After two incredible weeks spent in Laos, my friend and I decided to split up, so three Swedish boys, a Dutch couple and I set off for Bangkok. We stayed there for just over a week and witnessed the beginning of the political unrest in Thailand. Despite the instability, Bangkok was well worth the visit, not only for the kindness of the Thai people, but also for the street food and the craziness of Khaosan Road.
After obtaining a Visa valid for one month, the Swedish boys and I flew to Yangon. If you do wish to visit Myanmar in the near future, it is important to take certain precautions. Bring a lot of cash since there aren’t many cash-machines, and be aware of the fact that the country has only recently opened up to tourism which means that it is still unstable in some areas, especially the North. Burma was one of the cheapest countries, with the exception of accommodation. Hotels and hostels were hard to find and more expensive than in other countries. Transport can be problematic, and you may have to take several buses, and a boat with an outboard motor to reach your destination. However, locals are always willing to help foreigners and if you ask them for a ride, they will give you one without hesitation, even lorry drivers!
We visited two main cities, Yangon and Mandalay. Myanmar is a multi-religious country, predominantly Buddhist and their famous golden Pagodas can be seen everywhere. The most beautiful and interesting places we saw were Inle Lake and an Ngapali resort, near the Western town Thandwe.The beaches, usually deserted, are the cleanest I have ever seen. These locations offered a variety of wonders, from exquisite local dishes and surprisingly large areas of vineyards, to some of the most generous, selfless and loving people we came across.
Myanmar is paradise and I hope it will stay that way. However, I am afraid that eventually, mass tourism will spoil its untouched beauty, and influence the natural charm and hospitality of the people.
Without a doubt, the trip to South-East Asia was the most enriching on a personal, educational and cultural level and now I just can’t wait to get back this summer and discover more!