In February 2014, I headed the American Women’s Association Foreign Tour to Myanmar with 11 lovely ladies. Our trip to Myanmar with a 7 day itinerary was packed with visits to temples and various activities. First stop was Yangon, the country’s largest city and formerly the capital. Also known as Rangoon, the city has a population of over 5 million.
In Myanmar, “shwe” means gold and you don’t have to be here long to see that the country really lives upto its name as the “Golden Land”. Myanmar is dotted with pagodas and stupas that are sure to take your breath away. You can’t visit Myanmar without going to the most sacred religious site, the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. It measures 99 metres high and can be seen from miles away.
Tour of Bagan
After visiting the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon I was wondering if anything could top that in Myanmar. It didn’t take long to find out, with our next stop at Bagan. This archeological site is literally flooded with stunning temples to visit. There are over 4,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins all dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. What made it so remarkable was that there was always a temple in viewing distance. We were able to take in the beautiful sites by horse-drawn carriages and a hot air balloon ride
The amazing Inle Lake
Our final stop was Inle Lake. Located in the western Shan State, it is famous for its floating villages, gardens and markets and the unique way of life of the local Intha people. It feels like an entirely different world when we reach the jetty to board our boat to the hotel. In villages and towns across the lake, wooden houses are built high on stilts. It was amazing to see the communities functioning entirely on water. From the iconic leg rowing fishermen to the beautiful floating gardens – it all felt surreal. The fishermen manage to balance on one leg on the bow of the boat with the paddle wrapped on the other leg while handling a net….they make it look so easy!
All in all it was an amazing trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat! Shanti Travel creates tailor made trips to Burma. http://www.shantitravel.com/en/burma/