I say HAVE instead of should because I’m a dramatic person by nature. After visiting Myanmar for the first time, I’ve collected a list of a few things that you HAVE to do when traveling in Yangon or else you’re just not living. Not. Living. You got it?
I’m super passionate about Myanmar because something struck a chord with me when I visited Myanmar for the first time. I can’t get over the uniqueness of the culture and how welcoming the country is to outsiders after such a long time with closed borders. It wasn’t until 2013 that tourism really started happening and the country is rich with opportunities for change and development. I feel privileged to have seen Myanmar before it was cool and I’m so thankful that I started Wander Onwards, not just because of the free perks, but because it acts as a personal diary for my adventures around the world.
If you’re planning to travel to developing nations, I can’t encourage you enough to start a blog so you can watch the environment change as the years continue. At the very least, be sure to do the following 3 things while traveling through Myanmar to really experience the country for what it is.
1. Feast on Khaosay Thote noodles
As a traditional Burmese dish, Khaosay Thote noodles are one of the cheapest food options around and the most delicious. I probably ate one bowl during every meal and I STILL couldn’t get enough. Meals are incredibly social events in Myanmar so feel free to make friends with the locals at restaurants and bars (like we did) and keep in mind that you might be the only foreigner these people have ever met, depending where you are in the country.
2. Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda
I want to submit a formal application to classify the Shwedagon Pagoda as one of the wonders of the world as it is THE most breath-taking monument I’ve seen so far. Sure Singapore has all of its fancy architecture, but can you imagine what it took to build the Shwedagon Pagoda 2,500 years ago? Be sure to take your time in the pagoda and to stay in a hotel AWAY from it as there are hourly calls for prayer that starts at 5am. I made the mistake of staying within walking distance and, like clock work, I was woken up at the crack of dawn. Every. Damn. Day.
I was privileged to be able to train in Burmese boxing at the Thut Ti Myanmar Lethwei Club while I was traveling in Yangon with the help of a local Burmese friend. I was connected to Lethwei Champion Lone Chaw via our AWESOME travel guide Sai and we got to train for an hour with Lone Chaw in his private boxing ring. “We” being my main dude Drew from The Hungry Partier. Truth be told, when we first walked in I was TERRIFIED. Lone Chaw seemed super intimidating and frequently smacked us with pads if we didn’t perform a combination correctly. However, at the end of the training session, Lone Chaw’s hard exterior melted away. He shyly asked us for our contact information and for a picture to hangup on this wall. Turns out he’s a huge softy (that can also kill a man) because look how scare he looks of me in the picture.
For more information on Burmese Boxing click here. For more information on how to get in contact with Lone Chaw click here.