Photoblog: Faces of Myanmar

Posted on June 6, 2012 by

For every traveler, there is always that one place which truly resonates. A place that you deeply connect with and gives you a strong sense of belonging. After experiencing Madagascar last year, I didn’t think I would find another place that stirs up such feelings – but Myanmar changed my mind. Having been isolated from the world, this country offers time travel, back to the days when roads were non-existent, creaking buses throttled along with hundreds of passengers onboard, and locals greeted one another like old friends. It is a country that fuels your emotions with its thousands of sacred stupas, poetic Buddhist towns, and mystical lakes.

As beautiful as Myanmar is, it’s the people who really captivated me. In this raw and untouched country, every you look, there are betelnut-chewing men with traditional longyi cloths wrapped around their loins, and women spotting white thanaka powder on their faces. And almost all of them wear a smile and a sparkle in their eyes. Before arriving in Myanmar, I had imagined its people to be subdued and conservative – after all, they had been isolated from the outside world for almost 15 years. But children and adults alike were always eager to shake our hands or talk to us. I lost count of the number of people who came up to us and said, “Thank you for coming to Myanmar. Welcome to our country!” Whether it was the monk who chatted with me for hours on the train, or the taxi-driver who told us stories about Myanmar, they were the ones who made this place so special.

Here’s a photographic tribute to Myanmar, showcasing its beautiful people and their endearing spirit. Hope they’ll give you a glimpse into their world.

A young boy on the train

A young boy gives me a nod of approval as we snap of a shot of him on the train from Bagan to Mandalay. He’s wearing thanaka on his face, a tree bark cream commonly used as a sunscreen.

Children playing along the banks of Inle Lake

A group of children are having a bath along the banks of the Inle Lake as we zip by on our dugout canoe. They wave and cheer loudly, happy to see tourists coming for a visit.

A fisherman at work

Using traditional fishing techniques, this fisherman sails out to the middle of Inle Lake in search of his catch of the day.

A boy scrubs up his water buffalo

In the murky water of Inle Lake, a teenager scrubs down his water buffalo, an animal extremely important to rural Burmese families who depend on it for labor.

A young man rows his boat in search for tourists on the Ayeyarwady River

A young man rows out on his boat along the Irrawaddy River in Mandalay. He’s also seen wearing thanaka cream on his face as a way to protect his skin from the sun.

At the market

Vendors sell fruits in Inn Dein, a village along the bank of Inle Lake .


A Karen tribal lady

A Karen minority tribe lady spots hard golden bangles around her neck. We met her at a workshop at Inle Lake – they don’t usually live in the area but have moved there to find work.

Young monks waving at us from a boat

AA boatful of young monks wave enthusiastically at the tourists as groups of foreigners sail across the Inle Lake. Burmese – young or old, are genuinely curious of the outside world.

Young monks crossing the U Bein Bridge

Monks cross the rickety U Bein bridge in Amarapura –  thhis is also the world’s longest teak bridge.

Note: Special thanks to Myanmar Travel who provided plenty of valuable advice and tips. Myanmar Travel is not in anyway associated with the military government. All opinions expressed above are my own.

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

15 Responses to “Photoblog: Faces of Myanmar”

  1. Jeremy Branham June 7, 2012 11:49 pm #

    Love the photos of the people. I am sure the country is a fascinating place to visit but the real key to connecting with a place is its people. Most of the people here look so happy and friendly although I am sure their lives aren't easy.

  2. apol June 8, 2012 11:33 am #

    great photos! So monks of Myanmar have red robes?

    • Nellie Huang June 18, 2012 2:15 am #

      Yes, Burmese monks follow Theravada Buddhism so they wear red robes as a symbol.

  3. jaime June 26, 2012 5:36 am #

    These are amazing photos. Make me so eager to get to Myanmar ASAP.

  4. Flashpacker August 1, 2012 1:07 am #

    Just departed from Myanmar after three weeks touring around the country. We especially enjoyed Bagan and Inle Lake for the spectacular vistas, the photographic opportunities are great, as are your travel photographs.

  5. techincal writer August 8, 2012 8:26 pm #

    Amazing photos, the kids look lovely and happy

  6. Michael September 7, 2012 10:25 pm #

    These people in Thailand resembles the looks of Filipinos. They also have good relationship in economical matters. I must also say you have good action photos.

  7. Agarwals October 15, 2012 12:26 am #

    Beautiful pictures. The enchantment of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) has been legendry, not only for its cultural and natural heritages but also for its rich eco-diversities such as fresh air, green mountain ranges, picturesque landscapes, large lakes, long rivers and un-spoilt beaches all of which are unique in the region. Moreover, more than one hundred and thirty five different ethnic groups are as beautiful and colorful as the country itself.

  8. Allensharon October 17, 2012 2:35 am #

    Absolutely awesome pictures ! I like to plan a trip for Mynamar after seeing this.This was a nice blog.

  9. vandana.germansoft October 17, 2012 3:12 am #

    Amazing photos, the kids look lovely and happy

    • Nellie Huang October 21, 2012 8:07 pm #

      Thanks Vandana, yes the children indeed look really happy playing in the water. The Burmese are a really friendly bunch!

  10. hemanth October 17, 2012 11:17 am #

    Brilliant post will some sought of sentiment… After visiting you have felt deeply connected but for me after seeing the pics and ur post i really felt me deeply connected to my heart . Good one!!

  11. Stacey April 17, 2014 2:04 am #

    Such beautiful photo's! Thank you for sharing! ":)


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