There are two things they grow in the hills of Inle, food and tea. Follow this photographic journey from the market stalls through to the tea plantations. Tea leves, sweetened condensed milk, roti bread, curries and fried vegetables. Always served with a smile.
A handful of tourists make it this far south on Lake Inle for the Taung To Market, but mostly it's a chance for locals from the hills to come down and stock up on produce and textiles. I got a chance to write about this part of the Shan District for National Geographic Traveller last year, and share a few photos. I only wish I had the whole magazine instead of a few spreads. My favourite treat at the market was the sweet milk tea and freshly fried roti bread. Delicious!
Photo Essay | 35 images | Inle Lake | Myanmar
Streets of Yangon
Take a short walk through the historic streets of Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon as named by the British. Modern times are coming to Myanmar, slowly. Life is changing and many of the old relics from colonial past are slated for an update. For now the city still holds it's charm, and photographic appeal.
Photo Essay | 34 images | Yangon | Myanmar
Stars on the water
Early mornings are beautifully still on Inle Lake, with the sun taking a little extra time to clear the nearby hills. Fishermen come out as soon as the mist has cleared, armed with nets or cages. Rays of the sun reflect off the ripples like stars. In the middle of Lake Inle is a teak temple famous for jumping cats, and the shallow shoreline is hidden by miles of "floating gardens". Inle is kinda neat.
Photo Essay | 43 images | Inle Lake | Myanmar | South-East Asia
Shwe Dagon Paya
On a cloudless afternoon the sunset turns orange and the magnificent golden chedi of Shwe Dagon changes colours from yellow to gold to pink. Parasols on the tips of spires muffle the last rays of sunlight. Yangon's shining pinnacle is not just the Shwe Dagon Paya itself but hundreds of shrines, intricate statues of Buddha and a village of prayer halls that cover the hill-top in gold and white. Shwe Dagon is a sanctuary from the concrete and steel of the city below, a peaceful place where monks and residents offer blessings to images of the Buddha.
Photo Essay | 23 images | Myanmar | Yangon
Postcard from Htilominlo
A classic example of 13th century temple construction in Myanmar, and now a very popular destination for tourists. Inside a series of Buddha statues have been well maintained, and glisten with gold leaf. Outside the vendors work hard to pitch their trinkets to tourists.
Photo Essay | 20 images | Bagan | Myanmar | Burma
Postcard from Dhammanyan Gyi
One of the most unique of the Bagan ruins, but very quiet in the early mornings. Most people see it only at sunset when they climb Shwe San Daw for sunset, it's the massive temple that looks like it was designed by Lego. Inside are some lovely treasures however.
Photo Essay | 22 images | Bagan | Myanmar | Burma
I could spend all day in a market like this, but they usually close before noon. Once a week the people surrounding Pindaya fill the streets and laneways around the old market. It's fresh, vibrant and full of colour. See for yourself.
Shwe Dagon is a sanctuary of calm in the chaos of Yangon. Years ago I met a monk at this temple, a man who convinced me that tourism can lead to change in his country. So far his prediction have proved right. I enjoy sharing my insights into Myanmar with photographers, and I enjoy the gentle neature of the people. Above all, Shwe Dagon Pagoda is a place of peacefulness, where prayers are offered in kindness to others.
Photo Essay | 35 images | Yangon | Myanmar
Living Amongst The Temples
The historical treasures of Bagan's ancient ruins provide a backdrop for farmers and villages that struggle to grow crops in the parched landscape. The Irrawaddy rolls past the temples and carries away silt and sand, but in amongst the stonework are goat herds and ox cart, fields of wheat and cheeky children.
Photo Essay | 33 images | Bagan | Myanmar | Burma
It's hard graft making a living on the shallow waters of Inle Lake. There's very little nutrients in the water and even less timber on hand to build homes. Life on the lake is hard. The weavers of Inle have managed not merely to cultivate skill in their craft but adapt a local resource to suit. Very fine fibres are extracted from the stems of Lotus plants and worked into thread.
This patch of the Bay of Bengal is about 160kms from Yangon, or about 6 hours in one of the better Burmese buses. Tourism is still young here, with basic elephant camps hiding in the nearby forests and luxury developments starting to claim the beaches. Fishing villages still thrive however, and kids play soccer on the beach at sunset. This is not what we usually expect when we think of Burma.