Visiting The 2,229 Mystical Temples of Bagan, Myanmar

We spent one week this June in Myanmar, first Yangon and then Bagan. Being closed off from the rest of the world for most of the 20th century and nearly all of this century has led to many strange and wonderful cultural differences in Myanmar. It also means that, compared to almost every other beautiful spot in the world—from Paris to Chiang Mai—it’s relatively untouched by tourism. Relatively free from the cheap souvenir shops lining the streets of most other major cities (though there are plenty of locals outside of temples hawking clothes and postcards), free from the “adventure tourism” traps we saw in other places like Thailand. ... [Read More]

8 Ways Myanmar Is As Strange (& Wonderful) As You Imagine

For nearly 50 years, Myanmar (once known as Burma) was under a brutal, isolationist, socialist military dictatorship cut off from all outside contact. Although Myanmar held its first democratic elections in 2011, and trade opened up with Europe at that time, the U.S. to this day maintains a number of restrictions. When we visited in May, we were unable to withdraw local money from our HSBC accounts or use our debit/credit cards AT ALL. Just picture that: No plastic, anywhere, for a week. Definitely a first for my husband and me. Indeed, a country isolated from the rest of the world, including American imperialism, for most of the 20th and ... [Read More]