Hello my dear readers,
We are halfway through the week and this means that we are halfway to the weekend 😉
This week we have discovered a few benefits of beans, today let’s discover Myanmar, the second country on earth that produces dry beans after India.
Myanmar also formerly known as Burma, is a huge country in Southeast Asia, capable of giving the most diverse scenarios.
Surrounded by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand, Myanmar was one of the most remote outposts of the British Empire and thanks to its isolation it was never conquered by the Japanese during the Second World War.
To the south, Burma overlooks the Gulf of Martaban, and its population is formed by various and different ethnic groups, estimated at up to 135.
Recently, the tourism in Myanmar has developed considerably, thanks above all to the opening up of recent governments towards the rest of the world: but in the past it was not lie this, and Myanmar remained a rather isolated land from tourist destinations.
Many temples scattered in different areas, the floating gardens of Lake Inle, the majestic navigable rivers are just some of the most exciting attractions from a landscape and naturalistic point of view.
Today the area attracts adventurers, hikers and naturalists that go in search of the very rare black orchids, an endangered species.
In Myanmar can also be found two animals in danger of extinction: the takin (a goat-antelope) and the clouded leopard.
The enchanting city of Bagan, or rather the archaeological area of Bagan is perhaps the main attraction of Myanmar thanks to the legendary valley of the temples, it is said that once there were more than 13,000, Which covers an area of about 10 square kilometers. Visiting it will give you an idea of why this place was so sought after: “Imagine all the European medieval cathedrals concentrated in an area like the island of Manhattan: you will begin to get an idea of the ambitions of the kings of Bagan,” says the Lonely Planet guide.
When your eyes get enough of all those temples, you can take a trip to Mount Popa, a 1518-meter volcano not far from Bagan, which besides being a natural wonder is a very famous pilgrimage site because of numerous religious sites on its slopes. The best known is the Taung Kalat, a volcanic neck on top of which stands a monumental Buddhist monastery, the spiritual home of the 37 Nats (animist cult spirits) of Myanmar according to local tradition. Now, to reach it you should first do some minimum of athletic preparation because the monastery is at the end of a stairway of 777 steps.
Mandalay city, takes its name from the Mandalay hill, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the whole city, but of course being the main communications and transport center in Myanmar, Mandalay tends to confirm almost all the cliches about Asian cities: smog, traffic, people everywhere, scooters everywhere, people on scooters, scooters on people … you’ve got it, but the breathtaking view is all worth it even because as the local legend is saying, Buddha himself loved walking around this city.
As you may have understood by now, there is an air of spirituality here, in fact around Mandalay there are some of the most famous places of worship in the country: the Shwenandaw Kyaung monastery, the Mahamuni Pagoda and the Kuthodaw Paya, otherwise called “the largest book in the world” because of the innumerable stems engraved on its walls.
The new capital of Myanmar, Nvapidaw, was built several years ago in the most remote jungle and it’s kind of Disneyland, but decidedly excessive, with its ultra-modern buildings and the six-lane highway.
Then there is the country’s largest and romantic city of Rangoon, which is now called Yangon. Rangoon has become an entrepreneurial center, but retains its old-world colonial aura, and is home to bustling markets, many parks and lakes, and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century. Fortunately, many of the magnificent Victorian-era buildings have been renovated.
Myanmar markets are always an important part of everyday life. The Burmese are kind, helpful and have a great sense of humor. In cities like Yangon and Mandalay you can buy good antiques and modern works of art, doing good bargains.
The awesome thing is that Myanmar has a good public transport network and it is possible to travel by bus for the whole country, and almost all tourist routes provide night buses.
Myanmar is rich in white beaches such as Ngapali Beach and Ngwe Saung, which allow you to admire breathtaking sunsets.
Pindaya Caves is a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site and tourist attraction, situated on a limestone ridge in the Myelat region. There are three caves on the ridge that runs from north to south but only the southernmost one can be visited.
At Laykyun Setkyar you can see the giant Buddha statue located near the city of Monywa. With its 116 meters, it is currently the second tallest statue in the world, after Buddha Zhōngyuán in China.
Kyaiktiyo Golden Rock is the third most important Burmese pilgrimage site after Shwedagon and the Mahamuni Temple. It is a small stupa about 7 meters high and built on top of a large granite boulder.
Although much pricier than the rest of Southeast Asia, you will still find different accommodations for all budgets: bungalows, guesthouses, luxury hotel, depending on the place you want to visit.
The best time to visit Myanmar is between November and February, a cold and dry season: “cold” in a manner of speaking, because on average these months the temperatures never drop below 13°, while the maximum is around 30°.
Best to avoid the months of March – April – May – June because the temperatures can rise even up to 38°, especially in the plains near Bagan and Mandalay.
Burmese food is delicious and healthy. A delicate balance of spices and flavors, with various regional dishes and certainly worth trying in any area of the country.
Taking Myanmar’s geographical location as a reference point, the nation’s culinary traditions reflect the influence of her neighbours.
There are definitely dishes that deserve to be tasted, such as the famous Mohinga, made from round rice noodles served in a hearty, herbal-based broth, often enriched with the crunchy pith of the banana tree, a favorite breakfast dish, chicken feet salad with a Burmese homemade sauce, Burmese paratha with sweet bean paste, a unique blend of Burmease and lndian influences, tea leaf salad mixed with shredded cabbage, sliced tomatoes, nuts and peas, different kind of noodles and of course a lot of sweets but not packed with sugar, but which are getting their sweet flavors from ingredients such as grated coconut, coconut milk, rice flour, cooked sticky rice, tapioca and fruit.
Among other things, omnipresent in Myanmar and fun to visit are the tea shops.
The bars have all the drinks you want to drink, just be careful to the water, better don’t drink it, and the local beer is pretty good.
Thank you all for reading 😉 I hope you enjoyed our trip into Myanmar 😊
Join me next time and I’ll share with you one of my ways of eating beans 😋
Also if you are a hopeless traveler like me, you may enjoy my previous posts and discover little by little our magnificent world.
- Discovering our world: California, USA
- Discovering our world: Toscana, Italy
- Discovering our world: Kolkata, India
- Discovering our world: Venice, Italy
- Discovering our world: Padua, Veneto, Italy
- Discovering our world: Gansu, China
- Discovering our world: Sicily, Italy
- Discovering our world: Genoa, Italy