Rangoon was once the richest city in the richest country in Southeast Asia. Today it is a poor city in the poorest country in the region. Myanmar’s economy today is outstripped by those of Laos and Cambodia – nearby countries that have suffered the ravages of foreign invasions and a despotic government.
When I saw the picture of the Golden Rock Pagoda, I was struck by the danger of choosing such a dangerous site as a place for a pagoda. The presence of a reliquary spire of a hair of Buddha embedded in the rock prevents the rock from toppling down the side of the mountain.
Bagan was the capitol of Burma from 850 to 1300. At that time, there were some 13,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries scattered over 50 sq km in Bagan. Today there are only about 2,200 left. Kublia Kahn’s conquest of Thaton in 1057 led to the destruction of thousands of these temples.
In Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, it is not unusual to see people build their houses partly or completely over water even when there is dry land nearby. Why? Beats me! But they do it so often I have to believe there is a reason for it; Jan Wall explores several Asian quirks and customs!
A few weeks ago I visited the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yagon, Myanmar and I’m still recovering from the enormity of the experience. As you see from the pictures, the pagoda is gigantic – standing 99 meters high.
I’ve been traveling now for 10 months and have seen many spectacular sights, most of which I’ve written about here on Life As A Human. Recently, I’ve been faced with a few challenging situations. In this blog, I’ll describe those challenges (mini-crises actually) and how I handled them. I’ll also give some advice that will be useful to anyone thinking about setting out on an extended trip of their own.
Ang Thong National Marine Park is one of those sights you just shouldn’t miss if you go to Koh Samui, Koh Phang or Koh Tao in the Bay of Thailand. The price was not exorbitant, the ship was suitable and the lunch was nutritious. If you go to southern Thailand, you definitely need to put this park on your list of places to see.
National Geographic Magazine came alive in flesh and blood for me when I visited a Long Neck Karin village in northern Thailand. I felt like I was at a zoo, but a zoo of women – they were smiling and welcomed the other tourists and me. I had my camera hanging around my neck so it was pretty clear I qualified as a gawker!
The Black House is a campus of 8 or 10 buildings that holds an eclectic collection of macabre, sombre and surreal art. The artist certainly brought out the dark side of humanity when he furnished the place with his art. Thought provoking, entertaining, amusing, sensual, primitive – good fun. Take your camera!
The White Temple near Chiang Rai, Thailand, is an extraordinary piece of Buddhist architecture. Although the temple shares many of the same architectural constructs found in all other Buddhist temples, this temple is dramatically unique in almost every other respect. This stunning, twinkling temple has a fairy-tale look to it that belies its deep religious purpose. Tourists in northern Thailand should put the White Temple on their ‘must see’ list of places to visit.