Remember the last time we hopped off the grid for three weeks trekking in the Everest Region of Nepal?
Well, we're doing it again - but this time to Burma.
Saturday morning Jesse and I fly out of Chiang Mai, back to Bangkok and then on to Yangon (Rangoon), the former capital of Myanmar (Burma). We have yet to leave Thailand and it's already a trip that has tested our travel planning prowess to the max. Most of the country is without reliable internet or even telephones it seems, meaning we've spent much of the past few days planning out our itinerary, and engaged in various confusing communications with Burmese airlines, train stations and endless guest houses.
Like Everest, this trip is bound to be an adventure. We'll be there for two weeks and are planning to spend time in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Kalaw and Inle Lake. Getting between these places in a country with very limited infrastructure will probably mean some hairy plane rides, at least one overnight train and a few very long bus rides.
But we can't be more excited. Almost every person we've met so far on this trip who has traveled to Burma has described it was their very favorite place they've been. Despite the oppressive political climate, the Burmese people are described as unbelievably kind and welcoming, the scenery and ancient ruins completely unworldly, and the experience unparalleled. We're going to try to be as responsible of tourists as we can, avoiding government-run enterprises, traveling independently and not speaking of the country's political chaos.
No question, it's going to be a very interesting two weeks. Due to increased counterfeiting and a closed monetary system, the only currency accepted for exchange in the country are crisp, completely new US $100 bills, and with no credit cards used we're going to need to stock up on cash. Due to poor internet and some recent issues surrounding foreign journalists, I'm also not planning on blogging too much, although I might upload a couple photos and quick impressions if I can.
Looking forward to another short technology break and what is bound to be quite the experience.
Until next time! - L