Burma Blossoms in this month’s AFAR Magazine for iPad and Digital Subscription

For decades, Burma has been “wiped” off the tourist map. A dictatorship condemned this beautiful place – one of the largest and richest countries in Asia – to isolation and poverty. The travel agencies rarely offer services in the area although Burma is one of the wonders of the planet with its Bagan, a mysterious territory, which hosts as many as 2,000 temples. Bagan took birth in 849 AD, the Irrawaddy River, and two centuries later reached the maximum prosperity period.

Burma Blossoms in this month's AFAR Magazine iPad and Digital Subscription

Everywhere you look, you are charmed by countless pagodas are scattered over endless plains. The landscape is like looking back to a millennium ago. A world of a special glow, too little known and not publicised, a place of absolute refinement and art, a place where once entered, you feel almost an initiate. Paradoxically, despite the cruel poverty, the country is actually very rich. Burma is the world’s largest exporter of teak and one of the most important sources of gemstones – especially jade, pearls, rubies and sapphires. Despite the poverty, people have not forgotten, however, to smile; for example men’s clothes : almost all wearing some long skirts, spotted, called longyin, and they are wearing sippers, because the access in Buddhist temples is allowed only barefoot. For women there is a traditional makeup. Most of them have face painted with a white substance, tanaka, obtained from the bark of the tree.

The local cuisine is full of seductions. There are Thai and Indian influences, only less spicy, making it closer to European foods. Unlike our West, here the food is consumed all at once, usually by hand or with chopsticks. If you ask for cutlery, you get only spoons and forks, never knife – it is not useful anyway, because usually the dishes are cut into very small pieces. Rice is customary on Burmese meals and soups cooked with chicken in coconut as well as sweet and sour fish are very special dishes in Burma.

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