With Myanmar having been on the bucket list for the past few years and minimal info available about bike packing it is fair to say we were going into unfamiliar territory…….yet again.
What we didn’t expect was to be warmly welcomed by the friendliest and most generous people we have ever encountered.
The Burmese are incredibly clever carrying their goods on their heads from selling food to carrying belongings. Then yesterday we saw a woman with a bird cage containing 30+ birds on her head.
After getting our head around men wearing skirts, we realised that the skirt wasn’t that impractical after all. The “longyi” is in fact a very versatile piece of clothing. They tuck their mobile phone in the back of it and in the front knot store scooter keys and money and as I’m writing this looking out the cafe window a man has just walked past with an umbrella hooked to the back. No manbag required. The loo obviously a little more problematic but they all seem happy squatting for a pee, anywhere and everywhere. They are actually very kiwi with jandals being the stock standard worn by everyone and go nicely with the skirt and we often cycled past a lonesome jandal on highways fallen off while on scooters. The longyi can be dressed up or down with a dress shirt, tee or singlet and after a few beers at the beer station the longyi wearer is often shirtless.
Speaking of beer stations. Wow they really do enjoy a cold one on a hot day. The beer stations are busy anytime of the day and whisky is ordered like a beer by the glass, hip flask or 750ml. Being cheaper than beer it ranged in price from NZ$1.6-5 for up to 750ml. We sampled a few local rough whiskys however tomorrow (as we arrive back in Thailand) are going to have to tell our dear friend Leo that Myanmar Beer is a winner for us.
Unfortunately though the Burmese are then happy to hop on their scooters half chopped and we did witness one bad scooter crash with a guy pissed.
We have survived the greasy diet of fried rice, fried noodle, deep fried bread sticks, samosas and coconut donuts. Alongside the breakfast staple of fried rice, oily eggs, sweet white toast with orange margarine and sickly sweet jam and Nescafe ready made coffee sachets. Surprisingly haven’t been sick once!!!
We have loved the tea house culture of drinking endless cups of tea, tasting even more special having been to the villages in Kalaw where it is grown.
The breathtaking scenery the sights we have seen, the waves and Malingabas (Hello) being called out, village kids running to wave at us has left us with incredible memories. For a country that has been and continues to go through many troubles we have been blown away in every aspect. Some of the rural villages are so incredibly poor, living conditions shocking and it appears to be a hand to mouth existence.
We have been told tourism has been down since 2016 possibly due to conflict in other states and travel warnings in Western countries. We have felt 100% safe the entire trip both on and off the bikes. Cycling just under 800km we have experienced the most courteous and at times helpful drivers.
We have relied heavily on the maps.me app for navigation and it only let us down once where we got lost in a Burmese forest for a few hours. With scary thoughts of having to spend a night in the jungle and the relief of hearing a motorbike and finding our way out. (Below)
We could go on and on but let’s just say we will most definitely be back to this beautiful part of the world as we have only touched on the magic of Myanmar, and it has totally exceeded expectations.
6 thoughts on “Reflecting on Magical Mysterious Myanmar”
Sitting at home watching the origin. Different looking Queensland very young. Down 8 6 at half time but hanging in there. Love the photos. The greenery and people are just as I would imagine Myanmar. Keep blog g it’s really interesting. Andy
Queensland up 12 8 early in the second half. Looking better.
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Hi wow the countryside is amazing and it’s great to see that all went well with the Burmese people. I can imagine how terrifying it must have felt being lost for a few hours in a forest in an unknown country! 😦
The sheep you called shots are called dorpers…. we have them around us at the moment chomping on the grass!! 😉 The wild life you showed on your updates a couple of notifications ago… we have them too!! One likes sitting in the hot sun outside our bedroom window on the woodshed platform. Have to admit he has gone into hiding now due to the cooler weather. Storm here yesterday mainly of wind with some rain. Rocked our home for a few hours!! 😬All go for the next 3 weeks on school bus takes over 2 hours to head out from depot to furthest stop and back. So that means leaving depot each morning 6.20 am!! Had my first round of 18 hole golf at the weekend…. card didn’t look pretty but I had a great round with 2 very patient ladies😜. Look forward to your next part of your journey 😊
Looks amazing! Would be great for you to pass this info onto some locals – I am sure they would be so proud on your views of their beautiful country. Safe travels. K,P,S&J xxxx
Myanmar looks such a lovely place, no wonder you say you will be back, the people look so friendly & are so nicely dressed, the women carrying things on their heads is amazing.You have certainly have tried your fair share of different drops of alcohol & the food my god, it must be nice when you get to have normal food, like you say it is surprising you have not been sick once. Take care Di & Reg xxx
Great to look back over your trip with such satisfaction. Part of the world we never experience, and most reports focus on poverty and war. Imagine you will be back within the next three years, if not sooner. So hoping you enjoy the next weeks before heading home. Ryan arrives 11pm. He will taxi to us as mum wouldn’t last that long. Sophie’s hockey 12.40pm so a good sleeping for all. Loved Mum Dad
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