2019 Recap

Ten days into 2020
and the new year has not
been a happy wonderful start

all over the planet, there is chaos
and i am just crawling out of 2019

to be honest, last year was amazing
and before i begin 2020, i need to recap…

because last year was when i hopped continents,
climbed machu pichu -lost all my pictures and
cartwheeled in salar de uyuni, although
read less books than usual, but
managed to learn so much,
i am still hungover…

2020 is going to be slow -a little break from travels
but i shall blog more often, even late posts
perhaps read more, write more and
hope 2020 gets better as it rolls.
photo by kalzangmarpo

so much to do in yangoon

located in the centre of the city
we headed to bogyoke aung san market

as usual they’ve got the fresh juice
interesting store names and good food

nearby, was the holy trinity church
apparently a popular tourist attraction

we then walked by movie theatres, mosques
and browsed through alleys and shops in yangon

one of the must visits (if you are an indian)
is the tomb of the last mughal emperor of india
bahadur shah zafar who was sent to exile in rangon
and never got to return to his country… (yep, thats the brits)

overall, a wonderful city with
so much history and character
it is a must for any offbeat traveler

ngwe saung beach, Myanmar

ngwe saung beach is about four-hours
from the bustling-capital city of yangoon

while it is still trying to make its mark as a beach town
its long silver beach and the many activities in the beach
is a sure indicator that it is becoming a popular destination

mornings by the beach was a happy place to be
where people enjoyed a stroll, a swim or some tube-fun
there were girlfriends on vacay and boys playing football

one attraction at the beach was a burmese mermaid
i loved how it looked so local and not hollywood at all
another interesting thing I learned/ saw was something called ‘tambolo’
– the refraction and diffraction of waves apparently, technically speaking;
but for me it was that point where waves from two directions came
crashing and gave joy to the onlookers and visitors like me
but as always, the beach comes alive in the evenings
when the golden sun goes down the horizon
and leaves us speechless with its many
moods and emotions…

and then there is that ‘bounce’
when you wait a little longer
after the sun goes down
and magic happens!

nyaung shwe cultural museum

nyaung shwe cultural museum
is like an old rich man’s mansion


nyaung shwe museum5

indeed when you enter inside
you have to take off your shoes
and walk in the wooden teak planks
sadly photography was prohibited inside the museum
but there were clear signs of the glorious Burmese days


this canon looked impressive but their govt. needs to
take proactive measures to preserve and renovate the same

but in case one is waiting for the evening bus to another town
and has time to spare, nyaung shwe cultural museum is a must visit.

after the museum visit


we feasted on fish again
this time we got pumpkin
soup and watermelon too…

intha fishermen and other attractions in inle lake

inle lake is the absolute best thing in myanmar
and if you are skeptical about boat tours in that lake
you are wrong/ just get on one of them and enjoy your day
our first stop in the tour was a visit to the intha fishermen
who were ready for the new day with traditional fishing nets
and traditional attires showing off their special leg rowing skills

these acrobatic fishermen have been criticised for posing for tourists
but what is it they say about if you got it flaunt it, and make some money

and one of the intha fishermen approached us for the tip for his ‘pose’
(which wasn’t that much), he smiled and shook hands and rowed away

these guys might seem like posers
but the leg rowing fishermen
is not a lie, we found a few
out and about the lake…

the next stop in the tour was at the silver workshop
i had no idea about silver stones from the hills of myanmar
and the processing that goes to make silver and its intricate designs

out in the lake
was a lady in a boat
selling pretty pink lotuses

we passed through floating pagodas
and saw its golden reflections on the lake

next stop was a visit to the Kayan women
who wear stacks of rings around their long necks

it was a little disturbing that they just sat there
as tourist attractions or show pieces for people
to come and take pictures of their ‘unique’ style
(i am guilty of that too…)

one important discovery was how they make fabric out of lotus
they cut the stems of the plant and pull the fibres and put it together
and weave them to make cloth which is often mixed with silk and cotton
it looked like a tedious process but the women were patiently working at it

their workstation was beautiful
and the natural dye to their fabric
looked sustainable and commendable

the boat ride is surreal as we move around the lake
because when the water is still, you can’t differentiate
between the sky and the lake…

there was one last stop before lunch
which was very fascinating and inspiring
they also make different flavoured cigarettes

of course these are locally made and for most of the time
it is the mother of the house working hard to prepare the same
local cigarette

lunch is always a treat in this country and
it didn’t disappoint the day at the lake either

on our way back, we visited the floating gardens
which felt somewhere between the heavens and the waters
floating garden2floating garden

buses in burma 🇲🇲

buses in burma
are the best means
of transport if you want
to travel across the countrybusbusmn1it is comfortable, colourful
and full of pop culture references

from latest action movies to
one’s favorite Disney character
it is actually a piece of art in itself

so if you are in myanmar
these buses are the way to go:)

what we did in nyaung shwe

we arrived in nyaung shwe early morning and
woke up at a leisurely pace and decided to explore

one of the fun things to do is
to rent a cycle and move around

we cycled past a barber’s salon
as the wife showed us some mask
they use at some performance there

the destination for the day was the
red mountain vineyards and winery

which is located in a beautiful hill
overlooking the Shan valley and we
decided to taste some Burmese wine too

we then cycled to maing thou village
and spent time watching people and soaking
in the sights while we went for a short boat ride
what impressed me most was the clear reflection
of houses where they lived in the still water of the lake

i also enjoyed meeting the many boatmen/ women/ children
who rowed the boats with their legs -a special talent and tradition

during the boat ride, our boat lady got me a lotus
after we got off the boat, we sat on the bridge
and watched Burmese students return from school

we then bought some fried fish
from our boat lady’s stall and hung
out with a badass grandma drinking tea

We then rode past this beautiful garden of sunflowers
and got permission from the house owners to take pics

but what a day
dreamy and surreal






two days in bagan: day two

the second morning in bagan was slightly clearer
and people had managed to get into hot air balloons too
we found a temple where we could climb and watch these balloons
we then went to the new bagan market near our hotel
these markets are the ultimate destination for fresh produce

but i feel more drawn to the fresh flowers that is available
since everyone probably has an altar or visit the pagodas/ temples,
these fresh flowers are possibly required and add much reverence and beauty

one of the interesting sighting of the day was seeing
a herder trying to get his goats to the other side of the road

for lunch we sat outside one of the temples
in a local food joint and relished the good meal
watching tourists and monks all enjoy the afternoon

and the temple hopping continued…
i like how the Burmese have water vessels
for thirsty travellers outside temple premises

one of the interesting finds was a replica
of the mahabodhi temple from bodhgaya

but we found the only hindu pagoda and
was fortunate to have a guide explain it all

but i enjoyed some shots from inside this temple
more than the history and the stories that she told us

thatbyinnyu phaya is one of the bigger  temples
that we had been riding past here the last few days
but as we walked around this evening it felt so grand and
i was in awe of not just these structures but the people who made it
for sunset found a nice temple to climb
but others had made similar discovery too

it was the perfect ending to a beautiful day in bagan

two days in bagan: day one

we had been told of bagan sunrises so we set off early morning
on our bikes except it was drizzling and a sunrise was nowhere in sight

despite an uneventful but beautiful morning
we got back for breakfast and got some journaling done

it was a rainy day but we biked to the mani-situ market
which was full of life and energy as we bargained for souvenirs
bought a pirated George Orwell book enjoyed a scrumptous Burmese lunch

and when you get out of the market and walk around a bit
you see the version of irrawaddy like the calm before the storm

after that we stepped into a trendy “friends cafe” for coffee
and saw a painting of aung san sui ki along with other paintings

a part of me have been wanting to find out how Burmese people
feel about her with recent rohngiya crisis and international criticism
it was nice to see her still revered and find room in a painter’s imagination

the remaining afternoon was spent temple hopping
and these archaeological structures tell so much of the
history, religion and environment of the people of Burma

they have also found humor in attracting tourists
as this particular sign read ‘leaning pagoda of pisa’
to tell of a tilted pagoda that was definitely in need of repair