... read more " /> ... read more " />
21 August 2012

What to do in Myanmar?

By Millicent

I’ve just returned from a wonderful trip from Myanmar. It was such an eye opening experience for me. The beauty is so untouched, people who were always friendly and they speaked good English! I can safely say that communication was not a problem for me at all in Yangon! In fact, I went on a self guided tour with nothing but my trusty Lonely Planet book in hand!

Let me share my experience of what I did in Myanmar and hope this will be a good insight for any traveler who wants to go Myanmar but have millions of questions in their head about what to do, see, eat, and shop!

What did I do?

A must visit is, of course the Shwedagon Pagoda! Being the national heritage of the country, the monument is so huge that it can be seen from anywhere in the city! Not to mention the gold color of the structure made it so striking and outstanding!

Shopped at Bogyoke Aung San Market. When I searched ‘where to shop in Yangon’ on Google, this came up at the top of the list! I’ve read the reviews of it and the reviews are definitely true! There are thousands of stalls here! Needless to say, I spent almost half a day here shopping! The vendors are constantly smiling and I even managed to strike up conversations with them! And of course, I got some discounts off the items after that! The market is so huge and it houses all various items from Myanmar’s famous handcrafted items, jewellery, shirts, souvenir items, dry food too!

I then visited the Karaweik Hall. The boat is so enormous and outstanding, no one can miss it! I’ve learn that there are cultural performances at night during dinner time! Sadly, time was running out. I just snapped a few pictures and admired the structure and fine details of how the boat was constructed. I am definitely coming back next time to experience its cultural performances and delightful dinner!

Admired the beauty of mother nature at Bagan and I was in awe! It felt like I was transported back to a cowboy town where horse carts were the only form of transportation and no skyscrapers but barren land with thousands of stupas, pagodas and temples. I enjoyed Bagan a lot. The landscape and sight of it blew me away! Don’t forget to catch the breathtaking sunset from the temples! You’ll definitely be amazed by the creation of God! For me, I managed to admire the beauty of sunset from Dhammayangyi Temple.

There, I’ve learned the art of making lacquerware. Lacquerware is a very famous product from Myanmar. In the workshop that I have attended, I was shown the process of selecting the design and mold, the art of crafting it (it takes a lot of attention to detail and creativity!), colouring, letting it out to dry and polishing it for final touches! I bought so much of these as souvenir items. Lacquerware products are the must buy in Myanmar!

Experience the livelihood of the locals when you visit the Inle Lake. Inle Lake has so much to offer for this city girl. I have always been seeing skyscrapers, vehicles and accustomed hustle and bustle of the city. Inle Lake is a very tranquil and serene town which has an abundance of activities. I visited the floating garden where farmers grow tomatoes, vegetables and fruits for a living. The Mine Thauk Floating Market is where trading are made daily. In Inle Lake, I managed to experience how the fishermen spend their day at work with a very native fishing method which I have never seen before. The photos will do the justice!


What did I eat?

Myanmar’s cuisine is somewhat similar to my Asian taste buds. In fact, I enjoyed their ‘mohinga’ very much. It is a kind of rice noodle served with fish soup. I noticed that it is a delicacy enjoyed all day round during breakfast, lunch and even tea breaks!

Besides that, I was craving for some something spicy, hence I had Ngahin which is Burmese fish curry. A lot of patrons were ordering that and I thought it definitely has to be good. And indeed it was finger licking good!

Whenever I travel, I always like to bring a piece of home with me. Imagine the joy on my face when I stumbled upon this Muslim community in Yangon which serves nasi biryani! Nilar Nasi Briyani is so famous in Yangon and definitely the talk of the town among the Muslims! I had it twice when I was in Yangon. That’s how good it is!

What did I buy?

I didn’t know that jewellery is so well known in Myanmar! The prices are a fraction of what I pay back in Malaysia! I was spoilt for choices in terms of designs, quality, and prices! On the rack, there are rubies, sapphires, pearls, emeralds and so much more! All I know is that I made my Mom a very happy woman!

I bought lacquerware as souvenir items for my friends and family. And decoration pieces for the newly renovated house.

Myanmar is such an exotic place that I will truly recommend everyone to visit once in their lifetime! Not to mention that tourism is booming rapidly now. It is a place I will definitely visit again for it has so much to offer and the locals are so warm and friendly towards the tourists. It made me feel safe and right at home.