Tuesday, 13 January 2015

6 days in Myanmar: First solo travel experience

There are many things on my bucket list that I wanted to cross off and one of them was to go on a solo trip. Honestly, before I embarked on this trip to Myanmar, I was feeling uncertain about whether I would actually like traveling alone. Sure, I have grown to be more independent over the years and I had been alone by myself overseas for a day or two when my trip got extended or when schedules didn't meet. But, going on a solo trip brings a kind of anticipation and fear that is not like those felt before.

A day before my departure, I started to panic. Well, I decided that this trip shall be something different and refused to do any planning prior to the trip. No accommodation, no buses, no plans at all for the entire trip. Maybe I was just giving myself an excuse to be lazy. However, being the worry wart that I am, I started to bombard myself with a lot of "What ifs". What if I cannot find accommodation when I am there? What if all the buses are fully booked? This period (Nov-Feb) happens to be the peak period for travel in Myanmar, hence all my (excessive) worries.

But I am so glad I decided to take a leap of faith and go ahead with this trip. Through this trip, I got to meet so many incredible people and more importantly, I got to understand my own beliefs and values better. I still don't know for sure if travel helps me to find myself or to lose myself even further, but it certainly gave me many life lessons that I can't be grateful enough for.

Why did I choose Myanmar as my destination? There are many factors that played a part. Firstly, I wanted to visit a Southeast Asia country to backpack. Secondly, I did some research (googling) and the general consensus online was that Myanmar is a very safe place, with very friendly people. Lastly and most importantly, I wanted to go somewhere where I will get to have my peace and break. Yes, it didn't take me long to decide on Myanmar and I am glad that my decision didn't disappoint.

Summary of my 6 days spent in Myanmar

Yangon --> Inle Lake --> Bagan --> Yangon

I had 6 full days in Myanmar. If you are wondering how long you should spend there, I would recommend at least 10 days. I would definitely visit the country again because I did not have the time to finish visiting all the places I wanted to visit.

The usual route for most tourists would be to visit the four main cities: Yangon, Inle Lake, Bagan, Mandalay. You can probably finish all 4 places in 7/8 days. But I would want to visit the villages and the small towns the next time I am there!

Please check back to read more on my 6 days in Myanmar ^^

Ending off with a quote I just came across in the book I am reading:

Travel is at its best a solitary enterprise: to see, to examine, to assess, you have to be alone and unencumbered. Other people can mislead you; they crowd your meandering impressions with their own; if they are companionable they obstruct your view, and if they are boring they corrupt the silence with non-sequiture, shattering your concentration with "Oh, look, it's raining" and "You see a lot of trees here."

It is hard to see clearly or to think straight in the company of other people. What is required is the lucidity of loneliness to capture that vision which, however banal, seems in your private mood to be special and worthy of interest.

- Paul Theroux


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