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Facts about Myanmar
Stuff to See and Do
What to See
Temples & Pagodas
1) Shwedagon Pagoda (Yangon)
One of old world wonders, symbol of Myanmar, best architecture, what else I need to say?
2) Mahar Myat Muni Buddha (Mandalay)
Madalay's icon. If you haven't been there, you shouldn't say you've been to Mandalay! Go there early morning to catch up the monks offering freshing water to Buddha.
3) Kyite Htee Yoe Pagoda (Kyite Hto, Mon State)
The pagoda on the giant rock situated on the edge of the mountain. It's just astonishing by wondering how it stands without falling down. There's even a gap between rock and mountain!
4) Shwe Zi Gon Pagoda (Bagan)
It represents Bagan. Isn't it enough?
5) Ar Nan Dar Pagoda (Bagan)
Best architectural design is there!
What to Do
If you are a sunset lover or serious photographer, here are some tips to get the wonderful sunsets in Myanmar. 1)Bagan
The taste to watch the sunset among the temples from 11-13th century will be your life time experience. Choose a nice spot & just feel it. 2)Ayeyarwady River
One of the best! You may go to Sagaing or Mandalay to be able to watch it at its nicest. 3)Beach
Choose any of these three beaches, Ngapali, Chaung Thar & Ngwe Saung. The sunset at long and sandy beaches are really astonishing. 4)Sakura Tower
If you are looking for one in Yangon, go to Sky Bistro at 20th floor of Sakura tower at the corner of Bo Gyoke Aung San St & 33rd St. Image Credit : http://goo.gl/XuMYN
Where to Stay
Since the last edition of the Lonely Planet, the price of accommodation in Burma has doubled, and in some cases, tripled. In the main touristy areas, including Bagan, Kalaw, Inle Lake, Mandalay, and Yangon, it will be difficult to find a double for less than $20. As a single traveler, you will have a tough time finding rooms, ensuite or with shared bath, for less than $15. Cheap accommodation is still available but you have to be patient. We found that the longer we waited in the lobby of certain hotels, the more rooms kept opening up. Hotels also have something called the "emergency room", a sort of closet with a mattress, that they must not consider a real room since they only seem to offer it to really desperate travelers. As a last resort, you can also try monasteries and Couchsurfing, though even there, space and the number of hosts are limited.
What to Eat
It is believed as a derived food from Chinese food, however, you won't find anything exactly same as Kyay Oh in anywhere.
It's a delicious soup served with lots of meat balls, organs (optional) and flat noodle or white, thin vermicelli. The most popular food among Myanmar youths.
Just head down to any of YKKO Kyay Oh shop. They open several branches through out the city and a bowl will cost about $3. You will get the amazing taste from a bowl of soup! One of my American praised it like "A bowl of Kyay Oh would leave a smile on his face for a week".
Myanmar people eat a wide varieties of peas and beans and you also should do so in Myanmar. Here's the most popular type of pea in Myanmar.
It's not only very delicious but also can be served with several kind of food. You can eat it with fried rice (Myanmar traditional fried rice), with Nan Pyar (Kind of India Roti in Myanmar style) or Parata or only itself with a drop of oil and fried garlic or onion!
Image Credit : http://goo.gl/gmqs4
If you wanna find the warmth of Myanmar, I suggest, you should try it definitely and you may feel the inner soul of Myanmar people. It's that much popular and arguably Myanmar food culture.
If you have been to a couple or more of Southeast Asian countries, you may notice that the food there is very similar. But here's a very unique Myanmar food that you can't find it in anywhere in this world.
It's called "Pickled Tea Salad". Yes, they eat Tea Leave! You may get shocked what you only know about Tea leave is tea (the drink). But please do try if you have chance.
It is made up of Tea leaves but pickled with oil, garlic and salt. It is served with different kinds of fried peas. Other options are tomato, cabbage, dried prawns & chilli if you wish to eat it at its best.
You can get it in most of street food kiosk or buy at mini marts & DIY!
Image Credit : http://goo.gl/gd9XM
Festivals & Events
Thingyan (Water Festival)
You may have heard Songkran but not Thingyan. In Myanmar, people enjoy four full days just by playing with water. By building up the large temporary stage to play with water, every road is wet all the time. Here are some tips for you to enjoy it.
1) Splashing water to monks, pregnant women and those who are on fasting. (They usually wear white blouse/shirt and brown longyi.)
2) Drinking too much.
1) Put all your dollars/kyats, hand phones and all things in water proof pouch if you can't leave these at your accommodation.
2) Prepare a route to go back where you stay from where you play. (Very few taxis are available during festival)
Image Credit : http://goo.gl/7kj2q
AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, and Thai Airways are the only 3 airlines currently servicing flights from Thailand to Burma. The Bangkok-Yangon route is serviced by all three airlines. You can also fly Chiang Mai to Yangon through Thai Airways and Bangkok to Mandalay through AirAsia. Tickets are roughly $150 RT but will vary, of course, depending on select departure/arrival cities and dates. For the latest fares, check skyscanner.com. As of 12/1/2012, land border crossings have not opened up completely, so you will have to fly.
As you may have heard, Myanmar is full of pagodas. Whenever you want to go and explore any pagoda or temple or monastery or any places relating to religion, you need to take care of your outfit. Otherwise, it may end up with wasting your precious leisure time. At some places, you may need to wear the outfit which is provided by the securities if they think what you are wearing is not enough neat to enter there.
2) short skirts
3) open sleeve blouses
1) taking off shoes/socks/sandles
2) long trousers/skirts
If you are confused, why don't you give it a try to wear Myanmar traditional outfit? It can be bought at quite a cheap price and you may feel warmth from it, too.
I'll bet you can't find more smiles anywhere rather than in Myanmar. So, please don't get shocked when you are starred and smiled at you a lot. It's nothing wrong with you but neither with them, too. The best practice to response such situation is just giving them back a nice smile. Your smile may even make their days!
With the price of accommodation doubling and tripling in the last few months, and the cost of long-distance travel between popular sights, it was difficult to keep our daily budget in line with budgets for other Southeast Asian countries. We shared our room with other travelers, ate street food, took local transportation, and settled for cheap rum and still came out at $25/day. Definitely visit Burma. Just come with deep pockets!
Myanmar people always enjoy seeing a foreigner speaking their language no matter how it sounds funny. Here are 3 words you must learn to keep the locals amused.
1) Min Ga Lar Bar
Means "Hello" in Myanmar. You can greet to anyone at anywhere by using this word.
2) Kyay Zuu Tin Bar Tal (Kyay Zoo Tin Bar Te)
Thank you. Whenever you get the direction or any help from a local, you can express your kindness by this word.
3) Thate Kaung Tar Bal (Thate Koun Dar Be)
That's great! If you are happy with a situation or you just get served more than your expectation, you can say it.
Image Credit : http://goo.gl/ipkUb
Spelled Pronunciation Ref : http://goo.gl/YmQyU