SSCP   CAS-002   9L0-066   350-050   642-999   220-801   74-678   642-732   400-051   ICGB   c2010-652   70-413   101-400   220-902   350-080   210-260   70-246   1Z0-144   3002   AWS-SYSOPS   70-347   PEGACPBA71V1   220-901   70-534   LX0-104   070-461   HP0-S42   1Z0-061   000-105   70-486   70-177   N10-006   500-260   640-692   70-980   CISM   VCP550   70-532   200-101   000-080   PR000041   2V0-621   70-411   352-001   70-480   70-461   ICBB   000-089   70-410   350-029   1Z0-060   2V0-620   210-065   70-463   70-483   CRISC   MB6-703   1z0-808   220-802   ITILFND   1Z0-804   LX0-103   MB2-704   210-060   101   200-310   640-911   200-120   EX300   300-209   1Z0-803   350-001   400-201   9L0-012   70-488   JN0-102   640-916   70-270   100-101   MB5-705   JK0-022   350-060   300-320   1z0-434   350-018   400-101   350-030   000-106   ADM-201   300-135   300-208   EX200   PMP   NSE4   1Z0-051   c2010-657   C_TFIN52_66   300-115   70-417   9A0-385   70-243   300-075   70-487   NS0-157   MB2-707   70-533   CAP   OG0-093   M70-101   300-070   102-400   JN0-360   SY0-401   000-017   300-206   CCA-500   70-412   2V0-621D   70-178   810-403   70-462   OG0-091   1V0-601   200-355   000-104   700-501   70-346   CISSP   300-101   1Y0-201   200-125  , 200-125  , 100-105  , 100-105  , MB5-705  , 200-355   400-201   1z0-808   210-260  , 220-801  , NSE4  , 1Z0-061  , PMP   JN0-360   350-050   200-310  , 70-461   200-125  , 74-678   642-732  , 70-410   ADM-201   70-486   9L0-066  , 300-101  , PMP   400-101   CAS-002   102-400   642-732   070-461   220-801   c2010-657   EX300   MB6-703   200-125  , 350-018  , 1Z0-061   200-125  , AWS-SYSOPS   70-346   350-080   70-487  , ITILFND  , 200-125  , PR000041   352-001   MB5-705   70-488   500-260   1z0-434   70-534   1z0-434   ITILFND   70-411   210-065   CISSP   70-534   101-400   700-501   OG0-093   1z0-434   2V0-621D  ,

Myanmar: An Eastern Escape - Bleu Magazine
Home / Lifestyle  / Myanmar: An Eastern Escape

Myanmar: An Eastern Escape

img_3558

Words: Adrienne Jordan

Photos: Trafalgar Guided Vacations

 

With a fledgling tourism industry, the largely undiscovered country of Myanmar is bursting with stunning landscapes, warmhearted people and preserved cultural heritage. I explore the destination’s pagodas, palaces and its flourishing food scene

 

Travelers to Myanmar may feel some trepidation – and with good reason. With decades of military rule and armed conflict between ethnic groups marring the peace, the country was all but closed to travellers until 2011. But it is a country on the brink of change, particularly if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi succeeds in leading the country to democracy – and as a destination, it has so much to offer. The Myanmar people are perhaps the most welcoming in the world. They are a mixture of backgrounds, from Chinese to Indian, a result of constant emigration over many years. For the adventurer, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and seeing the one-leg fisherman rowers. Perhaps the most intriguing – and surprising – part of the Burmese culture, however, is the food scene with its local, rustic flair that varies from region to region.

 

 

I am experiencing Myanmar on a tour with Trafalgar (E Katella Ave, 801 92805, USA +1 866-513-1995 www.trafalgar.com). The seven-day expedition guided by a personalized travel director allows LGBT customers to feel safe and welcome, as well as aware of the customs of the country. The Secrets of Myanmar trip offered by Trafalgar provides an intimate group of 26 people where you can travel with people from all over the world. Being a local Burmese guide who has seen the country at its best and troubled, my travel guide, Nyein Moe, offers a personal look into the life of Myanmar in an upbeat, informative, and often humorous touch.

 

 

The first stop is Yangon, the capital of Myanmar. To do as the locals do, I rise early for a morning jog on the long wooden bridge that spans the length of the Kandawgyi Lake. I am greeted by the cheerful faces of the locals exercising before their workday, and the beauty of the man-made lake, which sprouts lily pads and water flowers throughout. An early start ensures a spectacular view of the orange sunrise over the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda from across the lake. After my run, I embark on a walking tour of Yangon, which offers an intriguing look at the colonial heart of the city and takes in various sights including the City Hall, the former Immigration Department, the High Court, and the vintage-looking General Post Office. Strand Road is home to the stately building that housed the former New Law Courts, and after an hour-long walk, a coffee break is most welcome. I pause for a while at the Strand Hotel’s British-themed lobby bar, built in 1901.

 

 

img_3154

img_3173

I may be opting for a coffee today, but it is impossible to go a day in Myanmar without an introduction to the nation’s widespread tea culture. Tea consumption is a Burmese way of life, where instead of bars, teahouses serve as the social gathering place for Myanmar people. “People from different walks of life meet at teahouses,” says Moe. “There is loud music and noisy conversation about business, the love of sports and the heyday of Mandalay.”

 

I pay a visit to one of the newest teahouses in Yangon, the Rangoon Tea House (Pansodan St, 77-79; +95 9 979 078681; www.facebook.com/rangoonteahouse), which is outfitted in a chic, modern décor with floor-to-ceiling windows. The teashop serves green and black tea, the style most commonly served in Myanmar. There are no condiments on the table, as the local way is to take the tea plain with no additives. The exception would be la phet yay, a popular brewed black tea from the highlands of Shan state traditionally served with sweet condensed milk. Yay nway chan, weak green or black tea, called “Chinese tea”, is comprised of free leaves and twigs thrown into hot water, and is usually provided free of charge.

 

img_3681

img_3934

 

On day three, we head to Bagan, where I am able to explore a few of the city’s 2,200 pagodas and temples. Unlike the bustling city of Yangon, Bagan is a destination where the locals have more of an agricultural lifestyle spread across several villages. Modes of preferred transportation include small cars and biking. At the golden Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century, I take in the 13th-century frescoes adorning the corridors and walls of the Gubyaukgyi “Cave” Temple.

 

youngnunspayinghomageatshwedagonpagoda

 

The highlight of the trip had to be my experience on Inle Lake, the second largest lake in Myanmar, which sits some 1,000 meters above sea level. The lake hosts clusters of peculiar floating homes that run the gamut of bold, rainbow-color schemes on the exteriors, and I spent a great deal of time watching, fascinated, as the Intha fisherman expertly maneuvered their 10 foot wooden, canoe-like boats with one leg. The non-English speaking fisherman are seen in a distance using ingenious conical bamboo nets to catch fish like ngape, tilapia, and Inle carp. I learn that this practice has survived for hundreds of generations because of its distinct advantages. The upright position allows the fisherman to see across the lake to spot dense hyacinth weeds scattered just below the surface of the lake where fish can be hiding. They are also keeping close watch on bursts of bubbles created by shoals of fish. During the tour, we pass floating gardens of tomatoes and other produce made by piling weeds and compost on long poles fixed to the lake floor.

 

 

Along with surprising gourmet fare, another largely unknown discovery in Myanmar is the country’s two relatively new wine estates. As there is not enough wine production for export, tourists must visit the country itself to buy and sample Myanmar wines. Both estates are located 30 minutes from Inle Lake. I visited the Aythaya wine estate (Aythaya – Taunggyi, Southern Shan States, +95 (0) 952 12 830; www.myanmar-vineyard.com), which started in 1999 (the other winery, Red Mountain opened in 2002). The wine tasting at Aythaya is conducted in the Sunset Wine Garden restaurant, where the spectacular sunset over the vineyards and valley creates an otherworldly panorama. The restaurant also serves a combination of western and Myanmar food, like fish in banana leaves and mutton balls with brussel sprouts.

img_3895

sunsetovertheirrawaddy

 

With neighboring Thailand to Vietnam, the region may be flush with highly lauded Southeast Asian gastronomy but from the wine to the delectable gourmet offerings, Myanmar’s cuisine – along with its political progress – makes it a country to watch. I leave Myanmar a transformed foodie.

 

STAY

Kandawgyi Palace Hotel

+95 1 249 255

www.kandawygipalace-hotel.com

 

The Strand Hotel

+95 1 243 377

www.hotelthestrand.com

 

Review overview
NO COMMENTS

POST A COMMENT