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Burma (Myanmar) countryside photos 1999

Burma (Myanmar), Asia

Burma (Myanmar) facts & history in brief

The ruling military government changed Burma's name to the Union of Myanmar in 1989 and the capital and largest city Rangoon to Yangon, the changes recognised by the UN, but not by all governments.
It is in South East Asia, bordered by China, on Laos, Thailand, the Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh and India.

A great variety of wild animals found in its forest and jungles, such as the tiger and leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, wild buffalo, wild boar, and several species of deer and antelope.

Population of around 45 million mainly Buddhist of Mongol or Chinese origin speaking a monosyllabic and polytonal dialect, similar to those of Tibet and China and is the official language and based on the Sanskrit alphabet. It is ruled by the military since 1988.

Burma has a strong Buddhist culture with Indian culture influences and is widely known as the Land of Golden Pagodas because of the numerous temples it has.

Capital, largest city and seaport is Rangoon, now called Yangon.

We arrived from Thailand and we were forced to exchange US$300 per person to enter Burma (Myanmar), which we were told when we applied for our visas.

After a few days in Rangoon (Yangoon) we were going to be taken by a very unreliable travel firm to Bagan (Pagan), Mandalay, Pyinmana, Toungoo and back to Rangoon.

It did not work out that way though.
About a hundred kilometres before we got to Bagan our driver, hit a pedestrian, he was a drunk a little bit and wondered front of our car.
It was really unavoidable.

We had to spend a very unpleasant couple of hours sitting in the middle of the little village under police guard, stared at by the passing villagers, who already heard our story on the 'bush telegraph' and seen us as strangers anyway.
It was around midnight, with my young wife and 12 year old son.
It was rather unpleasant.

We did not go to bed until 3am.
The driver had to go back to sort out his accident with the police.
That was the end of that trip with the car.

The travel firm, although we prepaid the whole tour, left us there.
We had to arrange to fly to Mandalay and back to Rangoon at our own expense.

We never managed to see Pyinmana and Toungoo of course.

Our letters of complaints and asking for compensation to the travel firm, their directors, to the Minister of Tourism and the Travel Association etc are all unanswered to date.

I advise anybody travelling to Burma (Myanmar) to be very careful.

The Burmese countryside is very different and an awesome experience.

We went through numerous villages, which we could see from a distance during the day by an encircling stand of trees and smoke and dust over it. At and after dusk they were similarly visible by the lights caught in the smoke and dust hovering over them.

Many huts and hamlets spread all over the desert like terrain between the villages, have their houses built on stilts and their animals kept under the houses for shelter and security.

The paved roads became narrower after about 100 km from Rangoon, not quite wide enough for two way traffic.
Cars, trucks and every other means of transport approach each other at full speed, head-on and one, it was our taxi normally, pulled off the road to let the others to pass.

It was a nerve racking experience at the beginning as we were unaccustomed to it.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.

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