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July 12, 2017

Destination Favorites: The Best of Myanmar

Myanmar Boat

I recently returned from our Discovering Myanmar tour, which was an incredible 8-day journey through one of the most unique destinations in the world.

Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar is located in Southeast Asia and is a culturally rich destination that has the privilege of remaining unspoiled. It reminded me of what Thailand would be like 20 years ago, and seeing a country in such a raw form was truly moving. I'm excited to share some of the highlights from my Myanmar travels with you!

Yangon

Our trip started in Yangon, which is the largest and busiest city in the country. As the former capital, Yangon is home to the impressive Shwedagon Pagoda. Seeing the structure illuminated at night is absolutely stunning. The city offers a mix of British colonial architecture, modern buildings, and awe-inspiring pagodas.

Heho

After Yangon, we took a short flight to Heho. We had the opportunity to travel through the farmland, watching the topography change vastly in contrast to the locations we had previously visited. We took in the hills, mountains, and the imposing Inle Lake. Our group made a surprise stop at the Red Mountain Winery which was a “wow” experience. Here we had another breathtaking panoramic view. The next morning we departed from our hotel in small propeller boats to explore Inle Lake. We cruised along the lake, seeing the local fishermen and hydroponic farming. The Lake dwellers are known for their unique leg rowing style, which consists of standing on the boat and wrapping a leg around the oar. We also explored the stilted villages, golden pagodas, and the floating markets to interact with the locals.

Mandalay

From the Inle Lake, we travelled to Mandalay. We rode on an open air 4x4 vehicle to the top of Mandalay Hill. At sunset, we took in the panoramic city views while listening to the mesmerizing prayers of the citizens. This city is also home to the resorted Mandalay Palace, which is in the center of the city and is surrounded by a moat.

Bagan

From Mandalay, we took a private “jetty” boat ride along the Ayeyarwady River. We journeyed to the village of Mingun, where upon arrival we were greeted by the Oxcart Taxi service and the smiling local people. The ride cost less than a dollar! After this we continued our journey on a boat ride to ancient Bagan.

Bagan is the land of thousands of temples, stupas, and pagodas. We climbed up the steep stairs to the top of a temple to watch the sunset. In the distance, we could see scattered temples throughout the area. This stunning destination is one I will never forget.

Keep an eye out next week for part 2 when I share some helpful tips for what to expect!

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