Travelling in Burma, Between Dream and Reality

“You will return to Mandalay “sang Rudyard Kipling, after succumbing to the charms of Burma. At the crossroads of several civilizations, this country’s unique magic continues to bewitch travellers. Renamed Myanmar by the junta, the country has experienced recent signs of openness in the last years and the country awaits its visitors to discover its charm and experience the hospitality of its residents.

backpacking in bagan

 

When you decide to travel to Burma, why not make your trip a little easier by booking airport parking, especially if you need to save some money. Fortunately, parking at Stansted airport is available at great rates, offering park and ride, for a great money saver, or meet and greet for an incredibly straightforward car parking procedure. Otherwise, have a look at Heathrow parking in London, for one less thing to worry about before your trip.

“This is Burma, a country that will be unlike any you know “, wrote Kipling after he fell under the spell of Burma. From sunrise to sunset, the days are punctuated by chants that rise in the monasteries. Most Burmese are dressed in traditional longyis with plaid patterns for men and floral for women. A country that lives by its ancient traditions, Burma is also a cultural mosaic with plenty of influences from India, China, Thailand, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Eight nationalities make up some 51 million inhabitants of the country. This multi-ethnic richness is accompanied by extraordinary geographic diversity: a coastal paradise in the south, the northern mountain peaks, which border the Himalayas, lush rainforests and savannah desert; you can find almost every form of relief in Burma. However, when organizing your trip, take into account the fact that some areas of the country are forbidden to foreigners.

Shewdagan Pagoda in Yangon

The former royal capital, Yangon had to give up its title in 2005, on the advice of astrologers! The administrative centre was moved to Naypyidaw, a ghost city built in the middle of a no man’s land. Nevertheless, Yangon remains the undisputed capital of Burma in the hearts of people. This popularity can be explained by the fact that it is the seat of the Shwedagon Paya, one of the most beautiful monuments in South East Asia, with its huge gold stupa and brilliant colours. Buddhist pilgrims flock from everywhere to see this legendary pagoda. Prayers and rituals succeed in an atmosphere of constant procession. The show is impressive and an admission fee of $ 5 is required by the government.

Another city that one should not miss on an escape to Burma is Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon state, crossed by the Salween River and dominated by lush hills. This is a sleepy seaside town, quaint but incredibly welcoming. Despite its 300,000 inhabitants, it feels like a village. With its pagodas painted in the traditional colours of the Mon state, this pearl of the Far East, emits a gentle melancholy. A walk on the hill of the Pagodas leaves an unforgettable memory of the magnificence of the buildings and the beauty of the panorama. This is the place where George Orwell lived for several years, a time when he wrote his famous “History of Burma”