"A golden sun set over chin hills"
By:
Mabel Fatokun

10 Soul Stirring Things Myanmar Does To You When You Visit

Myanmar (formerly Burma)

  • 54,896,824
  • 676,578 km²
Myanmar (formerly Burma)

Not only are their amazing views and unforgettable experiences but there are also unbelievable events that will linger in your mind long after you depart. This blog covers ten of the many opportunities for learning that you would have had while visiting Myanmar, from opportunities for business to culinary skills. Curiosity-piqued travellers are drawn to Myanmar, a country known for its glistening pagodas, historic temples that recite ghost stories, and intriguing, traditional customs. There is a wealth of experiences just waiting to be explored beyond the well-known locations like Bagan and Shwedagon Pagoda. This travel schedule isn’t like any other in Southeast Asia; instead, we explore the remarkable, unanticipated, and deeply moving experiences Myanmar has to offer.

1. Witness the Enchanting Balloon Festival Over Taunggyi:

Myanmar : A yellow pigeon hot air balloon during Myanmar taunggyi balloon festival

Soar above the ethereal beauty of Inle Lake as the sun paints the sky with vibrant hues. The annual Taunggyi Balloon Festival, held in November, is a spectacle unlike any other. Witness hundreds of colourful hot air balloons, crafted from paper and bamboo by local artisans, ascend into the morning mist, transforming the landscape into a whimsical dreamscape. Engage with the local community, participate in traditional festivities, and capture memories that will linger long after the last balloon descends.

2. Myanmar: Delve into the Spiritual Heart of Mrauk U:

Mrauk U is an ancient city rich in spirituality and history, lies in the rough Rakhine Mountains. Wander through tranquil monasteries where saffron-clad monks sing prayers, explore the ruins of former kingdoms, and be in awe of hundreds of decaying temples decorated with exquisite sculptures. A chance to escape the contemporary world and re-establish a peaceful connection with a former civilization, Mrauk U provides a window into a bygone era.

3. Kayak Through the Untamed Schönheit (Inle Lake):

"A fisherman on a boat in the inle lake"

Myanmar’s second-biggest freshwater lake, Inle Lake, is a fascinating array of life. Sail a traditional wooden kayak along the emerald waters, passing by floating gardens full of colourful plants, peaceful monasteries situated on the edge of the river, and stilted towns. Experience the lake’s uncomplicated rhythm of life while observing the Intha fishermen’s distinctive leg-rowing technique, which has been passed down through the years.

4. Through the Enchanting Chin Hills:

The Chin Hills provide an intense but worthwhile walk for the daring travellers. Trek through beautiful scenery interspersed with historic communities, each with its own unique customs and culture. Discover the unique Chin people, renowned for their colourful clothing and intricate facial tattoos. Expect simple lodging and an insight into a lifestyle unaffected by contemporary influences. This walk offers a unique cultural immersion experience in addition to being a physical challenge.

5. Discover Lampi National Park’s Wild Wilds:

Joy to the lovers of nature! Biodiversity abounds in Lampi National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hike through verdant rainforests that are home to a plethora of unusual wildlife, including tigers lurking in the underbrush and shy gibbons swinging through the canopy. Travel along serene rivers that are filled with vibrant birds, and keep a watch out for endangered creatures like the Irrawaddy dolphin. A unique getaway into the heart of Myanmar’s wild interior is provided by Lampi.

6. Learn the Art of Lacquerware in Bagan:

"A woman store owner sitting in a Lacquerware shop in myanmar"

Bagan, with its sprawling plains dotted with thousands of ancient pagodas, is a must-visit for any traveler to Myanmar. But beyond the historical significance, delve into the local tradition of lacquerware. Visit a traditional workshop and witness the meticulous process of crafting exquisite lacquerware, from applying layers of tree sap to intricate designs using gold leaf and other materials. Learn about the symbolism behind the patterns and create your own piece of lacquer art to take home as a unique souvenir.

7. Attend a Traditional Puppet Show in Mandalay:

Myanmar’s cultural centre, Mandalay, provides a wide variety of experiences. Enter the enthralling realm of Burmese marionette puppetry. These expertly constructed puppets, which frequently represent legendary figures or situations from folklore, come to life in captivating performances set to traditional music. Take in the puppeteers’ amazing talent and let yourself get carried away to a lively storytelling universe.

8. Cycle Through the Ngapali Beach:

Escape the hustle and bustle and unwind on the pristine shores of Ngapali Beach. Rent a bicycle and explore the scenic coastline, stopping at charming fishing villages and soaking up the sun-drenched beauty. Try kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding in the turquoise waters for the more adventurous. Ngapali offers the perfect balance of relaxation and exploration, a chance to unwind amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

9. Take a Cooking Class and Savor Local Delights:

Myanmar boasts a unique and flavourful cuisine that tantalizes the taste buds. Embark on a culinary adventure by taking a cooking class. Learn the secrets of traditional dishes like mohinga (a hearty noodle soup), laphet thoke (a tea leaf.salad), and samusa (fried or steamed savoury pastries). Get hands-on experience with local ingredients and cooking techniques, and savour the delicious creations you’ve helped prepare. Not only will you gain a deeper appreciation for Burmese cuisine, but you’ll also walk away with newfound culinary skills to impress your friends back home.

10. Volunteer and Give Back to the Community:

For a truly transformative experience, consider volunteering in Myanmar. Many organizations work in areas like education, healthcare, and environmental conservation. Offer your time and skills to make a positive impact on local communities. Whether it’s teaching English to children in a rural village, assisting with wildlife conservation efforts, or helping to build a school, volunteering allows you to connect with the people of Myanmar on a deeper level and contribute to a more sustainable future for the country.

This list merely scratches the surface of the incredible experiences that await in Myanmar. Venture beyond the tourist trail and discover hidden gems, from serene mountain villages to vibrant festivals. Embrace the warmth and hospitality of the Burmese people, learn a few basic phrases in Burmese (even a simple “Mingalaba” – hello – goes a long way!), and be prepared to be captivated by the country’s unique charm. Myanmar is a destination that will stay with you long after you leave, a place where ancient traditions meet modern life, and where unforgettable memories are waiting to be made.

Myanmar is a land of surprises. Things may not always go according to plan, but that’s part of the adventure. Embrace the unexpected detours, the language barriers that turn into hilarious interactions, and the moments of connection that transcend words. With an open mind, a sense of adventure, and this guide as your compass, embark on your unforgettable journey to Myanmar.

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