Asia, Myanmar

Bagan and Mandalay

Asia Myanmar

Since I was a child, I always used to look at pictures of places from far away lands. It was my dream to travel and have adventure, and see things I’ve never seen before.  Later in life, I moved to Asia, which was amazing. As I grew more comfortable in countries that the western world is more familiar with, like Korea, and Japan, I started to crave something a little more different.

At that time, Myanmar had just started to open up to tourism. I set my sights on going there. After two years, I finally went. I met up with two friends and we set out for Mandalay, flying first through Bangkok. Arriving in Myanmar, we made a beeline for Bagan. The beautiful temples and authenticity of the people and culture amazed us. Most of Myanmar has been relatively untouched by tourism so you can see the traditions and customs of the local people.

We spent several days in Bagan exploring the vast amounts of temples and connecting with the local people. One of the most amazing things was seeing the sunset and sun rise over the temples each day. My friends and I were astounded by the beauty of the glowing sun slowly descending over the tops of the temples. It is probably one of the most beautiful sights I have ever witnessed. I have travelled to several countries and I have yet to see a sunset so captivating.  It amazing to see a culture that has totally kept their traditions in tact, despite globalization.

When you see the temples, and the way the sun casts down on them, you feel like you have entered a whole new world. One that is so beautiful and so far away from everything you’ve ever known. It’s like a dream. You see the monks walking around, and meditating. It’s all very surreal and peaceful. It’s almost tranquilizing.

After a few days in Bagan, we returned to Mandalay and experienced an awesome cooking class and tour of Mandalay. Our host, ‘Nan’ was so friendly and warm, she hooked us up with so many activities. We fell in love with her and her beautiful country. As we were leaving to go back to Seoul, South Korea, we agreed that we would be back to Myanmar. We just can’t forget the magic of this country and we need to experience more of it.

Contributed by Aimee Gamble