Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city with a population of over 5 million people, being the economic and cultural center of the country. You can see that this is practically the only prosperous and ” civilized ” city in this country, focused on business development and having a vibrant life. It is also the most diverse city with a mixture of cultures and religions.
Continue reading “Yangon – the most interesting places to see in 1 day”
Mandalay is the second largest city of Myanmar with a population exceeding one million, yet not looking like a well developed and organized city. Chaos on the road is nothing new in an Asian country and it’s there. What strikes a contemporary traveller is poverty, decrepit buildings, someone would have said ‘the grunge everywhere’ and general backwardness in thinking and technology as well.
Continue reading “Mandalay and its neighbourhood – temples dripping in gold vs sad reality”
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?
Continue reading “Myanmar – not an easy start”