“They make one of the finest sights in the world, being exquisitely finished, splendid and costly. When illuminated by the sun they are especially brilliant and can be seen from the great distance’
-Marco Polo, upon visiting Bagan’s temples in the 13th Century
Cambodia’s more-iconic Angkor Wat complex may be the most famous of the Hindu / Buddhist temples, but many (including myself) would argue that the temples of Bagan, in central Myanmar, are the most spectacular to visit. While Angkor Wat has increasingly become a saturated tourist hotspot over the last 20 years, Bagan is still comparatively untouched.
With Myanmar finally opening up to tourism, this is going to soon change. Bagan will become the next Angkor Wat and you will not be able to experience it in solitude. Go now before the Chang Beer tanktops take over.
I’d heard great things about … Read More »
Hi. What’s your name?
“Before 1989, I was known as Burma. To separate me from my colonial past, my military government now calls me Myanmar. Both names come from the local Bamar ethnic group. The local intelligentsia and socially conscious travelers will still refer to me as ‘Burma’ to make a point. You can call me either.”
Do you speak English?
“Quite well. The British were here from 1824 to 1948. Today, English is widely spoken along the tourist routes and most locals are happy to communicate with you in basic English.”
When should I visit you?
“I hope you like the sun. Southern Burma, including the largest city of Yangon, is hotter and generally wetter, while northern Myanmar gets cool in the wet season and is generally drier. The hottest months throughout Burma are March and April. May to October comprises the ‘wet season’ … Read More »
Once considered the “rice bowl of Asia” for its wealth, Burma is now one of the most economically poor countries in the world. Despite the poverty, it is a stunning travel destination, filled with golden pagodas, colonial towns, beautiful beaches, and friendly, smiling locals along the way.
The largest city and gateway to all of Burma is Yangon (formerly Rangoon). Few large cities are as exotic as Yangon. This will be soon be changing, however. In the not-so-distant future, all of those sleepy, colorful, and crumbling British colonial buildings lined amid dark, quiet streets will be housing Japanese-Burmese fusion restaurants and British pubs playing six football games at a time via satellite. Thousands of tourists will swarm the city each day wearing Chang Beer tank tops and getting psyched up for their obligatory pub crawl. The sounds of LMFAO will be … Read More »
(the elder Steven Muzik, on the left, about to do something cool)
Recently, I was back in Ohio for Christmas. In the midst of my curious snooping, I came across a bit of a travelogue that my grandfather (by chance also named Steven Muzik) wrote in 1988 for a reunion. It recounts his time in Asia with the military and touches on his travels for his engineering firm.
Writing this, I have now been to many of the places he traveled to. However, with no mention of karaoke, high-speed trains or Macbooks, it’s apparent his time abroad was a bit different from mine.
I’ve transcribed his travelogue. In his own words:
“On January 9, ’45 boarded the USS Gen. C.G. Morton with my unit of 214 men. A “quality” outfit comprised of mostly “jail house lawyers”, four of whom never did get abroad. We … Read More »