I Heart Myanmar

Shwezigon Pagoda

Every year again, Berlin becomes one of the most beautiful cities in the world as soon as spring starts. The whole city seems to celebrate the end of winter. As everyone knows, the Berlin winter can be really unbearable: it gets ridiculously cold, you may not get to see the sun for days and there is a Siberian wind blowing. People are even worse tempered than they are for the rest of the year and you only leave your apartment if you really have to.

I have always dreamed about escaping the Berlin winter. In the past months, I finally managed to make this dream come true by going to Southeast Asia for five months. From November to March, I traveled Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

For no doubt, the most interesting country among those was Myanmar, the former Burma. You can not imagine a place that is more different to Berlin. When you go to Myanmar, you somehow have the feeling of traveling in time. More after the jump.

Shwezigon Rangon


Shwezigon Pagoda

Generally, Western influence is very low in Myanmar, and some recent developments in technology and society still have not really reached the country: there are only very few computers and mobile phones around, buses and cars are up to 40 years old, some trains date back to the colonial days under British rule and there are no ATMs in the whole country.

When you go to Myanmar, you have the feeling of entering an isolated world, where everything still goes its own way. Just have a look around: nearly all men wear skirts, women use a traditional make up which is made of a tree root and befriended men are holding hands while walking on the street.


Yangon NEU

Myanmar Bagan


Watching TV in Myanmar tells you a lot about the country. There is a government channel which is just like Soviet propaganda from the early 1960s: everything is out of focus, the sound is distorted, the music is kitschy and pathetic, and all you see is factories, military parades and children giving flowers to some generals.

But Myanmar is not totally out of range. There are in fact Western movies and Lady Gaga DVDs imported from China, there are internet cafes who manage to skip the censorship. In the local press, you can read about European football and about Shakira’s love life. And apart from all the propaganda, there are also some Western and Indian channels on TV. (Though we do not get the love scenes in Hollywood movies, which have been cut out.)

Bagan Temple


Mandalay Burma

Mandalay Tea Shop

Of course you can find the most stunning cultural sites in this country, but what impressed me most were the people of Myanmar. You really feel that they enjoy talking to people from outside. Generally, only very few tourists get there, so that is really something special to them. Nowhere else in Southeast Asia I met so many locals on a personal level, which means: they don’t try to sell you something in the end. People just start talking to you wherever you are, you get invited to a cup of tea, they hand you presents at the market, and in the evening they might test your drinking skills by sharing Myanmar made Whiskey with you. People just want to get to know you and your culture.

Mandalay Monks

Mandalay Muslim Community

Mandalay Myanmar

Mandalay Market

There is much more to say about Myanmar, but I need to stop somewhere. I can only recommend going there by yourself. After all, one thing is for sure: as soon as the Burmese manage to get rid off their horrible government, their country is going change much.



Pyin U Lwin Muslim

Pyin U Lwin Burma

Myanmar Golden Rock

Golden Rock Kyaiktiyo

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda


Kyaiktiyo Goldener Felsen

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<a href="https://www.iheartberlin.de/author/jens/" target="_self">Jens</a>