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Myanmar: Photo Essay Part 3

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The Road to Mandalay
We arrived in Mandalay by plane, but it was a long highway from the airport before seeing the “Welcome to Mandalay” sign. The drive to our hotel at the foot of the Mandalay Hill continued for at least an hour due to traffic. It seemed like a boring town at first, bustling with commerce. It was not until approaching Mandalay Hill where the images of a romantic, bygone era came into view with the Royal Palace and impressive moat.



The road to Mandalay leads to popular tourist destinations: Mingun to the west, Amarapura to the south and Pyin Oo Lwin to the east.  Our next day was dedicated to seeing the famous temples and pagodas in Mingun.
Mingun Mingun has two main attractions: the Pahtodawgyi Temple and Hsinphyumae Pagoda.
The Pahtodawgyi is a humungous stupa that should have become the largest stupa in the world with the height of 150 meters. Constructions of the stupa were started in 1790 by King Bodawpaya and was stopped due to the astrologer’s prediction that …

Myanmar: Photo Essay Part 2

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In the Land of the Longyi Based on the number of gilded temples and Buddha images I saw from Yangon to Pindaya Caves, it was easy to discern the obvious: Buddhism is the major religion in Myanmar.  However, our guide kept saying that Buddhism is not a religion but a way of life. So I started to reflect on this statement. From the onset, I asked our guide if there's a topic that's off limits. He said nothing is off limits except for taking pictures of people in uniform, the military.  I suppose the things that really left an impact on me are the people and culture. I could not comment on what was happening in another part of the country, but the locals that we had contact with were happy to share their moments with the camera. So, I'd like to share even a tiny fraction of the country's narrative like men wearing skirts called longyi and men, women, children and babies wearing a yellow paste called thanaka on the faces to protect their skin from the sun, and the tradition…

Myanmar: Photo Essay Part 1

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The Land of A Thousand Temples and Beautiful SunsetsOne of the most compelling travel photos I had seen from a page of a travel magazine was a photo of hot air balloons over a hundred temples, and over the hazy horizon and mist lifting from the ruins as the sun rises.  That photo inspired me to travel to Myanmar (formerly Burma). But due to the high cost of travel to Myanmar and the political unrest, my dream remained on my bucket list for a while. After debating whether it was 'responsible travel' to go despite the country's negative political news, I asked myself "If not now, then when."  I finally decided to join nine other intrepid travelers on Discovery Tours. Although there are still places that are out of bounds for foreigners, our itinerary followed the main tourist route. 

I want to share some photos of the incredible sights along the way. Yangon Our journey began in Yangon, where we visited some museums, the Bogyoke Aung San Museum, and did a walking tour …