Faces of Myanmar
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has to be one of the most enchanting places I've visited. From the friendly spirit, smiling faces, to the rich culture all around you, pristine nature and glittering pagodas and temples. Myanmar truly touches the heart.
People all around are so friendly and inviting. Locals want to show you how they live, invite you to join them for tea and meals and want to show you their beautiful surroundings. We met many who were so eager to tell us about their life, family and stories. They were equally as curious to get to know us and what we thought of their land and culture. They were so keen to make us their tea and to prepare local food for us. Many offered to provide accommodation to stay with their families to get to know them.
Throughout Myanmar the locals are beautifully dressed in colorful longyis and have their cheeks painted with thanika. Longyis are sheets of cloth wrapped around the waist. Men and women wear longyis. Females often wear matching tops made of the same cloth as the longyi. Thanika is a cosmetic paste made from ground bark applied to the cheeks in both females and males. Throughout Myanmar you can see it's use in creative designs.
Travelling through Myanmar you will inevitably come across locals using water buffaloes for transportation and washing their water buffaloes. Water buffaloes are an essential part of daily life for many in Myanmar as a means of transportation and for agriculture. The relationship between locals and water buffaloes is crucial and simply magical. It is like going back in time going through villages and towns and seeing such a vast use of water buffaloes. This is understandable as cars are not affordable and access to proper roads is rare in many areas.
One of the most fascinating things you notice after some weeks in various regions of Myanmar is the vast array of hats used. There are so many beautiful styles of hats that are woven and painted around Myanmar. You can find beautifully painted hats, beautiful weaving in hats and you can see the workmanship and dedication that went into making these stunning hats.
It doesn't matter whether trekking through the hill villages in the North, to being at Inle Lake, visiting pagodas in Bagan, walking through the hustle and bustle of cities like Yangon and Mandalay, to remote villages, friendly and curious faces are all around you. We were lucky enough to join the local woman plant the rice crop in the rice fields and were asked to join them for lunch. Getting to know these women was remarkable.
There is much to learn, see and experience in the magical and enchanting Myanmar. I fell in love with the country.