My trip to Burma took place quite a few years ago – six to be precise – but the country is still my #1 travel destination. That is why I enjoy showing a photos of this trip. We travelled in Burma at a point in time that turned out to be both unsuitable but at the same time beneficial
In late 2007 media attention turned to Burma when demonstrations of Buddhist monks against the military dictatorship were stamped down violently. In 2008, Burma was badly affected by cyclone Nargis, which claimed more than 10,000 lives and left part of the country devastated. These headlines slowed down tourism in Burma for some time to come.
As a consequence, when we visited Burma in February 2009, we encountered few fellow foreign tourists at some of Burma’s main sights. The country impressed us deeply with is authenticity, which I find unlike any other country I had been to. The population, so far almost completely untouched by Western culture, were open and sincere in an incredibly authentic way. On top of that, they were of course extremely friendly and polite. When young Burmese approached us in the street with their typical “Hello, where are you from?”, we expected them to be souvenir vendors looking for foreign dollars, but in reality these folks had real interest in us or wanted to practice their English. Their friendliness was even more surprising when you consider the poverty that most citizens live in. For example, all around the temples of Bagan you saw farmers working their fields with an ox cart. Apart from the charming people, the sights were also impressive – from the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon to the white beaches of Ngapali. All of this is engulfed by the omnipresent Buddhist spirituality of the population, which gives the country a very special kind of charm.