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Journeys : Jun Jul 2012
We can take you there! Talk to your R ACT Travelworld consultant about InterAsia’s group tours and independent journeys to Burma/ Myanmar. You’ ll cruise the Irrawaddy River, be inspired by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and mar vel at the one-legged rowers on Inle Lake – they’re just some of the highlights of InterAsia’s itineraries in this fascinating country. Ask for a colour brochure at any RACT Travelworld branch or call us on 1300 368 111. Destinations 20 June / July 2012 smiles, stretch away into the distance, blending into rainforest at the further most edge of the clearing. Shimmering in midday heat, the silence broken by temple chants and bells, the Garden of 1000 Buddhas is a place for calm and peaceful ref lection. A friendly monk g uides us to a spreading tree with curiously-shaped white and gold flowers – he tells us it’s a Buddha tree, picks a bloom and presents it with a gentle bow. Thaton Cycling along a back-street of this regional town south-east of Yangon, we meet a line of young girls, no more than 10 or 11 years old, dressed in the pale pink robes of Buddhist nuns. There are twenty of them, some with trays of flowers balanced on their shaven heads, others carrying silver alms bowls. An older nun and a brow n-robed monk lead them. We stop to watch them pass. Their faces are solemn and downcast, fi xed on the road ahead. Then I catch the eye of one, nod and smile – and I’m rewarded with the sight of a pair of small brown hands briefly clasped in prayer and greeting, and the beaming grin of an ordinar y little girl. Ngapali Beach It’s the most spectacular location for a restaurant I’ve ever experienced. On the rocky tip of a headland at the end of a three-kilometre stretch of clean yellow sand, opposite a channel that separates the mainland from an island, our outdoor table is set for dinner. I order the simplest dish on the menu, local fish, sliced and gr illed. It’s simply delicious – fresh, moist, beautifully-cooked. The sun drops into the Bay of Bengal as the local fishing fleet chugs out to sea – dozens of brightly- painted longboats, crowded with men, women and children, all heading off for a night’s squid fishing. We walk back along the sand to our beachfront bungalows and gaze at a line of lights gleaming all along the horizon. They’re not the towns of a distant shoreline but the lights of a floating village – the fishing f leet, out there working, cooking, eating, talking, laughing, singing. They return before dawn and early next day we see the night’s catch, laid out on nets and straw to dry in the sun. Yangon It’s the final day of a wonderful trip. In central Yangon, the awe-inspiring Shwedagon Pagoda pierces the hazy evening sky of Burma’s capital with a needle of gold. Sixty-five tons of the precious metal clad the spire – surrounding it are dozens of shrines, temples and smaller pagodas. Somewhere below the earth, among a mysterious and unexplored network of underground passages, is the hidden treasure of Shwedagon – seven hairs from the head of the first Buddha, in a casket of gold. The marble paving is cool on my bare feet as I find the shrine of my birth-day animal. I light sticks of incense and pour water over the heads and faces of the protecting Buddha and the stone tiger at his feet. Happy smiles, spectacular landscapes, friendly faces, spiritual moments, warm welcomes and optimistic hopes for the future – for me, these are the endearing and enduring memories that I bring home from Burma. ZawWinCho Previous page, clockwise from top left: G arden of 1000 Buddhas; mother and child in Moulmein; Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon; boats on Inle Lake This page, clockwise from top left: Floating tomato gardens, Inle Lake; makeshift toy, Toddy Palm Tea House; fishing fleet, Ngap ali Beach; the team (from left) CV, Maggie Mitchell, Cheryl Pearson, Anne Granger, Sandra Peters, Nigel Pearson, David Peters U ncredited photos: Chris Viney
Apr May 2012
Aug Sep 2012