This is the day I’ve been expecting. This is the country I’m more excited to know about: Myanmar, or Burma, as many still know it. I have a lot of expectations about this land, without even knowing that this would be my favorite country ever, and I have been to 19 different countries.
I’m flying from Kolkata to Mandalay, but there are no direct connections from India to Myanmar, so I needed to stop in Bangkok first. I reach Myanmar and the 1st thing I do is to buy a SIM card, as I don’t want to feel so insecure about what I’m doing as I did in India. Going from India to Mandalay, it’s like going from hell to heaven. Not that India is hell, but it’s the total opposite of Myanmar. It’s going from overcrowded to quite, from being approached every second to no one cares about you, from having all the looks, to feel just like another person, from all the garbage to a much cleaner scenario. They are the opposite of each other. Maybe that’s why I liked Myanmar so much? Not really, everything in this country was too good for me. My thought that after India anything could be worst is the truth.
I get out of the airport to enter a clean, not crashed and falling apart vehicle. The men are dressed with some kind of skirt and have yellow paint on the face. I wasn’t expecting this… I hadn’t searched about Burmese people so I knew nothing.
We hit the road towards the city. The way has nothing to do with what I’m used to seeing in India. It looks like a desert. So chill, so quiet, so clean, so perfect! Just on my 1st hour in Myanmar, I knew this would be a very relaxing and beautiful place. The golden tips standing far away were exciting to me. Myanmar is the golden land. Everything is gold and very shiny, I mean the pagodas, and there are a lot of pagodas in this country. Along the way, I met several travelers that were “Pagoded out” – an expression you will hear a lot from travelers meaning: tired to see Pagodas.
When you reach the airport you have a shared taxi service that is very comfortable. I was the last one leaving the vehicle, but all the chilling surrounding wasn’t stressing me out. I enter the hostel and a welcoming smile on everyone’s faces received me along with a cup of juice. What is this? I feel like I’m in Paradise. – Oh, India I still love you a lot. But this was actually the best Hostel I had my whole trip. Even its name had Gold on it. It’s a hostel and hotel at the same time and their breakfast is a self-service one with a lot of several different things to choose from.
I take a nap as I’m very tired from the long flights. After lunch, I decided that I will walk to the Mandalay Royal Palace. I walked for 1h to reach it. I loved the walk. No one is trying to sell me stuff, no one is staring at me, I’m totally free. I can do whatever I feel like doing, I can stop on the road to check the map, I can look at people. I spent a lot of time inside, just chilling. Myanmar isn’t a very touristic place, and maybe this is the reason why it is so special and unique. It’s almost untouched, they have really unique things from their culture I haven’t seen anywhere else. I have no words to explain how much I liked this country.
I had my 1st motorbike ride as my feet were on blisters of walking a lot… It was so much fun!! The guy was laughing a lot because I never rode a moto on the back and I was grabbing him strong. I remember I went all the way with a smile on my face. And this smile lasted for a month. People here are so nice, so welcoming, so good, so gentle that I had a smile on my face EVERY SINGLE DAY of my stay in this country. Where else in the world can you get this feeling? I was the happiest person in the world here, the freest one. No one judging you.
I visited the Kuthodaw Pagoda after this ride. I was very curious to see it. It’s such a calm place. I just sit there and stay for as long as I wish to relax and see how Burmese people are. It has a magical sound involving it. Every Pagoda has a bell on the top that rings with the wind and that’s how the sound of a magical place is born. And that’s one of Myanmar’s sounds for me.
I Loved my first day. I’m sure I will like Myanmar from the moment I get out of that airport, and so it was.