Burma continues to be the least visited country in Southeast Asia, despite the fact that more and more people are visiting the country, making it a very authentic and unique experience.
Burma, or Myanmar, was a country in my bucket list for a long time, and when I finally visited it the experience could not have been better.
In each state, Burma provides memorable experiences to anyone who visits it, and that’s why I leave you with 5 amazing experiences that you should not miss on your visit to this pearl of Southeast Asia.
Watch the sunset at the U-Bein bridge
One of the best sunsets I’ve seen during my Asia trip was undoubtedly what I saw on the U-Bein bridge in Amarapura, about 10km from the city of Mandalay.
This is the largest wooden bridge in the world, 1200m long and about 150 years old. As the sun sets, the place is filled with an orange color that creates the prefect scenery.
Observing the daily routine of the fishermen, in their wooden boats rowing the river, among the vegetation is something that will hardly escape from memory.
The sun paints everything orange, the river water, people’s faces, trees and clouds, creating a perfect sunset that will be etched in your mind.
Train crossing the Gokteik Viaduct
If it is true that Burma can provide moments of incredible peace and relaxation, it is also true that sometimes it can provide radical moments full of adrenaline.
The train journey between the cities of Mandalay and Hsipaw is one of the experiences that will undoubtedly leave your heart racing! Not out of fear, but of joy!
The 7-hour train ride to Hsipaw may seem like an eternity, but it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have in Burmese land, because despite the incredible scenery you will encounter and the contact with the warm Burmese people, the train will cross the famous Gokteik viaduct.
This viaduct is an inheritance of English colonialism and constitutes an important engineering work for the Burmese people who use the train as means of transportation to move in the region.
Rising more than 100 meters high, it allows incredible views of the forest and it is a challenge for those who suffer from vertigo. But do not worry, for safety reasons the train crosses the viaduct at a very reduced speed, which give you time to enjoy the scenery and take a lot of photos.
Motorcycle rides in the archaeological zone of Bagan
This is definitely one of the experiences you will not want to miss in Myanmar. Bagan is known for its more than 2,000 temples and is one of the most magical places you will ever see in your life. From the famous sunrise that accompanied by the ascent of balloons, the sunset that paints the temples orange and that ends another day, this city will challenge you to choose the pagodas you want to visit. Since the archaeological zone of Bagan extends over 100 square km, renting a motorcycle is undoubtedly the best way to enjoy this experience. It will allow you to see a large number of temples, while also saving energy to walk barefoot on sacred sites.
The entire archaeological zone is very rich and diverse. You can see imposing temples followed by small pagodas and there are temples more requested that attract the attention of several visitors, mainly at sunrise and sunset, as well as temples where you are alone in full harmony with the silence and the sounds of the nature around you . Also, choosing the temple with the best view but with a smaller number of people for the long awaited sunrise will be one of the great challenges of your trip.
Boat trip on Inle Lake
There are places I traveled that still haunt me, in a good way. Experiences that are so imprinted in my memory that I will never forget because they are part of me and who I am. Inle Lake is one of the places where I travel the most in my memories.
I close my eyes and I can hear the sound of the boat, small particles of water from the river watering my face, my hair flying in the wind. I can see the face of the man who guided me in this experience and who showed me the world through his eyes. Inle Lake was also where I first saw a fisherman fishing with a net, balancing at the tip of the boat and making movements that resembled a dance, while giving me a look of pride and curiosity. The high houses that are submerged and that give shelter to the inhabitants, as well as the exchange of food that some women constantly do between the boats.
If I try harder, I can even feel the wholeness that came over me when I realized how small I am in the middle of the river and the magnificent mountains before me.
Trekking in Hsipaw
Those who know me know that I love trekking, they are an incredible moment of communion with nature. In Burma, the trekking I did in Hsipaw, Shan State, was one of the most incredible to date!
The Hsipaw region is home to several villages of ethnic minorities, where contact with the Burmese people becomes something magical! Through the mountains and valleys we can see tea plantations where the workers smile back at us, waving their hands with a joy and curiosity as genuine as ours.
At the end of the day, after several hours of walking, there is nothing better than to spend the night in a Burmese village, where the hosts of the house where you will spend the night wait for you, to welcome you in their home and, perhaps unknowingly, give you one of the greatest experiences of your trip!
Burma is a country rich in traditions and customs, and has a magnificent people! Much of its territory is still prohibite from tourism, due to the confrontations that have taken place in recent years. But do not let fear or less informed opinions keep you from visiting this country.
Burma is a genuine gem with much to discover!