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Category Archives for Myanmar

Bagan

Travelling to Beautiful Bagan

 

The ancient area of Bagan is testament to the fact that Myanmar (also known as Burma) is still far from westernised. A 26-mile squared area is covered in Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and any ruins in between, many dating from the 11th and 12th century: Bagan is the ultimate time travelling experience. With only basic travel amenities, and although growing in popularity, this is one for backpackers who love to go back to basics. Find a like-minded female travel companion, team up, and go back in time.

 

Bagan history

An ancient capital of what would become modern Myanmar today, Bagan once hosted 10,000 Buddhist constructions, leaving over an impressive 2,200 today, many surviving hundreds of earthquakes. In 1990, local residents of ‘Old Bagan’ were forced to a working area of ‘New Bagan’ in preparation for a tourist influx. Here you can find cheap, clean hotels and religious centres. The biggest transport hub of the area, and also the one with the most hotel and dining options, is Nyaung-U located in the northeast corner. Most temples are located near Old Bagan, but it is not common to stay here.

 

What to do in Bagan

Coach tours supply tourists to most popular areas, but it is easy enough to find a soulless piece of history when exploring with a travel companion. Try renting a bike, taxi or even horse and cart and take a gander at the more deserted sites, such as the Buddha dedicated area of Pyathada Paya. Temples can range from behemoth constructions such as Ananda Pahto, while others offer more intimate details and breath-taking views across the land. The deserted nature of these areas create the perfect opportunity for small groups of travel companions to explore. Cut costs on taxis or keep an eye out for each other while cycling on the miles of dirt roads. You could even share a local guide to find the very unexplored parts of Bagan. If tempted to spend a little more cash, the temple views from a hot air balloon will let you and your holiday partner appreciate the sheer breadth of the ancient wonder that is Bagan.

 

Bagan – General tips

Because Myanmar has only recently been opened up to the tourist industry, and because Bagan is far from any of its larger cities, do not expect the level of travel amenities that you might on any normal holiday. Always take plenty of cash (the local kyat, or US dollars can always be exchanged) as ATMs are sparse, and keep the cash divvied up between you and your female travel companion. Also, apply for a visa before travelling. In addition, be aware that conservatism is expected at the religious temples; T-shirts and shorts can be seen as offensive, and covering arms and knees is a good rule of thumb. Further to this, women are forbidden from entering some temples. Because of their ancient nature, temple steps can be incredibly steep and lack any basic handrails. Having a travel buddy nearby will ensure that if you do attempt a dangerous climb, you won’t remain stranded if anything were to go wrong. Make sure to take plenty of water and food refreshments – cafés are charming but uncommon.
 
Bagan is a truly impressive sight, and anyone travelling to Myanmar should not leave without bearing witness to its unique beauty. Further options of hikes to Mount Popa or religious centres nearby make this the perfect chance for female travellers to swap ideas and explore its remote beauty together.
 
Download Tourlina and make the ancient wonder of Bagan a modern reality – Tourlina: find your female travel buddy.

Myanmar Highlight: Inle Lake

Myanmar Highlight: Inle Lake

 

Fisherman at Inle Lake, Myanmar
Fisherman at Inle Lake, Myanmar

Set in the heart of Myanmar (Burma), Inle Lake is a body of fresh water that stretches 13.5 miles north and 7 miles wide. Against a backdrop of the beautiful Shan Hills that link to the foothills of the Himalyas, this is a lake on an awe-inspiring scale. And, as an attraction to visit with a travel companion, it delivers on many more levels.

Now part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, Inle Lake is home to various native fish and other fresh water creatures that are found nowhere else in the world. Home to a further 70,000 people who live in four cities bordering the lake, and this is a fully fledged ecosystem. Various tribes live and die here, maintaining the lake and living off the resources it provides. Local fishermen practice the distinctive technique of leg rowing in order to stand while boating, and impressive garden beds that are resistant to flooding have been perfected here. This is a beautiful, must-see example of human and environment co-existing, so make sure that you and your travel companion take all of this in.

 

The best of Inle Lake and beyond

Travelling around the lake is by commuter tourist motorboats. It’s best to give in, split the cost with a travel partner and take one of the many lake tours that will be presented to you. Here, you’ll encounter a lake teeming with life: one scattered with tiny villages that stand in the water itself, Buddhist temples that are dotted along the banks and channels of water hemmed in by those unique floating gardens.

The land surrounding the lake also has plenty to offer. Stupas are astounding, some comparable to the wonders seen in Bagan. Many are crammed together on an overgrown hillside, and many reclaimed from local jungle. They represent an area easily explored on foot, and an intimate one at that. Dining together is always a beautiful affair, with many hotel restaurants that extend over the water and have different takes on the local cuisine depending on which tribe may have set it up. Hundreds of monasteries are present here, and Nga Phe Kyaung, also known as the Jumping Cat monastery (literally because of trained jumping cats present), is one of the most unique on the western side of the lake. Cats aside, this is worth a look solely because of its collection of ancient Buddha images. Hiring a private boat that includes a tour guide for the day with a travel buddy is the best and cheapest way to pick and choose your favourite locations, and skip some of the more tourist-crowded spots. If you need more time on land, try hiring bikes together and cycle west along the unpaved, bumpy roads. The exercise will be worth it when reaching a series of swimming pools filled directly from the nearby hot springs. Gender-specific pools are also available for female travellers.

For unique souvenirs, the locals of the Inn Paw Khon village are well known for their loom-made textiles. From sarongs to scarfs, everything is hand-crafted here by women of all ages, and they also boast lotus fabric made from the flowers that bloom in the peak tourist season (October to February). Purchase directly and take home a piece of Myanmar heritage.

Inle Lake is beautiful part of Myanmar. It blends together an array of village cultures with local beauty and wildlife, and presents it in a charming and accessible way to tourists. Make the most of it by downloading Tourlina and exploring it safely and more economically with a female travel companion.

Find your female travel buddy for your next trip to Inle Lake in Myanmar (Burma) with our app Tourlina

An Inle Lake photo tour:

Inle Lake in the Morning
Inle Lake in the Morning
Inle Lake in the Morning
Inle Lake in the Morning
Festivities at Inle Lake
Inle Lake
Inle Lake - Indein
Inle Lake – Indein Stupas
Inle Lake - Lokal Market
Inle Lake – Lokal Market
Festivities at Inle Lake
Festivities at Inle Lake
Festivities at Inle Lake
Festivities at Inle Lake
Fisherman
Fisherman
Inle Lake - Lokal People
Inle Lake – Lokal People in the Floating Gardens
Inle Lake - Lokal People
Inle Lake – Lokal People
Inle Lake - Sunset
Inle Lake – Sunset