Skip to Content

Myanmar monks and memories

The land of immortality. The land of gems. The golden land, because of its thousands of golden pagodas and fiery sunsets.

Burma, now Myanmar, is known by many names.

But perhaps Rudyard Kipling described it best when he wrote:

This is Burma and it [is] quite unlike any land you know about.”
~ Rudyard Kipling, Letters from the East (1898)

Myanmar monks

Monks in Myanmar

For now, it is a landscape that time and modern civilization has forgotten.

A place for Myanmar monks… and memories.

Myanmar monks

I first visited Myanmar with my mother.

I was particularly captivated by the monks. Myanmar supposedly has more Buddhist monks than any other country in Asia.

Myanmar today

Since that visit, I’ve returned to Myanmar with George, where we enjoyed a Myanmar river cruise.

In the capital of Yangon (formerly Rangoon), neglected mansions with broken window panes hint at their former colonial-era glory days.

In the once-magnificent kingdom of Bagan, ox-carts thread their way around the more than 2,500 crumbling red-brick temples and pagodas, built between 1044 and 1287.

(With a little imagination, you can envision the “gilded city, alive with tinkling bells and the swishing sounds of monks’ robes” that Marco Polo once wrote of.)

On the banks of the Irrawaddy River, “sand people” sell sand up and down the muddy river.

With the recent swell in tourism and influx of development money, Burma is bound to change.

It’s a country you therefore might want to visit soon, while still relatively untouched by the outside world.

Photo credits: 2, 3 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase

About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Biswajit Mazumdar

Tuesday 31st of August 2021

A serene land of beautiful happy faces, smiling always! People of any country are what make it great, and Myanmar is a living legend.

I visited Myanmar during end September and beginning of October, 2019 for five days (in Yangon and Bagan) and the experience was heartwarming and surreal. The people are friendly and eager to help always. At all temples, even the roadside eateries, people are eager to extend free water from earthen pots and tea to all with smiles on their faces. Cleanliness is everywhere and the Lord Buddha's teachings are followed always.

My best regards to the people of Myanmar! And I would like to visit again.

Janice and George

Saturday 4th of September 2021

How nice of you to write in and share your experience with us!

Yes, we also found the people to be very warm and helpful. And we hope their political challenges are over soon so they can live as free people.

Wayne Seto

Thursday 21st of May 2015

I've heard so many good things about Myanmar. Like you wrote, it's been suggested to visit sooner than later with the influx of new tourism. Your photos are always so amazing; they really help to tell the story.


Saturday 4th of January 2014

Great photos. I traveled to Myanmar for a month in 2013 and loved it. Such an exciting time there. I would recommend as well that people go sooner rather than later, before it becomes more like other Southeast Asian countries.

Janice Mucalov

Sunday 5th of January 2014

Lucky you got to spend a month there! And yes, people should try and visit soon if they can...

Irene S. Levine

Wednesday 13th of February 2013

What incredibly beautiful pictures. I would love to visit Myanmar. Irene


Wednesday 13th of February 2013

I lived there for many years, leaving when the Japanese overran the country. You've captured the essence of Burma in these beautiful photographs depicting a kind, religious and peace-loving people. It was so sad to see the country go backwards under the military regime, and most pleased to see it come out of the dark ages. I hope your articles will inspire people to visit this exotic country to admire its beauty and uniqueness.

Janice and George

Wednesday 13th of February 2013

Wow! Such an incredible story. And thanks for your kind words. We would like to revisit Myanmar again - maybe some day that will happen (and hopefully the best of the country won't have changed too much).