Highlights of Vietnam: 5 amazing places to visit in Vietnam

22 05 2015

In January I wrote about five lesser-known highlights of Vietnam – including caves, mountain villages, beaches, and jungles. The five destinations I’ll be exploring today, meanwhile, are very much on the beaten track – but for good reason! (They also all begin with H, for no reason at all).

I won’t say these are “must-see” sites, because your itinerary should always reflect your own personal interests, but they should most definitely be included on your Vietnam shortlist.

Ready? Then I’ll begin.

1. Halong Bay

Halong Bay (also Ha Long Bay) is probably the most recognisable image of Vietnam there is, and undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful bays – earning it a place in the New7Wonders of Nature in 2011.

Halong Bay at twilight

Halong Bay at twilight

The bay is located in the north of the country (within striking distance of Hanoi, if you’re considering it as a side-trip), and very much deserves its UNESCO World Heritage status. Characterised by tall, narrow, limestone islands dotted throughout (called karsts), one of the best ways to explore it is cruising through it on a traditional junk boat.

Legend has it that Halong’s islands were formed when, in an attempt to protect the country against invaders, a Mother dragon and her children scattered emeralds across the bay to form a defensive wall. This is how Halong got its name, which means “descending dragon” in Vietnamese.

For more information about cruises in Halong Bay, check out our informative blog post here.

2. Hoi An

Hoi An is a wonderful example of a preserved trading port, and is one of our favourite places in Vietnam. Yes, it is rather “touristy” – but that’s because it’s a fascinating and beautiful place, so don’t let its popularity put you off.

Hoi An

Hoi An

Hoi An lies on the coast of Vietnam’s thin central section, and like Halong Bay it has been recognised with UNESCO World Heritage status. In the first century AD it was the largest harbour in Southeast Asia, and as late as the 18th century it was considered by Chinese and Japanese merchants to be one of the best trading locations in all of Asia. Throughout its long and prosperous history Hoi An has received influences from a multitude of different cultures and civilisations, each of which has left its mark on the historical city.

The Hoi An lantern festival (also known as Ancient Town Night, or the Full Moon Festival), is held once a month on the night of the full moon (reportedly soon to be held on the new moon, too), and is a very popular and exciting time to visit.

For more on Hoi An and why we love it, read out blog post: Oi Oi Hoi An

3. Hanoi

As you will know if you read my recent blog post, Hanoi vs. Saigon, Hanoi has been the capital of reunified Vietnam since 1976, and was the country’s political centre for nearly 1,000 years from 1010 until 1802. The city is still considered by most to be the country’s hub of culture and history, and boasts more significant cultural sites than any other city in Vietnam.

Hanoi

Hanoi

Its attractions span a wide spectrum of eras and styles, from the ancient Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda and the impressive Hanoi Citadel, to the colonial masterpieces of the Grand Opera House and the Presidential Palace, to Ho Chi Minh’s monumental mausoleum and two of Southeast Asia’s tallest skyscrapers.

4. Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City (still frequently known as Saigon) is located at the opposite end of the country, and was once the most important commercial seaport of the Khmer Empire. These days, Saigon is Vietnam’s food capital and the best place to learn about the country’s modern history – in particular the Vietnam War.

Saigon

Saigon

The War Remnants Museum (previously known as the “Exhibition House for US and Puppet Crimes”) is fascinating, while at the Cu Chi Tunnels you can experience what life was like in the secret passages constructed by guerrilla fighters. For hardened history buffs, there’s also the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, the Revolutionary Museum, and the Museum of Southeastern Armed Forces.

5. Hue

Last but not least, let me whisk you away to Hue (pronounced “hway”), the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty between 1802 and 1945 and home to an imperial Citadel much like the Forbidden City of Beijing. Located in central Vietnam, not too far from Hoi An, Hue is home to a wealth of beautiful, ancient buildings, including the Thien Mu Pagoda, the Imperial Enclosure, and the To Mieu Temple Complex.

Hue

Hue

Despite suffering severe damages during the Vietnam War, Hue’s Citadel still makes a very impressive place to visit, and is one of the best places to see imperial architecture in Vietnam. It’s also well-known for its delicious food, which is always a bonus!

To read more, check out our blog post on exploring Hue here.





6 reasons to travel to Indochina in the green season

19 05 2015
Contrary to appearances, she is having fun. Honest.

Contrary to appearances, she is having fun. Honest.

Want to experience Indochina with fewer crowds, cheaper prices, and better scenery? You can! It’s called the green season.

If you read my recent post about the best time to visit Indochina, you’ll know that weather and climate in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos is a complicated business. Thanks to the sheer length of the Indochinese peninsula, as well as the variation between coastal and mountainous zones, it’s never just as simple as winter = cold, summer = hot.

Whereas the vast majority of tourists choose to visit Indochina in peak season, which extends from November until March, in this post I’ll be exploring a few of the reasons to think outside the box and consider travelling to Indochina during the wet season – or “green season”, as we like to call it.

Far too many people are put off by the thought of rain, when in fact there are many benefits to off-peak travel.

Green and pleasant: Sapa in the green season

You can see why they call it the green season

1. There are fewer tourists

It’s an obvious one – but for many, a very important one. Nobody likes to think of themselves as a tourist (we’d all prefer to be “travellers” – go on, admit it!) and there’s nothing to make you feel more tourist-like than standing amongst a pack of other touristy tourists everywhere you go.

One way to avoid being swept up in the throng of sock-and-sandal-wearers is to head to places where nobody else goes, but I’ve always thought that this is a flawed plan. There are usually reasons nobody else goes to those places, after all.

A much better way to avoid the crowds is to travel out of season, when even the most popular sights are much less busy than they would be otherwise. You’ll be guaranteeing yourself a more relaxed, peaceful, and atmospheric experience in key destinations – which is reason enough to travel off-peak all by itself.

Out in the lush scenery of Sapa, much prettier out-of-season

Out in the lush scenery of Sapa, Vietnam

 2. It’s cheaper

Another extremely compelling and very simple reason to consider off-peak travel: less demand = lower prices. Simple as that.

This rule applies mainly to flights and hotel rooms – probably your two biggest holiday expenses – so it’s well worth a thought for the thrifty traveller.

Waterways near Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Lovely waterways near Angkor Wat, Cambodia

 3. Everything looks nicer

Something that many people forget about rain is that it has an ulterior motive besides getting you all wet and ruining your holiday plans. It makes everything look beautiful and green and pleasant. Instead of arid landscape and parched earth you will be surrounded by leafy, lovely views and lush vegetation, and your holiday snaps will look that much more picturesque as a result. And we all know that the only reason to go on holiday is Instagram.

Atmospheric mist in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Atmospheric mist in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

4. Water, water everywhere!

Well, duh. It’s the rainy season. But an oft-overlooked benefit of all this rain is that all the popular water-based activities in Indochina only get better.

The rivers and lakes swell, so you can cruise further (and faster) inland than you can in the dry season. The rice paddies are flooded, creating beautiful, giant mirrors for the sky. The moats and ponds around Angkor are filled with water, reflecting the beauty of the temples. Tonle Sap Lake with its floating villages is at its very best, with water lapping the doorsteps of the houses. When so many activities in Indochina are water-based, more water can only be a good thing!

Kampong Khleang, Cambodia

Boating in Kampong Khleang, Cambodia

5. The storms and clouds are awesome

The weather doesn’t have to be a downside during the rainy season, it can actually be a benefit. For those of us who live in wishy-washy climes like the UK, the awesome power of tropical storms is actually pretty exciting. Or I think so anyway. For many people it’s a world apart from their everyday experience, and is that not why we travel in the first place?

The dramatic, towering clouds that come before and after a big storm are also quite spectacular in their own right, especially when illuminated by the dying light at sunset.

Above the clouds in Sapa

Above the clouds in Vietnam!

6. The rainy season isn’t as rainy as you think

We all hate the rain in England, because the rain in England is horrid. It’s drizzly and pathetic, it goes on all day and night, and it’s bloody freezing. But rain in Indochina isn’t like rain in England.

For all but the rainiest months of the year (again, I refer you to my previous blog for when exactly these fall in different parts of the region), the rain arrives in short, heavy downpours that clear up almost as soon as they have arrived, leaving you with clear skies and fluffy clouds for the majority of the day. It’s also warm all year round, so you dry off quickly and don’t get that horrible, shivery drowned rat feeling. The showers can even be a nice break from the heat.

In short, it is really not as bad as some people make out. Even if you travel in the rainiest of the rainy months, when it pours almost constantly throughout the day (and InsideVietnam’s Charlotte can attest to this), it doesn’t mean you have to halt all your activities and sit at home. You just do them in the rain.

Well, you're going to get wet anyway.

Charlotte making the most of the rainy season in Hoi An. Well, she was going to get wet anyway.

If you’re a committed sun-worshipper and lifelong beach bum, that’s OK. I know I’ll never persuade you. But for the rest of you, give the green season a try, it’s not all rain, rain, rain. You won’t be disappointed.





Indochina: When’s best to go?

14 05 2015

Contrary to popular belief, travel to Indochina (by which we mean Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) can be a pleasure at any time of year. It all depends on what you want from your holiday and what your priorities are. If you despise crowds but don’t mind a bit of rain, travelling in the wet season may be for you – but if you’re a sun worshipper with a beach holiday in mind, you may feel the opposite.

Since there are upsides and downsides to travel in each season, in this post we’ll try to cover the basic need-to-know information for each region. For a quick overview, however, have a look at our climate graphic – designed to let you see at a glance which regions are experiencing the best weather, and when.

 

VietnamColourChart

 

If you would like more advice on when to travel in Indochina, don’t hesitate to ask us in the comments below, connect with us via Twitter or Facebook, or contact us directly via our website! We’ll also be following up this post with some more advice on how to have a great holiday during the green season (AKA wet season!) – so watch this space.

 

Vietnam

With its long, thin geography and over 2,000 miles of coastline, Vietnam spans a very wide range of latitudes for its size, meaning that the climate varies quite dramatically between its northern and southern regions. In fact, for the purpose of discussing climate, most people find it helps to divide the country into three separate regions, each with its own weather system. These are: north, central and south.

North Vietnam

North Vietnam experiences two distinct seasons: a cool, dry winter (November – March) and a hot, wet summer (April – October). The lowest temperatures of the year occur in Dec-Feb, when Hanoi sees average daily highs of around 20°C, while the highest temperatures are to be found in May-Aug, with average highs of up to 32°C.

In the mountainous far north of the country, the climate differs again. December and January can be very cold (you might even see snow!), and the rainy season from May to September can make travel quite difficult. The best times of year for trekking in this area are September to November and March to May.

North Vietnam temperature and rainfall

Central Vietnam

Central Vietnam has hot, dry weather from around mid-January until late August, with the temperature remaining relatively warm throughout the rest of the year. In this region the rainy season falls in the months of September through December, with occasional typhoons in October and November.

Central Vietnam temperature and rainfall

South Vietnam

South Vietnam sees very little variation in temperature throughout the year, with average daily highs sticking to a narrow range of about 30-35°C all year round. The hottest months are usually March and April, and the coolest around December. Rainfall is almost non-existent from December to April, while the rainy season sweeps in from May until October, dropping off in November. Downpours are usually short and heavy, and typhoons are rare.

South Vietnam temperature and rainfall

Of course, for Vietnam, InsideVietnam have an amazing interactive graphic that tells you when is good/bad and what is happening. Take a look here.

Laos

With no coastline, Laos has a much simpler climate than Vietnam. There are just two distinct seasons which are experienced at roughly the same time throughout the country: wet (May to September) and dry (October to April). Temperatures tend to be at their hottest from March to May, when the mercury soars over 35°C, while December sees the coolest temperatures with average highs of no less that 25°C. At all times of year, highland areas are noticeably cooler than lowland – and you will probably need something warm to wear in the evenings.

Laos temperature and rainfall

Cambodia

Cambodia has one of the simplest weather systems in Southeast Asia, with just two seasons and very little altitudinal variation from region to region. The dry season extends from October to late April, while the wet season is from May to late September. The hottest months of the year are usually from February until June, with average highs from around 32-35°C, while October to December are the coolest months – with average highs of a very balmy 28°C.

Cambodia temperature and rainfall





Thanaka: Burma’s natural cosmetic

8 05 2015

Boy with thanaka

Spend any amount of time in Burma and it won’t be long before you begin to notice the profusion of faces daubed with a kind of yellow-white paste, and you’ll probably begin to wonder why.

This is thanaka, a cosmetic paste made by grinding the bark, wood or roots of certain varieties of tree with water on a round stone slab (called a kyauk pin). Out and about, you’ll see thanaka smeared mainly on women and children (but sometimes men and boys, too) throughout the entire country, wherever you go, and it’s been this way for over 2,000 years.

Though the reason is partly aesthetic – many people apply thanaka in attractive patterns, such as leaves and swirls – the paste has a whole raft of other benefits. When applied to the skin it has a pleasant fragrance and gives a cooling sensation much to be desired in the summer heat (for this reason many Burmese people apply thanaka before they go to sleep – men just as much as women!). It provides protection from sunburn – so people in rural communities apply it liberally over face and limbs while they work in the fields. In terms of benefits to the skin, it also helps to prevent oiliness and spots, tightens pores and generally promotes smoothness.

Children with thanaka

Used medicinally, meanwhile, thanaka has been employed to treat a great variety of different ailments. Mixed with lemon, bark, roots and herbs, applied as a paste, made into poultices or its fruit eaten raw, it has been used to treat acne, fungal infections, skin sores, measles, leprosy, malaria, epilepsy, poisoning and fever, to name but a few.

Though thanaka trees grow elsewhere, and the paste is sometimes used in countries such as Thailand and India – nowhere is it so popular as in Burma. Though many young people nowadays (especially those who work in cities) opt not to wear it, there are still plenty who choose to continue the tradition – even if only outside working hours, and if you visit Burma you’ll be sure to see plenty of it!

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How to be polite in Southeast Asia

5 05 2015

Sustainable tourism isn’t just about carbon offsetting, conservation centres and eco-lodges. When we talk about responsible travel, we’re also talking about supporting local businesses, respecting local cultures, and promoting mutual understanding between our own culture and those we visit.

This is why it’s of the utmost importance that you familiarise yourself with the local customs of your destination country (or countries) before you travel. You don’t need to get it right all the time – but a little work goes a long way! If local people can see that you’ve made the effort to learn about their culture, they can see that you care – and will be much more likely to care about you in return.

In this blog post we’ll cover all the main etiquette dos and don’ts for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Though customs do differ across countries and regions, there are many areas of overlap – and in general it’s safe to follow these guidelines in any Southeast Asian country. If you can think of anything we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments!

600x447localsmileyman

Proper dress

Dressing respectfully is one of the most important items on this list – because dressing disrespectfully is one of the easiest ways to cause offence.

Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are relatively conservative societies, so it pays to dress modestly. Bikinis, short shorts and sleeveless tops are fine on the beach – but wear them anywhere else and you’re likely to cause offence without even realising it. It’s very important to cover your knees and shoulders at temples or other places of worship, but in everyday situations this dress code can be relaxed a little. Footwear and headgear should always be removed before entering a religious space or a private home.

On the subject of (im)proper dress – bafflingly, in recent months it seems to have become something of a “thing” for foreign tourists to get their kecks off and take photos of themselves around Cambodia – particularly at Angkor Wat. This is not a good idea. (Did we need to tell you that? Really?). Angkor Wat is a functioning religious site and a source of great pride for Cambodians, so this kind of behaviour is, obviously, very offensive – and likely to get you kicked out of Cambodia.

One of our tour groups exhibiting appropriate dress at Angkor Wat!

One of our tour groups exhibiting appropriate dress at Angkor Wat!

Heads and feet

Since Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are all predominantly Buddhist countries, many of their social conventions reflect Buddhist thinking. One of the beliefs that has filtered into society through Buddhism is that the head is sacred, while the feet are unholy.

This means that it is very rude to touch somebody on the head, and you must never touch any part of someone else with your feet. You must also be careful never to point with your feet, sit with your feet directed towards someone (or a religious image), step over anyone who’s sitting on the floor, or place your feet higher than someone else’s head. All of these are social faux pas in Indochina.

Haggling

As a general rule, haggling is more commonplace in Vietnam than it is in Cambodia or Laos – where negotiations tend to be rather more gentle and mild-mannered.

The first and most significant rule in all bargaining is to keep smiling! As in many Asian countries, in Vietnamese culture maintaining “face” is very important, so ensuring both parties come out of a transaction with pride and dignity intact is the goal.

There can be a tendency for foreigners to feel a little aggrieved that they are being “ripped off” by being charged a higher price than locals, and this sense can colour the tone of negotiation. Better perhaps to accept that most of the people you are dealing with are smart businesspeople with limited resources, seeking to make a decent living, and that in a culture where negotiating is commonplace the first price is expected to be rejected.

Places to try your skills are when hunting for souvenirs in markets or street stalls (if prices are fixed they will display a sign to that effect), buying fruit or snacks from vendors, and when using a cyclo or xe om. You will not normally be expected to haggle in restaurants or street food stalls, or in larger stores with displayed pricing. Taxis are now metered by law, and we would advise against getting in any that are not.

This post will be followed by another containing our top tips on how to rule at haggling, so watch this space!

street food vendor Hanoi

Tipping

There is generally little tipping in either Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos – however in tourist-focused areas it has become more common, and is certainly appreciated. In general, no tip is expected at restaurants or in taxis, but it is accepted that those working in the tourist industry now supplement their income through the tips they receive from their clients.

If you are happy with the service that has been provided – by a guide, for example – you could offer a tip of a couple of US dollars (for a short tour), or 8-10 dollars (for a full day of guiding). In the case of guides and drivers, custom has it that the tip should be given at the end of the time spent with them, which is usually at the airport or station at which they drop you. It can be given in an envelope if preferred.

Table manners

As in most Asian countries, standing your chopsticks upright in your bowl of rice is a big no-no (as anyone who’s seen the film Wolverine will know). This is because it looks very much like the incense burnt for the dead at funerals – so is considered a bad omen.

If you are invited to dine with a Southeast Asian family, you should wait to be told where to sit before making yourself comfortable at the table, and wait for the oldest person in the party to begin eating before you tuck in. It is acceptable to use a toothpick after your meal, but be sure to use one hand to cover your mouth while you do so. In Vietnam, it is also polite to pass dishes using both hands.

dinner in Vietnam

Monks

In most Buddhist countries – but especially in Laos – it is taboo to make physical contact with monks. If you are a woman, you must not even pass something to a monk; instead you should either place it on the ground for the monk to pick up, or pass it to a male companion or guide to pass to the monk.

Sexual attitudes

Since the countries of Indochina are quite conservative, public displays of affection are considered very bad taste – no matter where you are in Southeast Asia. Holding hands is about as raunchy as you’re allowed to get – so try to avoid the displeasure of your hosts and keep it clean, kids.

Greetings & gestures

In many cultures in Asia, people greet each other by placing their palms together and bowing. In Laos this is called a nop, while in Cambodia it’s called a sompiah – but, as a Westerner, in most cases you’re more likely to be greeted with a handshake.

It’s also useful to remember that in Asia, when beckoning to somebody you should do so with your fingers pointing downwards – as to do so with your fingers pointing upwards (as we do in the West) is offensive.

monks

Temper tantrums

Losing your temper will get you nowhere in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos. Rather than get what you want, you are more likely to incur disdain and amusement – so no matter how frustrated you are, remember to keep your cool!

Photos

Always ask before taking a photo of somebody. Imagine how you would feel if you found yourself an unwilling tourist attraction for foreign visitors – and behave towards others as you would have them behave towards you.

Local language

As is true in any country across the world, any effort to communicate in the local language – however small – will be well received and get you into everybody’s good books. Even if you only learn the words for “hello”, “please”, and “thank you”, it’ll show that you’ve put at least some time and effort into understanding the local culture – a fact that you’ll find is much appreciated wherever you go.

making friends





The Plain of Jars: Laos’ biggest mystery

28 04 2015

In the third of our series on Southeast Asia’s archaeological wonders, we take you to Laos’ Plain of Jars: a mystery over 2,000 years old.

Plain of Jars

Where? On the Xieng Khouang plateau in central Laos, about 250 km southeast of Luang Prabang and about 350 km north of the capital, Vientiane.

What? That’s the big question! Superficially, the Plain of Jars is what it says on the tin: a vast area scattered with huge, stone jars. What these jars were built for, exactly, nobody knows – although evidence supports the theory that they were a sort of prehistoric tomb.

When were they built? It’s thought that the jars were built during the Iron Age, from 500 BC – 200 AD, however the archaeologist Eiji Nitta has suggested that they could have been built as early as the second millennium BC.

How big are they? There are more than 90 jar sites scattered across hundreds of square kilometres, each containing from one to 400 jars. The jars themselves vary in height and diameter from one metre to three metres, and in total there are around 2,500 jars and jar fragments remaining in the region.

Plain of Jars Map

Location of the Plain of Jars (in blue)

Who built them, and why? It is this mystery that makes Laos’ Plain of Jars so compelling and fascinating. Since research first began in the early 1930s, archaeologists and historians have never managed to agree on which prehistoric civilisation was responsible for these megaliths, nor their purpose – although many theories have been advanced.

What are they?

The jars are all hewn from rock (usually sandstone), in a cylindrical shape with the bottom always wider than the top. Of all the thousands of jars in the area, only one bears decoration of any kind: a crouching human form carved in bas-relief on the exterior.

Most of the jars have lip rims, suggesting that all of them had lids at some point. The fact that only a few stone lids have ever been found (and none of them actually on top of a jar) indicates that most of the lids must have been made from perishable materials such as wood.

Who built them?

Though the date of the jars’ construction is thought to have been during the Southeast Asian Iron Age (500 BC-200 AD), little is known about the prehistoric peoples who called Laos home at that time. Some archaeologists (Eiji Nitta, for example) believe that the sites are much older, dating back as far as the second millennium BC.

The civilisation responsible for the Plain of Jars probably used iron tools to craft its jars, and beads and bronze objects foreign to the area have been found – suggesting that it was a wealthy society that profited from its position on trade routes between China, Vietnam and the south.

Plain of Jars

What were they for?

The first archaeologists to study the Plain of Jars in the 1930s believed that they played a part in prehistoric burial practices, and what little evidence has been found around the jars does seem to support this theory. Human remains, beads, iron and bronze objects, and ceramics have been found inside and around the jars – some of them burnt, which suggests the practice of cremation. There are also several burial sites found near the jars, marked by stone discs, which may have been contemporary with the jars and connected to them in some way.

Local legends have many more interesting explanations for the existence of the Plain of Jars, however. One such story tells that the area was once home to a race of giants, whose king, Khun Cheung, had the jars constructed to brew rice wine to celebrate victory over his enemies. Another story claims that the jars were made from natural materials such as clay, sand, sugar and animal products before being fired in a giant kiln built inside a cave.

Yet another tradition holds that the jars were constructed to gather monsoon rainwater to supply locals and travellers in areas where fresh water was not readily available. This explanation is more creditable than the race of giants – and could even account for the presence of beads and other objects inside the jars, as travellers could have placed them inside as offerings to bring rainfall.

US bombing & present condition

During the Vietnam War, central Laos was subject to one of the most intensive carpet bombing campaigns in history. Between 1964 and 1973, the USA dropped more bombs on the Plain of Jars than they did in the whole of WWII, and as many of 80 million of these remained unexploded after impact.

Though the Plain of Jars is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lao government and UNESCO have worked together in recent years to clear these unexploded bombs. Nevertheless, many still remain and continue to provide a very real threat for locals and visitors to the area. Laos is considering putting the region up for World Heritage status, which would provide funds for further clearing, making way in turn for research efforts and tourism.

For now, the continued presence of unexploded bombs means you must be very careful to remain within designated viewing areas when visiting any of the jar sites.

Visiting the Plain of Jars

Phonsavan is the gateway to the Plain of Jars, and can be reached by aeroplane, car or bus. A bus from Vietiane to Phonsavan takes around 10-12 hours, and from either Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang takes around 8 hours.

The most visited sites are sites one, two and three, and these can be reached by motorbike or car. There are also lots of agents in Phonsavan who arrange tours of the three sites, as well as some other local sites of note – such as Hmong villages. Alternatively, you could hire a bicycle and make the 45-minute ride to site one – the most impressive of the three sites.

Entrance to each of the jar sites is 10,000 Kip (80p).





Beautiful Burma

16 04 2015

Burma has just been celebrating Thingyan, the Theravada Buddhist New Year. If you think you’ve missed all the action, don’t worry…

In Burma, there’s always something interesting and eye-catching going on!

Early morning markets are the locals’ favourite gathering place. Shopping & socializing seems to be a popular combination all over the world!

Shopping for flowers  Local cooking

Markets

Buddhist initiation ceremonies are taking place in pagodas all across the country. You might even see a Buddhist initiation procession.

Celebrations Festival time

Train stations always attract an interesting crowd.

The slow train  Yangon railway

Waiting around

Sunrises and sunsets are the moments when magic happens!

Sunset fishing Ubein Bridge Stupa susnsets

Schwedagon

Meeting the locals is best in Burma – Generally fun loving, warm hearted people, full of smiles.

Myanmar smiles

 A512A513

Smiles

Thanaka kids

There’s always something happening in Burma!

Farming Romance

-oh well, maybe not always ;-)

News flowers make me sleepy








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