Overall, Burma has been probably one if not the most breathtaking country we ever travelled. Despite officially being one of the poorest place in the world, we found very industrious and friendly people.
Yangon: the capital is not too bad to spend 2 days (no more). The Shwedagon Paya at sunset is an inspirational place while walking around in the city center will reveal magnificent and huge colonial buildings, often abandoned. One memorable experience was to take the train to Bagan. What was supposed to be a 14h journey over 600km ... turned to be a 20h journey across magnificent landscape. The very slow speed of the train and the big open windows gave the feeling to be cycling in the Burmese country side.
Once in Bagan, the magnificence of this country came to the peak. The 2,000 temples immersed in a green landscape are amazing. Exploring them is an experience that is at the same time cultural (for the history), mystical (they are still places of worship) and athletical (you can climb on top of the roof on most of them). Buddhist temples are not only places to prey, but their courts are places to meet and spend time with the family. In Bagan, thanks to the help of a group of local women, me also manage to get a ride and navigate, for a little while, the Irrawady river, the main river of Myanmar.
The Inle Lake was our next stop after Bagan. While it’s utterly beautiful, it’s probably the most touristic place in Myanmar and that spoils a bit the atmosphere. Anyway, watching the local fishermen fishing at sunset is something breathtaking. Inle Lake is not the only attraction here. After we were done with the lake, we move exploring the hills of the surrounding area, where agriculture is the main occupation for the population. We even discovered a wine estate producing very good white and red wines.
The last part of our trip was Mrauk-U, a remote rural village at the border with Bangladesh. This was the capital of the Rakhine State and during the 1500 – 1600 AD, was one of the most important cities in Asia. We looked at a painting done in the 1600 and shows a big city with long walls, a quarter for European merchants and a number of vessels and ships trading in the port. Now, the remaining temples and walls are to be found in the wheat fields.