Myanmar 02 - 05  Photos by Sue & Tony

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My Burma/Myanmar photos were taken over a three week trip in November/December 2002.   I traveled with two friends, Barbara and Colin.   

Traveling in different Asian countries, I was always meeting people who said "ah, but you should have seen it in 1975 or 63 or 52" or whenever.  With Burma I thought I had a chance to visit a country still largely unaffected by an influx of tourists.   I loved every minute and can hardly wait to return at which time I hope to get off the beaten track as well as revisit all of our 2002 itinerary. 

We  are aware of the controversy over whether to go or not, all I can say is we thought about it long and hard.  Others may decide differently.  Having made the decision I started to read everything I could find on the country it's people and history.  My sister-in-law in the UK sent me a book   "From The Land Of Green Ghosts" by Pascal Khoo Thwe' it is a must read.

I made our internal flight arrangements and booked hotels through May Khine at Radiant Travel in Yangon and can highly recommend them.   

Contact May at E-mail: sales@radiant.com.mm      Website: www.radianttours.com

We got around via all manner of transport.   Plane, long tail & ferry boats, tuk tuk, cars, horse cart, ox cart, stagecoach, hot air balloon and the usual Asian clapped out bicycle.

We ate in an amazing setting by the banks of the Ayeyerwady under an
inky black star studded sky, with 100 huge octagonal lanterns swaying in the
massive trees above our heads, and in little shacks.  Our most expensive
meal was $21 US for the three of us excluding beer etc and the cheapest was
$2 for the three of us.  Both were excellent.

We climbed temples at sunrise and sunset, in bare feet, on mud and stone and red hot marble.  I have never seen so many bunions in my life!  We watched Inthe leg rowers emerge from the mists of Inle Lake and cats leaping through hoops.  I took a longtail boat through white water, down the river from Hsipaw with 3 strapping great Germans to trek knee deep in river beds and mud to see a  small elephant camp in the jungle, this during the tail end of a typhoon which came at us out of the Bay of Bengal for the best part of 5 days.  I wore Myanmar army boots, purchased at a local market for $1.50 as I didn't have the heart to ruin my new hiking shoes.  Good job too as I hadn't counted on wading through rivers, ox, cow, pig and elephant dung.  As I tried not to think about all the water borne diseases.  

The best thing about Burma is the wonderful people, they are a constant delight, the worst is probably the roads which are beyond description.

My only disappointment was not crossing paths with Aung San Suu Kyi who was in Hsipaw just a few days before we were.  I would have loved to see her though the feeling would not have been mutual.  She remains against Western tourists visiting Myanmar until an elected government is reinstated.

2005

I finally made it back to Burma in January 2005.   This time traveling with my husband Tony.   We planned to spend 6 weeks in Myanmar and re trace the 2003 visit along with some additions.  As luck would have it we were amongst the very few granted 'e' visa's before the service closed down.  Unfortunately by the time we got to Yangon and applied to extend our 28day visa, they had decided that 'e' visa's could not be extended.  In the end we were only able to make one addition to my 2003 itinerary and that was Bago.   We overstayed by a few days but were uncomfortable being without a valid visa and decided to move on with our extended SEA trip.  We had a wonderful time in Myanmar and perhaps one day we will get to go off the beaten path.


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