Deciding to travel solo in a country that’s still finding its feet with tourists can be a daunting prospect, but Sara Everton has no regrets about her visit to Burma…
“The minute I stepped off the plane I knew I was somewhere unique and in a place that would linger in my memory for a long time to come. Travelling alone, I was hesitant to venture too far into the depths of Yangon, but despite this I soon found myself heading toward the landmark Shwedagon Paya – a dazzling pagoda that’s not to be missed.
It didn’t take long before I realised that I was the only white face in the crowd. There was no chance that I could have blended in to the jostling throng moving into the pagoda and I quickly understood that it would have been pointless to try. Clearly a western female on her own was an unusual sight, as I became the subject of much open curiosity. Children laughed and pointed, then hid behind their mothers’ skirts when I smiled or waved in return. Adults stopped to openly stare and discuss what seemed to be my height and curly hair and generally I could feel the ripple effect my presence was creating.
None of this attention was in any way cruel or threatening. I found that the residents of Yangon, as were the locals of the entire country of Burma, to be the kindest and most honest people I have ever met. They genuinly wanted to talk to me and get to know me, they genuinly wanted to make sure I enjoyed my stay.
It would not have mattered what the city looked like, the inhabitants were what made it my favourite city. They were, without exception, the most delightful group of people I have ever had the pleasure to encounter.”
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* photo by Dominic Burdon – Intrepid Photography Competition