Balloon Festival

The November full moon is cause for celebration in Taunggyi, Myanmar. The Hot Air Balloon Festival must be seen to be believed. It was a wild and wonderful way to end our trip. As beautiful as they are, still images can not adequately capture the cacophony of light and sound. Have a look at the…

Balloon Festival Parade

This was one of the most beautiful sights we saw during our trip to Burma. The parade was the first act of our most amazing evening.

Getting Ready to Party in Taunggyi

The Balloon Festival in Taunggyi has to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest party in all of Burma. This incredible event takes place during November’s full moon, and has to be seen to be believed. These shots were taken as the sun went down and spirits began to heat up.

Pa-O Home Life, Winya Village

We visited this delightful old couple in their home on the way back from Kakku. Although we could not understand a word of what they said, their warmth and hospitality could not be missed. It’s impossible to imagine living like these two, but at nearly 80 years old, they seemed as happy as any two…

Two More Kakku Panoramas

Well, it’s been five months since we returned from Burma, and I’m still looking at the pictures pretty much every day. Luckily, I like looking at pretty pictures of things and places I’ve seen. No matter how good (or bad) you think these images are, they definitely look even better to me, and hopefully, Kelly…

Kakku and Pa-O People

On the morning of our twelfth day in Burma, our guide told us we would be taking a three and a half hour drive to Kakku. This is the amount of time required to drive 26 miles on Burma’s horrible roads. Our rough ride took us to yet another truly amazing site – more than…

The Spa at the Inle Princess

Kelly enjoyed a pedicure at the spa at the fabulous Inle Princess on day 11 of our Burma trip. Later, we had a bottle of wine delivered to the room where we relaxed as the sunset. Later still, we were surprised to see a grass fire in the distance. Based on the reaction of the…

Shwe Inn Thein

I can not believe that it’s almost March, and I’m still posting images from our November trip to Burma! These were taken on a lovely hill above the five day market in Indein. The 800 temples are in various states of disrepair, but a few have been meticulously restored.

Indein and Five-Day Market

It’s day 11 of our trip now. We left our room at the Inle Princess and floated to this huge market where we did a bit of shopping and a lot of people-watching.

Burmese Blacksmiths

After the silk-weaving, we moved on to another labor-intensive activity – turning leaf springs into knife blades. We’ve seen this sort of work before, but the way this team of men worked the hot steel was something to see. Here are a couple of videos. Get the Flash Player to see this movie. Get the…

Lotus Silk

This has to be one of the most labor-intensive jobs we saw while in Burma. We saw a lot of meticulous work being performed by Burmese women, but these women had less to show for a full day’s work than most – a few yards of colored lotus silk thread.

Lunch on Inle Lake

We left our beautiful room at the Inle Princess early in the morning to take in some of the sites on Inle Lake. On the way, we saw how leg-rowing can leave both hands free for untangling fishing nets. We stopped and had a delicious lunch and cool beers at a restaurant with beautiful lake…

Inle Lake

After ten days in Burma we had come to expect the unexpected. We began our trip to the Inle Princess Resort in a noisy diesel-driven long boat. It was along the way that we saw our first leg-rowers. Yes, they really do row with their leg. It’s a balancing act you have to see to…

U Bein Bridge

Later that day we took an emotionally draining walk half way across the U Bein Bridge. Along the way the sites ranged from beautiful to bizarre. We might have walked back too, but opting for a boat ride instead meant we would not have to see the heart-breaking sights again. Once in the boat, we…

Mahamuni Pagoda

I’ll change the title of this entry as soon as my guide replies to my e-mail asking him where we were when we shot these. At least I remember why we came. It was to see an unusual Buddha. At this temple and elsewhere, it’s customary for worshipers to purchase a small piece of gold…

World’s Largest Book

Yet another of ancient Burma’s mind-boggling sights on the grounds of the Kuthodaw Pagoda, this “book” consists of 729 stupas – each containing a single two-sided page from the massive Pāli Canon. Wikipedia has a nice shot from Mandalay Hill, which gives you a better idea of the size of this “book”.

Shwe Nan Daw Monastery

After a boat ride back from Mingun and a delicious Thai lunch with our wonderful guide, we visited an ancient monastery – every square inch of it carved by hand. This most beautiful teak wood building, was erected inside the Palace at Mandalay by king Mindon, the founder of Mandalay. After he died in 1878,…

Our Number One Travel Tip

You can avoid the throngs of children and the trinkets they they have for sale by taking advantage of the local transportation. Here we avoid the onslaught by taking a peaceful, but bumpy ride on an oxcart back to our boat.

Mya Thein Tan

I swear that I saw this lovely temple referred to as the “whipped cream temple” somewhere. You can see why. This was one of my favorite temples. Nearby, we stopped to have a look at the Massive Mingun Bell. Weighing in at 90 tons, it is the world’s largest cast bronze bell.

Mingun in the Morning

On the morning of our ninth day in Burma, we took another slow boat ride up the Irrawaddy. This time, our destination was the huge, unfinished Mingun Pahtodawgyi. If it had been finished, it would have easily been the largest pagoda in Burma – nearly 500 feet tall! In its ruined state, it’s merely the…

Even in Burma, Obama is The Man

This well-dressed man ran up to us and asked if we were American. When we said yes, he held up this newspaper and nearly shouted, “Obama! I love this man! I’m going to frame this picture and hang it on my wall!” We were greeted with this sort of excitement about our president-elect everywhere we…

OK – Back to Burma

Now that the Christmas carnage is over, I can finally share another of those “Man, it’s a small world!” moments that happened to us while in Burma. On the eighth day of our trip, we told our guide that we were too tired to go out that night. We said we’d just stay in and…

Burmese Santa Claus

The very last thing we thought we’d be bringing home from Burma is Christmas cards! We bought these from one of the many children who descended on us at every tourist stop. Anyway, I’m glad we bought them – they are so unusual. 🙂

Syun Oo Pone Nya Shin Temple

This beautiful temple is on Sagaing Hill, has a great view of the Irrawaddy River and a fantastic tile floor. We loved the colors and the geometric patterns. The shot was made by stitching eight images together. The view encompasses a bit more than 180 degrees.

Syun Oo Pone Nya Shin

This is not my favorite Buddha, but the light is nice, and you can see the LED halo better than on most of my shots.

Kaung Mhu Daw Pagoda

This was shot inside one of the five prayer halls flanking the pagoda. I have some nice shots of the pagoda itself which I will publish in a day or two. I think this one needs to stand alone. You can’t see it well in the gallery shot, but like many of the Buddha’s we…

Silk Weaving in Amurapura

On day 8, we saw how colorful silk fabrics are assembled one thread at a time at Thein Nyo Silk Weaving. The very detailed work is slow and repetitious, taking up to a month or more to finish a single piece of fabric. Workers are paid by the piece so sisters sometimes team up to…