Reasons to Visit Myanmar
If you’re looking for a new, exotic, and beautiful place to visit, consider visiting Myanmar. Myanmar, formerly Burma, has a rich history, incredible historic temples, amazing culture, and a coastline that offers everything you would want in a tropical vacation. Here are the top 8 reasons why Myanmar should be on your bucket list.
1. Sunrise and Sunset
Everyday, the sun rises and sets over the glorious settings that Myanmar offers. During my last visit, I was able to witness the beautiful sunset in Old Bagan where thousands of people gather in huge temples to wait and take photos of the beautiful sunset. Beachside or Lakeside sunsets? Check. The sun rising over green, lush jungle as you climb to the rim of extinct volcano Mount Popa? Check.
2. Visit Thousands of Beautiful Temples
Relatively unknown in the world of temple visiting, Myanmar has a disproportionate amount of incredible temples that you can visit. Shwedagon Pagoda – the oldest historical pagoda in the world dominates the skyline of Yangon making it one of the most visited Pagoda in Myanmar. Between the 11th and 13th centuries, more than 10,000 temples were built in Bagan. Old Bagan temples are also picture perfect during sunrise.
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3. The Buddhist Monks
You will see Monks in the streets, inside the temples and in almost everywhere in Myanmar. They are friendly and they love to talk to foreigners to practice their English skills. Buddhist monks of Myanmar wear the dark ochre robes that distinguish them from the crowds and you can hear their prayers from the temples. Monks are venerated members of Burmese society.
Tip: They will allow you to take photos of them but be sure to always ask politely before pressing your camera’s shutter button.
The history of the country is complex and dramatic. Burma’s culture has been heavily influenced by Buddhism and the Mon people. Burmese culture has also been influenced by its neighbors India, Thailand and China. Burmese People are still applying Thanaka to the face and sometimes the arms of women and girls and to a lesser extent men and boys. Thanaka is a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. Thanaka gives a cooling sensation and provides sun protection.
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5. Burmese Food
Influenced by the surrounding flavors from China, Thailand, and India, Myanmar’s cuisine is rich in flavor from the strong spices used as well as the ngapi, or fermented seafood, and fish sauce. On the coast you’ll eat fresh fish dishes prepared in a huge variety of techniques and spice combinations. Inland you can rely on the flavorful salads that often include glass or rice noodles, alongside potatoes, ginger, tomatoes, lime, and pickled tea leaves (lahpet).
6. The People
Again, because of the location you’ll find that the people of Myanmar are somewhat of a blend between the nationalities from the surrounding countries. But you’ll also find that they’ve taken the best from the neighboring cultures. The friendly smiles of the Thai along with the diligence and economy of the Chinese, plus a bit of humility that must come from India.
Surprise! You can also go shopping in this country full of wonders to explore. But you’ll find that instead of the typical shopping malls full of items you can find anywhere, you’ll find incredible local markets full of inexpensive and beautiful locally made items and products. Bogyoke Aung San Market in Yangoon is the most popular place to shop for souvenir items and jewelries like Jade and other precious stones.
8. The Adventure
And of course, the best part of visiting Myanmar is the sense of adventure that comes with going to a country that the world doesn’t know that much about. You will discover things that other travelers don’t yet know about and you’ll find that it’s easier to connect with the people because they’re not as wrapped up in tourism as many other countries in the region.
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You can’t go wrong when you go to Myanmar to see natural wonders and wonderful man made structures. If you’re a traveler who likes a new adventure to embark on, plan a trip to Myanmar. You won’t be disappointed.