Once upon a time in Myanmar (Burma)

3 weeks wandering around Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake, Hsipaw and Pyin Oo Lwin.



The best (and economic) way to move around Yangon - and in general in the cities all around the country - is using a taxi as the public buses are always overcrowded and quite uncomfortable.

The best (and economic) way to move around Yangon – and in general in the cities all around the country – is using a taxi as the public buses are always overcrowded and quite uncomfortable.

Yangon.

A monk reads while waiting for the circular train in Yangon.

Once upon a time in Myanmar

Pigeons in the streets of Yangon.

One of the best way to get in contact with the lively and colorful life of the local people of Yangon is riding on the slowly traveling Circular Train for a journey to the outskirts of town. The train runs for three hours, from the enigmatic Yangon Central Station to the outskirts of the city and vice versa. On its way the old collects the life of the city: men and women carrying betel leaves, vegetables, babies, pastries and even notebooks and pencils. An endless parade of beauty and quiet intensity flowing over the old ways while through the open windows enter the green branches of the unbeatable vegetation of this country, as its genuine backbone. The old seats, dark wood floors and rattling train will let us to travel back in time. Or stop in a circle. And all for 3 dollars.

One of the best way to get in contact with the lively and colorful life of the local people of Yangon is riding on the slowly traveling Circular Train for a journey to the outskirts of town. The train runs for three hours, from the enigmatic Yangon Central Station to the outskirts of the city and vice versa. On its way the old collects the life of the city: men and women carrying betel leaves, vegetables, babies, pastries and even notebooks and pencils. An endless parade of beauty and quiet intensity flowing over the old ways while through the open windows enter the green branches of the unbeatable vegetation of this country, as its genuine backbone. The old seats, dark wood floors and rattling train will let us to travel back in time. Or stop in a circle. And all for 3 dollars.

One of the best way to get in contact with the lively and colorful life of the local people of Yangon is riding on the slowly traveling Circular Train for a journey to the outskirts of town. The train runs for three hours, from the enigmatic Yangon Central Station to the outskirts of the city and vice versa. On its way the old collects the life of the city: men and women carrying betel leaves, vegetables, babies, pastries and even notebooks and pencils. An endless parade of beauty and quiet intensity flowing over the old ways while through the open windows enter the green branches of the unbeatable vegetation of this country, as its genuine backbone. The old seats, dark wood floors and rattling train will let us to travel back in time. Or stop in a circle. And all for 3 dollars.

A family travelling on the circular train of Yangon.

One of the best way to get in contact with the lively and colorful life of the local people of Yangon is riding on the slowly traveling Circular Train for a journey to the outskirts of town. The train runs for three hours, from the enigmatic Yangon Central Station to the outskirts of the city and vice versa. On its way the old collects the life of the city: men and women carrying betel leaves, vegetables, babies, pastries and even notebooks and pencils. An endless parade of beauty and quiet intensity flowing over the old ways while through the open windows enter the green branches of the unbeatable vegetation of this country, as its genuine backbone. The old seats, dark wood floors and rattling train will let us to travel back in time. Or stop in a circle. And all for 3 dollars.

Yangon’s train station.

Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. The majority of the population is of Bamar (Burman) descent but large communities of Indians/South Asians and the Chinese still exist especially in the traditional downtown neighborhoods nearby Sule Pagoda.

Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. The majority of the population is of Bamar (Burman) descent but large communities of Indians/South Asians and the Chinese still exist especially in the traditional downtown neighborhoods nearby Sule Pagoda.

Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. The majority of the population is of Bamar (Burman) descent but large communities of Indians/South Asians and the Chinese still exist especially in the traditional downtown neighborhoods nearby Sule Pagoda.

Waiting for the ferry to cross the Yangon river.

Yangon river is navigable and plays a critical role in the economy of Myanmar.

Yangon river is navigable and plays a critical role in the economy of Myanmar.

Yangon river is navigable and plays a critical role in the economy of Myanmar.

A monk reads the newspaper on the ferry crossing the Yangon river.

Reflections in the streets of Yangon.

Reflections in the streets of Yangon.

Shwedagon Pagoda is the most famous and important monument in Yangon and maybe in the whole country. An overwhelmingly beautiful place with a magical atmosphere even during a rain storm. No one is prepared for the beauty of this immense pagoda, a beauty that adapts to changing light with a dazzling delicacy. The walks in circles of monks and their soft songs, the meditations under the great bell and the thousands of stories that keep its many compartments suggest a big heart-shaped box, never known at all. A place to spend hours with no time. A place for encounter, silence and words. A place to return.

Shwedagon Pagoda is the most famous and important monument in Yangon and maybe in the whole country. An overwhelmingly beautiful place with a magical atmosphere even during a rain storm. No one is prepared for the beauty of this immense pagoda, a beauty that adapts to changing light with a dazzling delicacy. The walks in circles of monks and their soft songs, the meditations under the great bell and the thousands of stories that keep its many compartments suggest a big heart-shaped box, never known at all. A place to spend hours with no time. A place for encounter, silence and words. A place to return.

Once upon a time in Myanmar

A monk runs in a pagoda at the bottom of the Mandalay Hill.

Myanmar, Burma, Mandalay, standing Buddha image on Mandalay Hill

Myanmar, Burma, Mandalay, standing Buddha image on Mandalay Hill

Once upon a time in Myanmar

Mandalay has one of the highest concentrations of temples and monasteries in the world. Inside, the young monks takes memorizing of Buddha ́s words. The sacred book of Buddism is called the Tipitka, a very large book. It is written in an ancient Indian language called Pali wich is very close to the language that the Buddha himself spoke. The monks, in constant learning, must memorize its contents and other books that contain the fundamental and extensive discourses and teachings of Buddha, so they study for hours and recite their learning to master monks, beginning a system of questing of ideas that promote the real and vital internalization of this ancient wisdom.

Mandalay has one of the highest concentrations of temples and monasteries in the world. Inside, the young monks takes memorizing of Buddha ́s words. The sacred book of Buddism is called the Tipitka, a very large book. It is written in an ancient Indian language called Pali wich is very close to the language that the Buddha himself spoke. The monks, in constant learning, must memorize its contents and other books that contain the fundamental and extensive discourses and teachings of Buddha, so they study for hours and recite their learning to master monks, beginning a system of questing of ideas that promote the real and vital internalization of this ancient wisdom.

Mandalay has one of the highest concentrations of temples and monasteries in the world. Inside, the young monks takes memorizing of Buddha ́s words. The sacred book of Buddism is called the Tipitka, a very large book. It is written in an ancient Indian language called Pali wich is very close to the language that the Buddha himself spoke. The monks, in constant learning, must memorize its contents and other books that contain the fundamental and extensive discourses and teachings of Buddha, so they study for hours and recite their learning to master monks, beginning a system of questing of ideas that promote the real and vital internalization of this ancient wisdom.

Mandalay has one of the highest concentrations of temples and monasteries in the world. Inside, the young monks takes memorizing of Buddha ́s words. The sacred book of Buddism is called the Tipitka, a very large book. It is written in an ancient Indian language called Pali wich is very close to the language that the Buddha himself spoke. The monks, in constant learning, must memorize its contents and other books that contain the fundamental and extensive discourses and teachings of Buddha, so they study for hours and recite their learning to master monks, beginning a system of questing of ideas that promote the real and vital internalization of this ancient wisdom.

Once upon a time in Myanmar

Waiting for the train to Hsipaw in the station of Pyin Oo Lwin, the former British-era summer capital. The journey takes about 8 hours, but it's for sure one of the best travel experience in Myanmar.

Waiting for the train to Hsipaw in the station of Pyin Oo Lwin, the former British-era summer capital. The journey takes about 8 hours, but it’s for sure one of the best travel experience in Myanmar.

The train from Mandalay to Hsipaw is used everyday by locals to sell their products from towns to towns and represents an incredible opportunity for the tourists to get in touch with the real life of the people of Myanmar.

The train from Mandalay to Hsipaw is used everyday by locals to sell their products from towns to towns and represents an incredible opportunity for the tourists to get in touch with the real life of the people of Myanmar.

The train from Mandalay to Hsipaw is used everyday by locals to sell their products from towns to towns and represents an incredible opportunity for the tourists to get in touch with the real life of the people of Myanmar.

The train from Mandalay to Hsipaw is used everyday by locals to sell their products from towns to towns and represents an incredible opportunity for the tourists to get in touch with the real life of the people of Myanmar.

On the train to Hspaw

On the train to Hspaw

Hsipaw

Hsipaw

Little Bagan (Hsipaw)

Little Bagan (Hsipaw)

Little Bagan (Hsipaw)

Little Bagan (Hsipaw)

Little Bagan (Hsipaw)

Little Bagan (Hsipaw)

Sunset over Hsipaw

Sunset over Hsipaw

U Bein Bridge - Amarapura

U Bein Bridge – Amarapura

Women and men fishing under the famous Ubein's bridge in Amarapura or sell pineapple and crabs over its wooden planks to all locals and visitors who come every evening to say goodbye the day, coming across this Centennial bridge. Monks under maroon umbrellas, children on bicycles, young couples handing hands, soaked in the rain ... All of them let the sun disappear on the Surface of the Taung Thaman lake, between the monasteries and pagodas that dot the hill and the watchful eye of Buddha, waiting in the other side.

Women and men fishing under the famous Ubein’s bridge in Amarapura or sell pineapple and crabs over its wooden planks to all locals and visitors who come every evening to say goodbye the day, coming across
this Centennial bridge. Monks under maroon umbrellas, children on bicycles, young couples handing hands, soaked in the rain … All of them let the sun disappear on the Surface of the Taung Thaman lake, between the monasteries and pagodas that dot the hill and the watchful eye of Buddha, waiting in the other side.

U Bein Bridge - Amarapura

U Bein Bridge – Amarapura

U Bein Bridge - Amarapura

U Bein Bridge – Amarapura

U Bein Bridge - Amarapura

U Bein Bridge – Amarapura

Mandalay's bus station.

Mandalay’s bus station.

Mandalay's bus station.

Mandalay’s bus station.

Bagan

Bagan

Sun rises over the temples of Bagan (with the giant “Dhamma Yan Gyi Patho” in the foreground) from the “North Guni Temple”, an amazing reward for me, as a photographer, after several hours of waiting.

Sun rises over the temples of Bagan (with the giant “Dhamma Yan Gyi Patho” in the foreground) from the “North Guni Temple”, an amazing reward for me, as a photographer, after several hours of waiting.

Once upon a time in Myanmar

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

A local Shan Taungyo refreshes his cow with water.

A local Shan Taungyo refreshes his cow with water.

Although the Inle lake is not large, it contains a number of endemic species that are found nowhere else in the world. Local fishermen are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar.

Although the Inle lake is not large, it contains a number of endemic species that are found nowhere else in the world. Local fishermen are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar.

Shan Taungyo Villager in traditional clothes selling woods in the local market of the small town of Thaung Tho (in the south of Inle Lake).

Shan Taungyo Villager in traditional clothes selling woods in the local market of the small town of Thaung Tho (in the south of Inle Lake).

Once upon a time in Myanmar

Once upon a time in Myanmar

Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung Monastery is located just a few kilometers outside Shwe Nyaung, the main touristic city in the Inle Lake's region.The temple, built entirely of teak, provides education to a large number of very young monks and is famous for its oval windows.

Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung Monastery is located just a few kilometers outside Shwe Nyaung, the main touristic city in the Inle Lake’s region.The temple, built entirely of teak, provides education to a large number of very young monks and is famous for its oval windows.

Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung Monastery is located just a few kilometers outside Shwe Nyaung, the main touristic city in the Inle Lake's region.The temple, built entirely of teak, provides education to a large number of very young monks and is famous for its oval windows.

Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung Monastery is located just a few kilometers outside Shwe Nyaung, the main touristic city in the Inle Lake’s region.The temple, built entirely of teak, provides education to a large number of very young monks and is famous for its oval windows.

A young kids wearing the typical “longyi” (a sort of male skirt) in the streets of Yangon.

A young kids wearing the typical “longyi” (a sort of male skirt) in the streets of Yangon.

Several times a month the “Theinbyu Sports Hall” in Yangon hosts matches of "Lethwei", the burmese boxe (entry fees from 5 USD). Dates to at least the 11th century, was used by Burmese monks to defend themselves and by warriors to protect the king. It is now a way for young men from Myanmar’s impoverished countryside to fight their way to a better life.

Several times a month the “Theinbyu Sports Hall” in Yangon hosts matches of “Lethwei”, the burmese boxe (entry fees from 5 USD). Dates to at least the 11th century, was used by Burmese monks to defend themselves and by warriors to protect the king. It is now a way for young men from Myanmar’s impoverished countryside to fight their way to a better life.

Once upon a time in Myanmar

Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. The majority of the population is of Bamar (Burman) descent but large communities of Indians/South Asians and the Chinese still exist especially in the traditional downtown neighborhoods nearby Sule Pagoda.

Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. The majority of the population is of Bamar (Burman) descent but large communities of Indians/South Asians and the Chinese still exist especially in the traditional downtown neighborhoods nearby Sule Pagoda.

Yangon.

Yangon.

Yangon.

Yangon.

Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. The majority of the population is of Bamar (Burman) descent but large communities of Indians/South Asians and the Chinese still exist especially in the traditional downtown neighborhoods nearby Sule Pagoda.

Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. The majority of the population is of Bamar (Burman) descent but large communities of Indians/South Asians and the Chinese still exist especially in the traditional downtown neighborhoods nearby Sule Pagoda.

In the center of Yangon, close to Sule Pagoda, it is possible to find televisions around the streets throng which a small and enthusiastic crowd chewing betel and watching the football games (especially the English Premiere League) with great attention and always in good company.

In the center of Yangon, close to Sule Pagoda, it is possible to find televisions around the streets throng which a small and enthusiastic crowd chewing betel and watching the football games (especially the English Premiere League) with great attention and always in good company.

Shwedagon Pagoda is the most famous and important monument in Yangon and maybe in the whole country. An overwhelmingly beautiful place with a magical atmosphere even during a rain storm. No one is prepared for the beauty of this immense pagoda, a beauty that adapts to changing light with a dazzling delicacy. The walks in circles of monks and their soft songs, the meditations under the great bell and the thousands of stories that keep its many compartments suggest a big heart-shaped box, never known at all. A place to spend hours with no time. A place for encounter, silence and words. A place to return.

Shwedagon Pagoda is the most famous and important monument in Yangon and maybe in the whole country. An overwhelmingly beautiful place with a magical atmosphere even during a rain storm. No one is prepared for the beauty of this immense pagoda, a beauty that adapts to changing light with a dazzling delicacy. The walks in circles of monks and their soft songs, the meditations under the great bell and the thousands of stories that keep its many compartments suggest a big heart-shaped box, never known at all. A place to spend hours with no time. A place for encounter, silence and words. A place to return.