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Southeast Asia Travel News

The Southeast Asia Travel Specialists Since 1999

Yangon’s Alley Gardens is another example of an excellent urban renewal project we came across recently, following on from our recent post on Malang’s fantastic Rainbow Village. scheme.  This one’s even simpler – doesn’t involve painting the entirety of downtown Yangon – but equally effective, albeit on a smaller scale, yet manages to hit the spot on several levels. Anyone…

Every part of Lake Inle; whether watching the golden sunrise creep over the mountain tops, visiting the stilt villages or exploring the astonishing floating gardens are obvious highlights of any Myanmar (Burma) tour so we’ll narrow our 2-day Lake programme down to what’s probably our favourite part – the morning visit to In Dein. The spectacular forest of ancient stupas, colourful…

The fascinating, yet rarely-visited town of Monywa lies just to the west of Mandalay in Burma’s (Myanmar’s) Sagaing Division. As usual, on our Southeast Asia tours, the issue isn’t which destinations to include but rather which ones time restraints force us to omit.  There are myriad wonderful sites to be seen but if you included everything the tour would last…

Mohinga – Burmese Noodle Soup Questionably the national dish of Burma, Mohinga is a comforting noodle soup available nationwide but especially in Yangon and the Southern Delta region where fish is plentiful. In posting this recipe, I apologise unreservedly to anyone in Burma/Myanmar for whom it is not traditional or “as mother cooked it”, but it works with Western ingredients…

Burmese ghosts, or nats as they are known locally, are spirits of people who died under tragic circumstances and who have remained earthbound so….what, in English, we would call ghosts. However, in Burma/Myanmar they take on a whole other significance and have shrines, statues, images, festivals dedicated to them. There’s even an ‘official’ list of the country’s 37 major recognised…

The previous post was mainly to show happy campers enjoying an All Points East Burma tour and so hopefully incite a new booking or two; Burma tour photos II is a more self-indulgent collection of our own personal favourite images from our recent tour. So in approximate chronological order………… Another train photo taken on Rangoon’s circular line tour. The colourful,…

The sprawling city of Rangoon, or Yangon, is no longer Burma’s official capital but is still the nation’s largest and most important city by far and very much its commercial, cultural, historic and geographical centre. Rangoon is congested, hectic, noisy, grimy, frequently smelly; pavements are obstacle courses, street lighting is to say the least erratic and much of its wonderful…

Rangoon’s magnificent and iconic Shwedagon Pagoda is Yangon City’s best-known tourist destination and indeed Burma’s single most prestigious religious site. If you only see one temple in the country then you’d better make it this one! The sprawling Shwedagon Pagoda complex is considered to date originally from the Mon period some 1,500 years ago but has been updated, repaired and…

The Yangon or Rangoon circular line trains leave from the City’s Central Station describing a 30-mile loop through the inner city and suburbs before returning to its point of departure some 3 hours later. The train is scheduled hourly and alternates between clockwise and anti-clockwise circumnavigations and the price is a couple of hundred kyat for the round trip. Now…

Bagan sunsets and sunrises. The harsh light of Bagan can make temple photography during the middle of the day somewhat hard work and for your more atmospheric and photogenic opportunities, you’ll be restricted to those relatively short early morning and late afternoon times. Don’t worry during the intervening period there are more manageable village and rural life subjects since villages,…

Photographing Bagan – a few tips. Estimates of the precise figure vary but suffice to say there is the best part of 2,000 temples, pagodas, stupas, chedis and monasteries scattered across the wide plain between the Irrawaddy to the east and the range of low hills to the west. Differences between the categories of religious sites can also be somewhat…

Mandalay Burma – a very evocative name but as with say Casablanca or Shangri La, (which is, of course, mythical but which the Chinese government has now seen fit to locate in northern Yunnan Province), the reality may not live up to the expectation and these days Burma’s 2nd largest city is busy, grubby and to many visitors, somewhat lacking…

Generally included in any standard Inle Lake tour itinerary we reckon this fascinating site, located slightly upriver at the southwestern corner of the Lake, is one of the highlights of the region. The boat trip is picturesque, the surrounding scenery bucolic, the ancient pagodas highly photogenic and the friendly local Pa-O people welcoming and fun. In Dein is a village,…

Located in Burma’s western Shan State and famous for mountain scenery, floating gardens and the unusual rowing techniques of local fishermen Lake Inle is certainly one of Burma’s top tourist destinations. Either a very long drive from Mandalay or Bagan – or even longer from Rangoon – most visitors inevitably arrive by Heho Airport, an hour or so from the…

Burma cottage industries – a few photos and descriptions from our Burma (Myanmar) tours. Guide: “Ok, next I’ll take you to visit some people who make rubber bands”. “Really?! And that’s interesting to see is it?” (It’s hot, the ‘roads’ are appalling and I’m carting around heavy camera gear.) Guide. “Yes – everybody likes it”. (Not convinced) “Errr ok then…

Another of our off the beaten track Burma suggestions is the small, picturesque and highly photogenic town of Hpa-An Karen State. Possessing a magnificent setting on the banks of the scenic Salween River, surrounded by dramatic limestone, karst scenery and home to one the best local markets we know in the country this is another, little known, yet superb destination….

The somewhat remote, Irrawaddy Delta town of Pathein is actually officially the 5th largest ‘city’ in Burma – which makes it slightly smaller than Moulmein (Mawlamyine) – yet even fewer tourists ever make it down to this super-friendly and fascinating river port than visit Mon State’s picturesque capital.  Pathein is the Delta’s commercial hub and the riverside area and central…

Moulmein Mawlamyine Burma was made famous by the line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “by the old Moulmein pagoda lookin’ lazy at the sea…,” as well as having had George Orwell as its police chief for a while, yet this wonderful town in southern Burma’s Mon State certainly isn’t a famous destination as far as today’s foreign visitors go. Moulmein falls…