Myanmar just opened its borders a few years ago for tourists and with that people around the world can visit this country, which is somehow like out of this world. And in the end, it has everything that it needs to make up a perfect travel destination.
Located in Southeast Asia, it has all the typical features like motorbikes everywhere, good food, and friendly people. However, there is something different about this country; many things are so far behind and so underdeveloped that it is beautiful again and makes up the travel experience. While traveling in Myanmar, you get the feeling you went back in time 30 years, in other places, even 100 years. The country and its people are amiable but also still very traditional. Temples are all over the country, and people are very religious. Different then neighboring Thailand parties and prostitution are very rare.
Taking the train in Myanmar is an adventure itself. Super slow, shaky, no windows and no doors can be found on the train. These trains are ancient, and the tracks are probably even older. On my trekking tour from Kalaw to Inle lake we also walked over the train treks. Our guide told us it wouldn’t be dangerous as the train is to slow to surprise us. Some people are fascinated to take the train as the landscapes supposed to be amazing. I, however, always took busses to travel as they are kind of comfortable and way faster. I only took one train in Yangon which goes around the city to visit the city.
Cities – chaotic but underdeveloped
The two main cities are Yangon and Mandalay, these are actually pretty big cities but very underdeveloped. Electricity in Mandalay is very unstable and goes down several times an hour, especially in the evening. Roads are in good condition, but the cars driving on them are all ancient, and you think they fall apart at any moment. The cities don’t have any high-rise buildings like most of the other Asian cities, and modern shopping malls are extremely rare.
Everything is different
One hilarious thing I noticed while traveling in Myanmar is the strange differences from the rest of the world. I give you an example: The cars drive on the right side of the Street in Yangon, but the driver also sits on the right side. As far as I heard is this because of a decision of the government to be different from the neighboring countries (Like Thailand, where people drive on the left). The problem was that most cars came from Japan and had the wheel on the right side. Another example is that the speed limit in Mandalay is 48 Km/h – that’s so random, and the only explanation for that is that they wanted to be different than the rest of the world. In the end, it doesn’t change something it is just funny to notice, and it fits in the category of many things you don’t have to understand in Asia.
In General, Myanmar is a lovely country to visit, and regarding the meager prices, it won’t break your bank. The country is very underdeveloped, but that’s part of the charm of the country. I advise you not always to take the cheapest option and rater go for the best option. The difference in the price is minimal, but it makes a huge difference in comfort, that’s true for hostels and especially for buses.
- Total countries I visited until now: 38
- Planes: 20
- Busses: 48
- Trains: 19
- Boats: 24
- Km driving: 8000
- Km running: 2850