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)
For now, it is a landscape that time and modern civilization has forgotten. A place for Myanmar monks… and memories.
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.
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 and 3 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase