Myanmar is slowly emerging as a tourist destination after years of military rule and attracting backpackers from all over the world.
Despite the increasing number of tourists, there aren’t many of the traditional hostels or dorms just yet. And prices for accommodation can be as much as $30USD for a private room. But this is changing, albeit slowly.
Guest houses are springing up in the major cities and towns, and there are already some backpacker hangouts in Yangon, offering cheap beers and cocktails. But it’s not your typical Asian country with hundreds of tourists, motorbikes blasting horns and late-night drinking spots.
Wifi is pretty much non-existent and most restaurants and bars close by 10pm. So it’s a far cry from the hedonistic party scene in Vietnam and Thailand.
It’s peaceful; slow almost. Locals dress in longyi (a sarong-like garment) and paint their faces with gold thanaka. Children shout ‘Hello, hello!’, thrilled to see foreigners and eager to practise their limited English.
Religion plays a huge part in Myanmar, with 89% of the population devout Buddhists. In Bagan alone there are over 4,000 Buddhist monuments, a sight that is best appreciated from up high (pictured).
In the more remote towns and villages, buffalo pull wooden carts and families live in basic wooden shacks. Nobody is in a rush. Buses leave late; trains sometimes never turn up; and more often than not your hotel reservation will be wrong. But that’s what makes Myanmar so unique. It’s like you’ve stepped back in time.