Before joining us at Explore, Hannah Bound, Asia Regional Specialist for Explore Tailormade, decided that she needed to see Burma for herself. Using local guides and guesthouses (rather than government owned ones), Hannah went on a journey round the country. Her aim was not only to familiarise herself with Burma and its people, but to share her knowledge of the outside world and help lesson the feeling of isolation often held by the people there. Here, she recounts her favourite memories of her time there, and shares her treasured photos.
"From the grandeur of The Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon to the tranquillity of Inle Lake and the magic of Bagan, the wonder, the memories, and the emotions of Burma are still very clear to me today.
Floating Village - Inle Lake
Some of my best memories of Burma are talking to a monk in saffron robes who wanted to practice English on the famous Mandalay Bridge at sunset and watching sunrise over the temples of Bagan from the tallest temple was like magic, where it looked like a scene from another world, the red glowing bricks of ancient pagodas emerging from the morning mist, scattered across the horizon below me.
Also the day when I took a walk with my guide through the local minority villages in Kalaw was most memorable, where we stopped by a village watching the monks in their red robes play a local volleyball game next to rice paddies and where school children peered through the hedges when we walked by, smiles wide and their cheeks covered with the characteristic turmeric paste for protection against the sun.
Kalaw Shcool Children
We stopped by a village longhouse where numerous families live together and watched how they did local weaving and interacted with the young baby with a cheeky smile.
One aspect of Burma that I will remember the most is the people; they undoubtedly some of the most sincere, genuine and friendly I have met in Asia. The Burmese are very excited to welcome visitors; to learn from, to welcome and to present their country to, sharing their history, culture and natural beauty as well as their hopes for the future.
"With the sweet chai to drink, the smiling faces, warm sunshine and golden temples, Burma will enchant you and it will be a journey you will never forget."
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