Land of the Buddha - Myanmar

Myanmar -
  • Bagan Bagan
  • Inle Lake Inle Lake
  • Golden Rock Golden Rock
  • Golden Rock Local Golden Rock Local
  • Local market - Myanmar Local market - Myanmar

A Quick Glance

Destination(s) Myanmar -

Duration 2 weeks

Traveller(s) Group

Trip highlight Bagan, Inle Lake, Shwedegon Pagoda,

Travel Advisor Dawn McKiernan

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Imagine a cave with over 6000 Buddha statues, a mountain top with a golden rock precariously balancing on a strand of the Buddha’s hair, and scenery that is unique and breathtaking. With a strong Buddhist culture, smiles everywhere and a unique history. 

  • Monk at Hap An Monk at Hap An
  • Wishing bells at Golden Rock Wishing bells at Golden Rock
  • Shewdagon Pagoda Shewdagon Pagoda
  • Local children playing Local children playing
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  • The worlds largest book The worlds largest book

Next stop was Inle Lake, scenic picturesque and definitely hard to beat. The daily life in and around the lake is in abundance:  the people and the fishermen and their modes of transport and their distinctive cones shaped fishing nets are a photographers paradise. We spent a whole day on the lake and surrounding area and were astounded at the beauty and rawness of Inle.  It’s like stepping into a whole different time that you just would not find anywhere else on earth.  It’s beautiful; the people are delightful, welcoming and full of life and joy.  They invite you to into their homes and offer tea and treats just to chat. 

A quick stop in Yangon before we headed in the other direction we visited the worlds largest  Pagoda, Shewdegon.  It was a full moon this night,  so the place was filled with monks and locals there to celebrate the change of the Lunar months.  

From here we headed along the coast and then over the mountains to Hapa Ann - another gorgeous region totally different to Bagan and Inle, far removed from today’s busy world. it’s extremely cultural and has only welcomed visitors for a few years.  Hapa Ann Lodge is luxurious without being over the top, comfortable and welcoming, the food is top class, and the property is run by a French chef that spent many years working at the Stoke House here in Melbourne and his lovely wife.  The food was equally delightful as the lodge.  It was one of my favourite places on our 16 day journey.

Golden Rock is beyond comprehension.  It’s a massive rock perched high in the mountains, where the clouds were within reach.  It was a journey to get there that included a bus ride, and a ride in the back of a specially designed truck up the extremely steep mountain that took an exhilarating 45 minutes up the winding road.   Once there we were bathed in clouds as we descended the truck.  A little disappointed thinking it might rain, we continued our 20 minute walk up the top of the hill to the monastery but as we arrived at Golden Rock, the clouds parted and we got a breathtaking view of the shining rock.   It was worth the scary ride up the side of the mountain and the hike up the hill just for this view. 

 We stayed the night in the mountain top hotel and I looked out over beautiful hills and rainbows that covered the sky - it was stunning.

Finally we headed back to Yangon, and it was exciting; magnificent hotels, historic buildings, food that was beyond delicious and again the very welcoming smiles and friendly faces of the locals.   Some of the most interesting venues were tucked away in old buildings down little tiny roads, so unless you had a local guide you would never find them.  A tuk tuk progressive dinner was a great option and it was an excellent way to spend our last night in Myanmar and end our wonderful adventure. 

Myanmar certainly leaves an impression on you and I would visit again – there is so much to explore!

Myanmaris a diverse, country with so much to see and do; you just don’t know where to start!   Our journey began in Mandalay, home of the world’s largest book - The Teachings of Buddha is 1460 pages carved in stone, each page (front and back) rests inside lots of small stupas - 793 in total.  It’s worth a wander through the book, to view the golden pagoda at its centre and meet the monks who look after this holy site.

Leaving Mandalay we took a river boat to Bagan, along the way enjoying the ever changing scenery, passing tiny villages where the people waved and smiled as we cruised by.  Seeing bridges, temples, stupas, working boats and fishermen go about their day made for an interesting journey.

Arriving in Bagan, one of my favourite areas in Myanmar, the landscape is unique.  Everywhere you turn you see intricately crafted pagodas and temples of varying sizes.  We jumped on motorised push bikes for a morning of exploration through the fields stopping along the way to absorb the scenery,  Built centuries ago and now a World Heritage UNESCO site, the pagodas are colossal and you are able to climb up 4 or 5 levels of rather steep stairs for magnificent views of the pagoda dotted horizon.