There was quite a bit of excitement and anticipation for our travels in Myanmar. I, Kristen, lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2007-2008 and during that time was able to follow some of what was going on in Myanmar (of course no one knew the extent of it unless you lived there, but a visit to the refugee camps at the boarder and Burmese friends tried to keep us informed). In the last couple years, Myanmar has opened it's boarders and some areas inside to tourists and Ville and I really wanted to see the country before the tourism changes it like so many other countries.
Friendliest people we have met so far, incredibly tasty food, and landscape similar to Thailand make this country a great place to travel. All it took was a moment looking at a map and we inevitably had a person stop to ask if we needed any help. Then they went as far as walking us in the opposite direction than they were heading, to walk us to where we needed to go. Or even make some personal phone calls to find out the answer or book a ticket for us. For no other reason than to be kind. It was beautiful. And tea leaf salad, avocado salad, fried rice, noodles, fermented everything, the food was delicious everywhere we went.
Yangon has seen some very challenging times, but is starting to attract some investors and travelers alike allowing for some much needed polish and shine to begin to see it's sparkle. Sadly, Ville and I hit Myanmar end of March where things were heating up and it was unbelievably hot! We spent our days wandering around the city, walked to the river, to and around Kandawgyi Lake, to Inya Lake and Aung San Suu Kyi's home (where she spent nearly 20 years under house arrest).
Myanmar is also the most expensive place we have traveled. The hotels are not geared at all for backpackers and we never found a room under $25 a night. Food however was around the $2 mark, so it was a challenge to justify spending so much on accommodation. But we managed thanks to India and Nepal having less expensive accommodation, so it leveled out. Food seemed to have the same price no matter if we ate in a restaurant in the city or headed out to the villages. Also very different than most places we have been. But a beautiful country with very kind people and off to Bagan!
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K.G. & Ville
On a cruise ship, heading north up the west coast to Los Angeles.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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