Mysterious Myanmar – Land of Living Heritage

April 6th, 2008   •   7 comments   

Also known as the Golden Land, Myanmar is one of Southeast Asia’s largest and probably least well explored country. Culturally rich and vibrant, it is the only country in our region where the traditional sarong is still worn daily as a modern attire. Due to its relative isolation and insulation from the modern world, Myanmar retains much of its heritage, traditional practices and charming way of life. It is definitely a charming cultural destination worthy of a visit by those who yearn for a unique and enriching experience.

Here’s a photo essay of my observations during a trip there in end January this year. Apologies that this took two months to conceive!

Aung San Bogyoke Market, a famous shopping area at Yangon full of crafts, jewellery, textiles and other traditional wares.
Myanmar cuisine is less strongly flavoured than those of its neighbours, and tend to be less spicy.

Textile weaving – a trade long gone in Singapore – is a living tradition that is still alive and well in the land of thousand pagodas.

Just like the art of adorning various tapestries with ornate gold, silver and colourful sequins.

Wooden crafts and lacquerware are abundant here, like this container by monks to contain food offerings during their morning walks.

Artworks like oil paintings are abundant in the many art galleries across town. Many are inspired by religious or pastoral themes like monks, temples, markets and idyllic rural scenes.

One of the iconic temples at Bagan, an almost surrealistic landscape dotted with a thousand pagodas and temples in a grasslike Savanna setting. Believe this could be the largest temple there?

Two of the most iconic pagodas in Myanmar. First, the Shwezigon Pagoda located in Bagan, covered by gold leaves and glimmering in the day…

…followed by the world famous Shwedagon in Yangon, a 98 metre tall structure considered the holiest place in Myanmar purportedly containing four relics from Buddha. Claimed to be 2,500 years old according to legend, historians believe that it is more likely to be built from the 6th to 10th centuries.

We enjoyed this marionette performance at Mandalay, orchestrated by one of Myanmar’s living masters of puppetry. Deft and skillful, the puppeteers showed what it takes to make the wooden dolls come alive.

Myanmar dance is similar yet different to that of other Southeast Asian cultural dances. Its grace is epitomised by the sinewy movements of these undergraduates here from the Yangon University of Culture.

Who couldn’t resist snapping a shot of these kids in Myanmar, peddling their wares at a tender young age. Notice their yellow painted thanaka lined faces.

Another shot capturing the innocence, charm and poverty of Myanmar children.

Finally, a beautiful sunset captured from my hotel at Sedona Yangon.

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  1. Anonymous
    posted on Apr 06, 2008 at 8:57 AM

    Hi Walter,

    Looks like u enjoyed Myanmar. I hope to make a trip there this year.

    And you stayed at Sedona Hotel Yangon, that’s my hotel!I’m going to Hotel Sedona Manado for a week. Catch up with you when I’m back.


  2. posted on Apr 07, 2008 at 2:59 AM

    What a great look into daily life in Myanmar, Walter. Will be featuring your post later this week in my site! =D

  3. posted on Apr 08, 2008 at 10:05 AM

    I have not tried Myanmar cuisine before! It is similar to Chinese, Viet or Thai food?

  4. Anonymous
    posted on Aug 09, 2009 at 3:22 AM

    shwe see

  5. Anonymous
    posted on Sep 24, 2012 at 5:54 AM

    Hi Cool Insider,

    I came across your blog on Burma while I was surfing on the Burmese lacquerware. My mum was insistent that I get her one of the gold-plated offering vessel on my trip to Burma.

    Where is the shop where you took the picture of lacquerware located? Is it in Bagyoke Aung San Market, Yangon or somewhere else?

    Your reply is much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance :)

  6. posted on Sep 24, 2012 at 6:02 AM

    Hi Anonymous,

    There are quite a few lacquerware shops around Yangon close to the Bagyoke Aung San market. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where that photo is taken. You may be able to get quality Burmese lacquerware if you ask the local taxi operators. Remember to bring crisp US dollar notes (no tears and minimal creases) as credit cards are not accepted there.

  7. Anonymous
    posted on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Hi Walter,

    Thanks for the info.

    Getting pristine US dollar notes is another hurdle for me.:P

    Thanks again.

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