Unfortunately, since my phone died upon returning to San Francisco, I lost all of my photos from my trip 🙁 A few people that I was traveling with for the work trip graciously shared some photos with me, so I have a few to share!
Myanmar was a fantastic experience. Since the country has been closed to outsiders for so long, we were all unsure what it would be like. Since we were only traveling to the capital, Yangon, and the surrounding area, we were able to see all of the construction that is now happening, as they gear themselves up to be a more modern society. While there was lots of construction, it was also genuinely nice to see a slower pace of life. Living a simple life, with less “things” to worry about was so refreshing.
We were visiting a few international schools in and around the city, and had a wonderful guide, Thida, to translate, give us a tour while we were on the bus (and trust me, everyone was staring. It’s hard to disguise a gigantic coach bus holding 28 Americans on the streets of Yangon with the bicycles, pushcarts and open-faced smaller busses). I would like to give mad props to our bus driver – I would have been having an anxiety attack the ENTIRE time. Since it’s still developing, the streets aren’t great, are super narrow at some points, and when we traveled to one of the schools, we had to go through a more rural neighborhood to get to a major road, and there was negative room for error on his part, trying to turn down these dirt/clay roads. We drove by people just going about their daily lives, small metal shacks that were fix-it shops or repair shops, some that doubled as homes and some as cafes. One of the things I thought was the coolest? There were always people out and about at all times of the day and night. There were these pop-up “restaurants” where they’d set up a burner and cook food right there on the street, and for furniture, they had those little plastic kids table and chairs that we used to sit in and use when we were little (do you remember the ones that had the cartoon character stickers on the back?)
Overall, the city was great, the people were so incredibly nice and the food was good (though I probably still wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Burmese curry and Thai curry). Now onto the photos!
If you ever go to Yangon (or any city near Yangon) make sure you take the time to go up to the Shwedagon Pagoda. Go at sunrise (less people) and sunset to see the amazing transformation above.
We had a great time in Yangon (and even enjoyed the shopping!). It’s another place where if you’re buying stuff from the streets or any markets, you negotiate the price. It kind of feels weird as an American to do so, since there aren’t many places here where you can negotiate the price, but over there, they look forward to it! Like in Thailand, I think if you just agree to their first price (which is often still super reasonable based on the currency exchange), they are bummed. A lot of the handmade stuff you can compare to what you’d find at Pier One or Cost Plus World Market or some place like that where they are ridiculously overpriced. I bought a beautiful tapestry for $18 that would have easily cost be $50+ here in the states.