Going from the north of Tibet to the south east of Myanmar, with one of its branches feeding the Yangon region, the Irrawaddy River plays a more than important role in economic and social life, as well as in an environmental framework. The Burmese people feed from it, they see their dreams quiver on its wasters, they sometimes suffer because of it but they live from it.
Myanmar's cuisine is perhaps less sophisticated than that of its neighbours but it is full of flavour and more consistent. You need to find the place where the locals eat - on the street - to admire the variety of meals made with rice and 5-10 sides. Feasts are savoured tepid in Myanmar so you need to come with a large appetite!
Mandalay and Bagan. Two names which will quickly be written in travel guides as two spiritual and historic destinations in the amazing and welcoming Burma. Two names that you must write on your list of places to visit in this country.
After years of being ruled by the iron hand of a military junta, Burma has now opened up to democracy and become a fashionable Asian travel destination. But to practice responsible tourism, you still need to be careful not to feed the military junta's economy but instead ensure that the money you spend in the country goes directly into the pockets of local people.
Môn and Kayin, States and neighbouring peoples in the south-east of Burma. Te anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss said, "the majority of customs of people is always marked by a style" and these two ethnic groups have in effect a style which separates them from other people in a way that is more severe than geographical frontiers. The Môn and the Kayins have their own Identity.
Nat Ma Taung, which is also called Mount Victoria, is the highest point of the Chin Hills and also the highest point in Chin State. It is more than 3,000 m high, which makes its one of the highest in south-east Asia.
When you talk about Burma (nowadays also called Myanmar), people immediately think about Buddhist monks, a multitude of pagodas with golden roofs, unequalled cultural riches or luxuriant forests. They usually forget that the country has coasts along a large part of its borders and is a seaside destination that hasn't yet been discovered by mass tourism.
Yangon is a town of contrasts reflected in its districts and its places of worship: pagodas, mosques, Anglican, apostolic, catholic churches, Hindu temples and a synagogue, coexisting in the same urban landscape, sometimes on the same pavement. Therefore, Yangon is a good start to perceive Myanmar's cultural mix, you only have to open the door.
The trek fills your trip with adventure but also enables you to come into contact with the country's nature and culture. This is the perfect opportunity to see a Myanmar far from urban rhythm and to reflect upon the impact of tourist activity and opening up the country on Burmese people, and upon the interest in travelling responsibly.
Losing yourself in the splendid natural environment of Hpa-An has become a must-see during a visit to Burma. There are also numerous places of worship to discover in the four corners of this region. In my opinion, the best way to explore these two aspects is to hire a motorbike and go on an adventure!