We indeed felt a bit adventurous traveling a country that has been locked away for almost 50 years and was, for both of us, the very first South East Asian country. To be honest, we didn’t do anything adventurous whatsoever. We went to the tourist places, on our own where safe and guided where appropriate. The craziest thing we did, was skipping the country’s main tourist highlights that are visited by all western, foreign Buddhist and local travelers alike: Bagan, the immense ancient pagoda site that decorates most of Myanmar guide book covers with its hot air balloons in sunrise (a ride for 300US$ per person). As well as the the hanging gilded rock at Mt Kyaiktiyo, the second most popular photo motive. We DID, however, do the unavoidable, and very pleasant main pagoda Shwedagon in Yangon (third most popular) and the Inle Lake with the artistic fisherman (above all most popular and unique motive). (I refused to take a picture of those fisherman waiting at the lakes opening who were NO fisherman but ONLY motive and asked for “donation”.) Of course we did some more fun stuff – further down these notes.
Our live line during the “adventure” was very helpful Lonely Planet. Also Martin Schacht’s “Gebrauchsanweisung für Myanmar” provided an easy ride to get grooved in and his novel “Mandalay Moon” provides stunning ideas about the poppy economy (both books in German, the latter out of print). Good ol’ Orwell’s “Burmese Days” are a great insight in the Brits colonial mischief but also many details proof to be still quite applicable.