This website may ask your browser to store cookies. See our Cookies Policy for more information about our use of cookies.

Back to news index

James Palmer on prospecting in Myanmar

posted on 05/04/16

I arrived into Yangon, formerly Rangoon, and was immediately struck by the sense of calm, the warm welcome from every quarter and the distinct lack of beeping horns. A particular pleasure here was the ability to explore the city on foot. The once majestic buildings of Customs House, the Post Office, Irrawaddy Chambers and the Secretariat stand in varying stages of disrepair, but all hanging onto their histories. Gaining access to these made the stories come alive. Walking was also the perfect way to see daily Yangon life: commuters stopping for a road side breakfast of mohinga (fish curry with noodles) served with a spicy green mango salad and endless green tea.

Lake Inle is in complete contrast to the colonial grandeur of Yangon. Villages made up of stilted houses dot the lake, set among their floating gardens. I had to keep reminding myself it was not solid land but plots of water hyacinth bedded together and held in place with bamboo canes. Life really does exist on the water and the only means of travel is canoe – motorised or man-powered. Even monks must collect their daily alms this way, by being paddled from house to house.

A market rotates around the lake’s main towns and residents gather to sell their wares. Pa’O women, with their black tunics and red striped headscarfs sit with heaps of fiery chillies, brought down from the surrounding Shan mountains. There are beans, vibrant vegetables, and fish, some fresh from the lake, still flapping, others dried and pungent.

Visit our Facebook page to see more photos from James’ visit.

Contact us to register your interest in our Myanmar tour.