Text and photos by: Marco Mucchiut
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been considered the ultimate destination in south-east Asia for adventurous travelers and backpackers for many years. With a population of 54 million, surrounded by Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, China and India and relatively unspoiled by tourism, the country presented itself as the perfect destination for people looking for a different experience.
Ruled by militias from 1962, the Democrats won the election in 2012 allowing tourism to flow into their borders once again after 50 long years of isolation. Naively my research before my travel (back in 2018) was barely minimum. I only worried about knowing where I was departing from, the time of arrival and where I would have spent my first night in the country. But the country had a surprise ready for me and once I got there I discovered an alien raw world, yet familiar as I travelled in other countries in South-Asia.
I landed in Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, and spent my trip backpacking in a loop between several big cities and small towns.
I immersed myself in the local costumes, meeting their people and eating their most popular food. Rapidly, I found myself captivated by the country and intrigued by its history and tradition. I was sad to learn how much this nation has suffered in the past and how much it stills suffers. George Orwell wrote: 1984 and Animal Farm inspired by his 5 years of military service spent here.
Despite its beauty and potential, Myanmar is once more facing challenging times as last February the military seized once more control of the country declaring the State of Emergency. Protesters are being dragged from their homes and arrested without warrants for carrying out peaceful demonstrations against the military. People are dying and the situation is very unstable. I would like to use this article to honor the beauty of a country and its people. A country that surprised me from the very first moment that I arrived. Writing these lines has also given me the opportunity to think outside of the box and realize that that the current COVID-19 situation is not the only issue in the world.