Myanmar is a land of golden pagodas in which rivers, paddy fields and Buddhism dominate the lives of this country’s people, who are made up of a variety of ethnic groups. But behind the bamboo curtain is a sleepy fairy tale land.
Yangon is a river city and the capital of Myanmar. It is surrounded by India, China, Laos and Thailand. Few cities in Asia boast such a fascinating mêlée of tribes and cultures. It is a tranquil harmony of churches, pagodas, Hindu temples and mosques. The Chauk-htat-gyi Buddha Temple contains one of the largest reclining Buddha statues in the world. Its length makes up for its lack of artistry as it is 70 meters long!
The Shan State Express is a sonorous name for a unique train that travels to the north of Myanmar and to the legendary kingdom of the Shan. The railroad travels in a zig-zag up the mountains, which enables it to negotiate severe slopes that would otherwise be impossible for it to climb vertically. It provides a fascinating insight into the culture and everyday life of the Shan people.
The city of Pyin U Lwin, that is also known as Meymo, was once a British military base. Even today, the city still has a certain air of nostalgia and passengers are offered various refreshments, as the train journey normally takes more than twelve hours.
Ox carts transport visitors to one of the most interesting buildings in Mingun, the Mingun Pagoda. It was designed to be the world’s largest pagoda. A huge numbers of workers built this 72 meter wide and 50 meter high building.
Bagan is the country’s ancient capital city. Prior to visiting the largest area of Buddhist ruins in the world, visitors can enjoy both traditional puppet shows and dance. Classical myth and legend make up this theatrical treat of which each puppeteer is responsible for up to 60 strings.
Any journey through Myanmar is a journey into the past and to a hidden world of dreams and mystique. This gateway to paradise is slowly opening up and revealing a splendid land of bygone times!