Jun 21 2014

Ethnic minorities of Burma: The Pa-O

Published by under Culture

Elderly Pa-O woman at Aung Ban

You won’t stay long in western Shan State without coming across the ubiquitous Pa-O people, who are the second largest ethnic group in Shan State, after of course the Shan themselves. Their homeland tends to correspond with the most visited part of Shan State, the Kalaw, Pindaya and Inle lake region, although the Pa-O are also … read the full post

May 08 2014

Ethnic minorities of Burma: The Akhu

Published by under Shan State

The famous bamboo pipes

A proposed visit to a village of the Akhu minority near Kengtung caused a bit of confusion to begin with. “Yes, we know the Akha, we’ve seen lots of their villages in Thailand and Laos. They’re famous for selling wooden frogs on Khao San Road.” Guide: “No, no — Akhu not Akha. The ‘bamboo pipe people’.” We … read the full post

Dec 23 2013

Ethnic minorities of Burma: The Enn

Published by under Shan State

Fashion conscious Enn lad on his way to Kengtung market

The Enn highlanders are one of Burma and Shan State’s most fascinating ethnic groups. Many other minorities of southern Shan State may well have been encountered by visitors in Laos or Northern Thailand, but the Enn — sometimes written Ann or Eng — are unique to Burma and indeed to the Kengtung region. The Enn are also one … read the full post

Nov 18 2013

The Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival

Published by under Shan State

Below the fire lattice, ready to go.

Set by the Shan State capital of Taunggyi, the annual Fire Balloon festival is quite the event, drawing hordes of people from the surrounds and a trickle of foreign travellers. This is not a sleepy meditative religious event but more akin to an international music festival with tens of thousands of people enjoying a carnival-like … read the full post

Nov 15 2013

Meiktila to Kalaw, the scenic way

Published by under Shan State

They're on the roof too.

After a quick early morning runaround Meiktila (giant duck thing √ water pagoda √ lake √ noodles √) it was time to bail and head to Kalaw. I grabbed a motorcycle taxi for the kilometre-ish run up to near the bus station where my moto delivered me to the next minibus heading to Kalaw. Downstairs … read the full post

Oct 28 2013

Should you book in advance for high season travel in Burma (Myanmar)?

Published by under Money & costs

Keep dreamin...

We’ll keep this post short and to the point: if you’re on the “greatest hits” loop in Burma (Myanmar) ie Yangon -> Bagan -> Mandalay -> Inle Lake -> Yangon, and are travelling between November and February, then the answer to the question of whether you should book in advance for high season travel is … read the full post

Oct 18 2013

Portraits of Kengtung

Published by under Shan State

Woman from the Enn ethnic group

Now that land border crossing regulations have been relaxed, it’s easy to travel to Kengtung from the Mae Sai-Tachilek crossing. Kengtung is an old British administrative post, the largest town of eastern Shan State and the former “capital” of the Golden Triangle; it’s just a short drive north of the crossing on a decent and … read the full post

Oct 06 2013

Mawlamyine street life

Published by under Culture

Colourful Indian market vendor

Mawlamyine, or Moulmein, is to our minds one of the most photogenic towns in Burma. The town’s fantastic location boasts ancient temples overlooking dramatic limestone crags to the east and the picturesque islands and seascapes of the Salween Estuary to the west, and the locals lack the shyness you so often see among those living … read the full post

Sep 27 2013

Weather in Bagan

Published by under Practicalities

Palms and acacias at Bagan

The climate within Burma can vary considerably, so if you’ve got a particular destination you’re keen on visiting, it’s worth checking ahead to see how it’s affected by the seasons. What time of year is ideal to visit Bagan? Bagan is smack bang in the centre of Burma’s best known microclimate, the famous (Ed: well, … read the full post

Sep 23 2013

When’s a good time to visit Burma?

Published by under Practicalities

More tourists than locals at this Inle market during high season

When’s a good time to visit Burma (Myanmar)? The question slips easily off potential visitors’ tongues but… there is no easy answer. We’re going to stay on the proverbial fence by saying that when it comes to travelling to Burma, all periods of the year have their pros and cons. Here’s a brief rundown on … read the full post

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