How to get to know the authentic Burmese cuisine? Eating out at local bars with Burmese people is a good way but it’s not the same as cooking with a local ‘housewife’… Especially if you can participate in the process of preparing products (by going to the market to get them, the place where the whole experience begins), then in the preparation of various dishes, especially the typically traditional ones (it’s worth mentioning that you choose what you want to cook during a cooking class, so you have the chance to emphasize that you want to cook and eat the food Burmese people eat at home). We highly recommend you a cooking class offered by ‘Y Wine’ in Nyaung Shwe for 15.000MMK (11USD) per person (in our case of course it was Michal who was cooking, and me following his each and every step snapping photos and later even tasting the cooked dishes with him, and yet we only paid for 1 person!).
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Being in Myanmar and not visiting Bagan, an ancient city still waiting to be enlisted the UNESCO World Heritage Site, would equal to not seeing the temples of Angkor while your stay in Cambodia. The Kingdom of Pagan gave rise to the modern Myanmar (Burma) and was the first kingdom unifying regions. The admission fee every tourist has to pay when entering Bagan Archaeological Zone is $ 25 and it’s valid for 5 days. To visit this wonderful city on a budget we rented an e-bike (electronic bicycle) for 10.000MMK (7,50USD) for the whole day. Exploring Bagan on an e-bike was pure fun 🙂
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Inle Lake – a magical place, especially at 7am when boats can start traversing this most famous and second-largest lake in Myanmar (its surface area: 116 square kilometres). You can take a longer trip to get to distant villages. It will cost you only 10,000MMK / 7,50USD per person (the boat for 2 people) to set off on a 6-8h trip and to enjoy the views of life on the water, and much more.
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In search of peace, tranquility and great rural mountainous landscapes we went to Hsipaw (Thibaw). This picturesque town situated in the Shan State and its surroundings can be easily visited on a bike. Direction tips and a map that we got from our hotel were enough to easily explore this green area by ourselves. The trekking tour we planned in this region with a guide was cancelled as we got information that there was an outbreak of a military dispute in some higher parts of the Shan State. In turn we could arrange our own trip, and so we did by renting a bike and heading for picturesque surroundings, reaching a charming waterfall and passing green areas which left as in awe of this amazing corner of Myanmar!
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Certain rules, habits and behavior of people are similiar in different Asian countries. There are some characteristic features linking Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia, because these countries are similar especially in terms of their attitude towards tourists and, unfortunately, with a common approach, that a white tourist should pay for everything because it’s a walking ATM. Myanmar can not be called a typical Asian country, although there are a lot of conmen as well, but it certainly can not be pigeonholed into the same category as the above-mentioned countries. Myanmar is different not only because of its political situation (being a sanctioned country under the regime of the military junta), but mostly because of the people, their incredible hospitality and delicious cuisine.
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15th December, 2016, 7:00am, having in hand an air ticket from Bangkok to Mandalay we arrive at the Bangkok Don Mueang airport 4 hours before the flight, the queue to the check-in counter is quite long, presumably we should get there 3 hours before the flight, and so it happened … And that was when problems started… The lady from the counter asked us whether we had a letter of invitation from someone / some company from Myanmar … Being surprised at this question we answered that the Polish are on Visa on arrival approved list regarding entry to Myanmar (paying visa upon arrival at Mandalay International Airport) . The lady replied politely that we were right, but this was applicable only if we had a letter of invitation .. And at that moment you could see our jaws dropping … What? Probably we had checked visa info on the webpage which lacked this small detail…What now?
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Phuket, an extremely touristic province and one of Thai islands with a so called ‘the city of sins’, Patong, surprisingly satisfied our culinary needs. With a very limited budget calculated for this place we were able to eat nice food for a couple of dollars (per meal) and still manage to get to know the ”taste” of the freaky Bangla Road! Here’s how we did it 🙂
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Koh Phi Phi seems to be associated with one of the most beautiful islands of Thailand. In fact its name refers to 2 islands: Koh Phi Phi Don (inhabited one) and Koh Phi Phi Leh. The islands are visited by crowds of tourists every year, and many people are opting for a few nights on the island believing that a full-day excursion is not enough. Is it really like that? Actually if you really want to spend there at least 1 night it makes sense to visit the famous Maya Bay on the next day very early in the morning (starting at 5:00, you should book the boat excursion a day before) and stop by at some other nicely hidden spots/beaches of Phi Phi Leh but if you don’t have enough time to stay overnight you can choose 1-day excursion from Phuket/Krabi for 750THB / less than 20USD – the price we haggled by half – the mentioned price refers to Phuket).
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In the southern Thailand you can literally experience a true taste of paradise. How? Just go to Koh Lipe Island located near Thai border with Malaysia. And trust us, you don’t need a fortune to spend your vacation there. We do not propose holidays in luxury resorts but those on a budget spent in a much more interesting way, eating in bars with local people for 50 THB (about 1.25USD), sleeping in a tent for 5USD and, yes, this can all be done in Koh Lipe! There are some things, however, that you cannot skip, like e.g. cost of ferry to the island and the entrance fee to the Tarutao National Park, which this idyllic island belongs to. More info below 🙂
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