgeous-ness up close.

Sunset in the temples.

Sunset in the temples.

One thing about Mandalay is the great food. I went to a local place that opens at 5AM for the real people who work and live here. And you’ll pay the same price as them – its about 50 US cents for a bowl of rice, egg, and chicken which the restaurant routinely ran out of but here is the place and the cute kids who are the waiters. And it had great Burmese tea. Stay at the Nylon Hotel and ask about the local place three blocks away that opens at 5AM – I don’t know the name of it. They had no sign.

Tea and Noodles in Mandalay

Delicious Food, Adorable Waiters, and 1950s prices

Delicious Food, Adorable Waiters, and 1950s prices

Mandalay Morning Market

And the Mandalay morning market is not to be missed! It is churning with color and vibrancy. The girl above is making a fish dish similar to that traditional seafood dish in Thailand. I didn’t taste it as I am a bit cautious when it comes to seafood especially when its raw. I don’t need to throw up now so I usually steer clear just to be safe.

Give me an apple and I’m happy.

More Photographs here

Banana at the Mandalay MarketI love bananas so I got excited seeing this. Its the perfect food except that it does not travel well. My bananas end up getting crushed on the bus and I don’t have any yogurt or a  blender so I can’t make a smoothie. The other most perfect food.

Girl at Mandalay Market This girl was at the Mandalay Market selling her coconuts – my third favorite food. You can drink ’em, chew ’em and decorate your house with the palm leaves. Whats not to like?

Don't miss Kandawgyi Botanical Park in Pyinoolwin - you'll think you died and went to heaven!

Don’t miss Kandawgyi Botanical Park in Pyinoolwin – you’ll think you died and went to heaven!

If you want Jaw-Drop Gorgeous head straight to Pyinoolwin 2 hours from dusty chaotic Mandalay and luxuriate in Orchid Heaven — Kandawgyi Botanical Garden is now one of my most favorite places on earth. Check it out here in the video.

The cool weather, fresh yogurt, and slow pace in this hill station made me relax and stop moving. Suddenly all I had to do was walk around smiling at people, drinking tea, and chatting with locals. I did not see anyone rushing in the 4 days I was there.

Wish I could have stayed longer but you only get a 28 day tourist visa in this luscious country – you can’t see it all so get a business visa, which is a 70-day pass for Burma, if you can get it.

Its easier to get visas in Cambodia, that’s where I got my Myanmar tourist visa. There were no lines –  its a small office in Phnom Penh and it took only 5 days to get.

I over stayed one day in Burma (fine is $3 per day) as I could not tear myself away. You pay the fine at the airport when it is discovered by the officials they don’t even ask you why they just want their 3 bucks.

My last night I was at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon – I did not want to leave but my visa was up. Going higher up in the mountains to Kalaw and the oceanside towns will be my next trip there. My advice is to go now, discover its untrammeled beauty, and let me know what secrets you find out.

Check out Vagabond Travel Photography Mag here

monksatmarketSee my photography store and more Photographs from Myanmar and the 29 other countries I have visited in the last 7 years – indulge yourself and go for a ride – you may be buying a plane ticket soon!

Kindly, Mary

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One Response to Secrets of Myanmar

  1. Pete says:

    Great videos & photographs. Travelled to Burma back in 1983. Pyin Oo Lwin was called Maymyo then. Read chapter in Paul Theroux’s book if you get a chance. Getting ready to retire in Asia next year. Namaste.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Railway_Bazaar

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