Madness in Myanmar

This is such a delayed post. Mainly due to the fact that after my last SE Asia trip, I had finals to worry about so I was studying away (also brunching away with friends!) And right after finals, my parents came to visit me for a few days in Singapore before they painstakingly helped me clean out my dorm room at NTU. I’ve been home for a little over a week now and it’s just been a constant shuffle between New York City, Philadelphia, and my hometown. I’ve been consumed with catching up with friends and adjusting to the new marketing internship at Yumi Kim. Nonetheless, I thought it was about time I posted about my last trip before I forget.

Here are the places that I stayed at: 

Little Yangon 

This was a cute little hostel that was located right in the center of Yangon. It was in a narrow alleyway that was filled with small businesses such as bakeries, convenience stores, and restaurants. The rooms were quite nice and the staff was extremely helpful. Breakfast every morning consisted of eggs, coffee, toast, bananas, and more! When we went, it was the beginning of the new year so it was filled with people our age who were constantly looking for the next event to go to. It was an easy way to figure out what we could do that day. That’s how we found out about the music festival that we ended up going to!

Ostello Bello Nyaung Shwe 

By far the best hostel I’ve ever been in. It was insanely nice with the decor and it was clean as well. We had a bathroom within our room that was shared among four people. They had books and binders full of places nearby such as spas, ATMs, and wineries. They had events every night and a rooftop bar as well (hello Happy Hour!). This was located near Lake Inle so it was quiet and there wasn’t much a night life which I didn’t mind because the hostel made sure to keep the night going with games and what not. I met lots of people there from all over and it was incredibly fun. I wish I had stayed there longer.

Shwe Nadi Guest House (Bagan) 

This was a bit different from the other hostels I stayed at. It was a guest house after all so it was placed right near an extremely busy road. The bathrooms were outside which weren’t so great when it was freezing and raining but definitely manageable. They had e-bikes that they allowed us to rent for only 10 kyats a day! That was the best part of it.

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Here is what I did:

Thingyang Music Festival in Yangon

This was a pretty nice experience. I’ve been to handfuls of music festivals before but have never gone to an EDM one. We heard about this through people from our first hostel and decided to go since everything else in the city was closed due to the new year. It was fun but I wish there were more people that could have came! Water was sprayed everywhere of course so that was something I’ve REALLY never experienced before. The food was decent but later on it rained so we didn’t end up staying for the evening show at the major stage.

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Temples, Temples, and Temples (With a hint of Payas) 

Myanmar is definitely known for having a large amount of temples and payas. In Bangan, that’s all I really did. I e-biked around the place for the two days I was there and managed to see more places than I ever imagined. I recommend doing some research on those places before going so you have a bit of background knowledge of what you’re looking at. It was certainly overwhelming going inside of them and seeing the secret passages that would be held inside. Some led up to the room which overlooked Bagan. My favorite of course was the famous Shwedagon Paya (Pyramid of Gold). It was enormous and a day would not have been enough to explore it all.

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Made Friends

I met a couple of nice boys while I was touring one of the temples. They were eager to follow us and show us around the temple while their mom was nearby selling Myanmar gifts to tourists. Their english was incredible and they were so eager to learn about America. They asked about iPhones, Justin Bieber, pizza, and more. I took a polaroid of them both and later on gave each of them a copy so they could remember it. I forget the ages of them (they were around 7-10 years old) but I knew that one of them wanted to be a tour guide in the future. They were so adorable and I’m glad I got to learn about them as well.

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Saw Kayan People in Lake Inle 

These women came from Thailand, if I’m not wrong, but have migrated over to Myanmar due to the rise in tourism. They originated from Myanmar but moved to Thailand fled on. These groups of individuals wear brass coils around their necks and some have them around their knees as well. They start as early as five years old and keep increasing the amount of coils around their necks as they age. The reasoning for this mainly is due to cultural identity. Them wearing brass coils around their necks is equivalent to American teenage girls wearing chokers. It’s strange that I got to see them on my tour because my grandma back home always mentioned them and always showed me documentaries about them. She was so intrigued by their lifestyle and then I was given the opportunity to see them and meet them. The younger one spoke incredible English and was able to answer questions that we had regarding her life.

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