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monks on u bein bridge
Asia Myanmar

U Bein Bridge: Bridge to another world

“Shhh! Stop talking! Sunset. Bridge. Look!” Our boat rower punctuated his demands like a Lieutenant-General. We straightened to attention at his rebuke and brought our camera viewfinders to our eyes, fingers ready on the shutter button. It was indeed…

captain on dotthawady river
Asia Myanmar

Hsipaw: Discovering the real Myanmar

He was dressed in impeccably pleated suit pants and wore creased but polished black shoes. His face was as worn as his shoes, lines branching off at the corners of his eyes. His ears stuck out behind pokey greying…

monkeys at mount popa
Asia Myanmar

Eerie magic at Mount Popa

They were everywhere, cluttering the staircases leading up Mount Popa. A mother held her baby close to her chest as we walked by, eyeing us curiously and suspiciously. A child slid recklessly down the banister. A portly fellow, slumped…

shwezigon pagoda
Asia Myanmar

The hawkers at Shwezigon pagoda: A cautionary tale

One of the best things about Myanmar (for now at least) is the absence of persistent hawkers. In the former capital Yangon and even the more touristic Nyaungshwe a simple “no thanks” suffices to quell any sales pitches. But…

Asia Myanmar

Bagan by horse and cart

Bagan is Myanmar’s answer to Angkor Wat. Many tourists choose to explore the 42 square-kilometre archaeological area on bicycles, but given the stifling heat and the novelty of alternative transport, my sister and I decided to see the sights…

Asia Myanmar

A DIY hike in Kalaw

Kalaw is a small hilly town only a few hours’ (awesome!) drive from Nyaungshwe near Inle Lake. The town is centred around a market of rusty tin sheds and the glittering gold and silver stupa of Aung Chan Tha Zedi. Whilst…

Asia Myanmar

Doing it local: Inle Lake to Kalaw

Sometimes when you travel a country, you can feel like you’re being led on a sanitised tourist trail removed from local experiences. Not so in Myanmar. When my sister and I decided to travel from Nyaungshwe on the edge…

Asia Myanmar

Traditional Myanmar puppet show

The ceiling lights didn’t dim, they were swiftly extinguished, so that only the velvet curtained stage before us was illuminated. The crowd – all seven of us – were hushed as a tape deck clicked on. A crackling, poncy…

inle lake in myanmar
Asia Myanmar

Everything to expect from a typical Inle Lake tour

At eight in the morning, a scruffy-haired kid resembling a street urchin in black Adidas tracksuit pants and a ripped maroon top escorted us to Nyaungshwe’s main canal, Nan Chaung. We were about to embark on our first Inle…

Asia Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon

A chorus of worshippers chant hymns and wafting incense perfumes the air. Maroon-robed monks perambulate the central stupa, some twirling umbrellas thoughtfully. Others more grounded in the real world chat on their phones or take happy snaps. This is…

Asia Myanmar

Kindness in Yangon

Yangon conjures visions of Myanmar’s golden past, a country rich with intellectual life and bustling with visitors from near and far. I’ve been told Yangon used to be a major airport hub between the East and West during the…