Let’s go to Myanmar to feel the fast lifestyle in Yangon and and slow pace of life in Bagan. Myanmar – the land with thousands of temples is increasingly attracting tourists.
“Quick” in Yangon
Myanmar’s capital banned motorcycles but not so it lost the bustling atmosphere of the country’s largest city. Compared to my first trip three years ago, Myanmar today is more modern and vibrant.
The great thing is that in the bustle and bustle of life, we still feel a little softness of the present life. Many taxis appear on the streets to pick up guests.
The pigeons swoop down the street despite traffic. Pigeons walk on sidewalk for pedestrians, parked in the roofs of high-rise buildings, in pagodas, or on electric wires.
The messenger of peace is present everywhere in the land of pain of ethnic strife. Although the seeds of years of conflict have not completely vanished, Myanmar today has become much more peaceful and worth living.
There is no need to try observing, no need to search for “Welcome to Myanmar” anywhere, just look at the longyi (dress) worn by men in the country that 90% of the population are Buddhist, it also feels like greetings for visitors to visit. You are standing on the land of Myanmar then because only here you see the men wrapped longyi like this.
There are many buildings, many taxis, and of course, no shortage of pedestrians downstream but Yangon is not too noisy by the sounds of life. But perhaps because Myanmar is the land of Buddha so just a little hustle and bustle, a little vibrant also makes people feel the pace of life here hustle.
Set foot on the Buddha’s land, of course we must go to Buddhist temples. Like many others, we are present in Shwedagon Golden Temple. The sacred 2500-year-old temple in Yangon has many stories inside it.
According to the rules, when entering the temple in Myanmar, everyone has to remove their shoes and bare feet. Nevertheless, despite the sunny weather, the temple ground is burning hot, many visitors are still eager to go around Shwedagon Pagoda to celebrate and explore.
Regarding hot sunshine, Myanmar women (men also apply Thanaka but not much) has a unique way of sunscreen is to whitewash Thanaka face. It is a powder that is crushed from the bark and applied to the face, protecting the skin against ultraviolet rays.
However, what I wonder is that they mostly just rub the sides of the cheeks that usually do not cover all the cheeks (less on the hands and forehead). If so, how can sunscreen be effective because there are still many exposed skin?
Back at Shwedagon, the pagoda has a main tower and countless smaller towers. All the towers are gold and real gold. At the top of the main tower is also the diamond, rubies. All are precious, expensive but they are still preserved intact, absolutely no theft.
I asked at the pagoda what security measures were taken to protect the towers in gold, my Burmese friend, a rare person who can speak English that I met in Shwedagon told me there was no great protection.
Among the gold plated in the population of the Shwedagon towers, about one third was voluntarily contributed by the people despite Myanmar’s per capita income of only $ 100 per capita per month.
Usually, in the afternoon, so many Burmese go to Shwedagon, including girl, boys, the youth, the elder… Indications show how strong their faith. In addition to the main tower of 100m high and the numerous small towers all gold plated, it struck me that there are many angels in the temple. People not only pray in the halls but outside there are many different prayer angles.
According to the calendar of Myanmar, there are 8 days a week, of which the fourth day is Wednesday Morning and Wednesday Afternoon. Every day with a lucky god and a mascot.
Sunday is a golden bird, a god bird in Hinduism. Monday is the tiger. Tuesday is the lion. The first half of Wednesday is elephant with ivory, the latter half of Wednesday is an elephant without ivory. Thursday is the mouse. Friday is the pig and the Saturday is the dragon.
Every corner of the prayer is “Sunday corner”, “Monday corner”, “Tuesday corner” … Every corner has a Buddha and a symbolic mascot corresponding to the day of the week below.
Whoever was born on that day went to the prayer corner for that day, took the cup of water from the tap and poured it on top of the Buddha or symbolic mascot. When doing so, the Burmese pray for good luck and peace.
“Slow” in Bagan
Everyone who comes to the city of the temples also wakes up very early, going quickly to Shwesandaw Temple to welcome the sunrise and then stand here waiting for the sunset.
The West is crowded on the 3rd floor of the pagoda where the beautiful view is famous for all kinds of cameras from the small to big ones, short or long lens or sometimes just a smart phone. Everyone is full of eager and attentive, look forward to the sun and wait patiently to the right moments.
Then the “wow” exclaimed with excitement, surprised to capture the beautiful moment of nature. My guests are no exception. Boys and girls are in a state of “ready”, highly concentrated after having camped in Shwesandaw very early.
I would like to find my own Bagan more. So after completing the process of leading some visitors to the “must-see” that they were advertised, take guests to the airport, do the necessary procedures, I asked my Vietnamese friend on the same flight to take care of them on the flight back to Hanoi while I stayed and slowly looked for a Bagan of my own.
This is the city of the Buddha, so everywhere is temples. The temple is built of bricks, the top of the temple is a pyramid or pyramid. The two sides are smaller, symmetrical towers.
The temples look similar but one never gets tired of going to Bagan not to look at the buildings but to seduce their soul, immersed in the space of silence, silence to infinity , to feel very clear peace in the realm.
No sound. All sank into silence. Only me with myself in a peaceful world where peace rests. Where all the hustle and bustle of life is confined out there.
It is difficult to fully express that gentle, relaxed feeling when you let emotions lead into a fantasy world.
The temples are covered with sunshine and the time is still there, in the same year, like witnesses of a historical period. So many morning and afternoon comes and goes in this ancient land.
Day by day, millions of sunlight shines its brilliant light on Buddhist monuments as reminiscent of all about a period of history that never fades and the sun’s rays begin to sink, leaving the temple standing there, lonely in the dim light.
Life is impermanent but time has stopped in Bagan when anyone can find for themselves a realm. The peace conquers the soul when it is lost in the eternal somewhere. Time passes like a cloud.
Many of the great temples and palaces of a time have become ruined when the rain and sun shatter more and more layers of green moss on the walls of red brick. But the feeling of peace is the same. Not modern, not noisy.
Traveling to Bagan is a relaxing way to find old things. To feel the simplicity, calmness of a life slowly drifting on the land has never known the hustle and bustle of time.