After sailing for a few days and winning second place in Sea Olympics we arrived in Yangon, Myanmar! The first day was my 21st birthday so some and I went to the Sangri’la Hotel to hang out by the pool and celebrated with a bottle of champagne.

The hotel was amazing and it was nice to have a chill day and hang out with friends. Later in the night we went to a rooftop bar with other SASers to hang out before going back to the ship.

The next day I had a field program and it was an early morning where we drove to the airport to get on our flight to Bagan. When we landed we had a picnic lunch in the desert and had some local food. Afterwards, we went to a monastery for little boys where we handed out toothbrushes, a soccer ball and we got to play with them for a little bit. Then we headed over to volunteer at The Plastic Campaign where we walked for about a mile and picked up trash. It was really sad to see how much trash was in this area.

The locals were taking pictures of us so they could show the locals to raise awareness about the environment. To end the day we went to a small village to see where our program had donated a water well. When we arrived at the village they were having a big party with music, dancing, and food. It was so cute and all the little kids and even the adults wanted pictures with us.

On the second day of our trip we had another early morning where we had to get up at 5am to go get on our hot air balloon and see the sunrise. The hot air balloon was amazing and the views of all the pagodas and temples below were beautiful and we even saw a wedding in a village below us.

Afterwards we headed to a couple different temples to see different Buddha sculptures. After a nap and a little free time at the hotel we took a horse carriage ride around Old Bagan to see all the pagodas and temples from a different view. We ended our ride at pottery hill to watch the sunset.

When we got back to the hotel me and some friends hopped on mopeds to go eat dinner and stumbled upon the Nyaungu Pagoda. It was a huge gold building and we were the only white people there so of course we got lots of stares, but that was almost everywhere we went. The next morning, we hopped into Jeeps and rode into the dry zone where we visited 5 different workshops. We saw people making bricks, visited a sugar palm village, a soy bean workshop, and home where they made peanut oil, and lastly, we saw a pottery workshop which was my favorite by far because I got to spin a pot on the wheel. In the evening, me and a couple others from my field program went to the river to watch the sunset on a boat and ate at an amazing local restaurant.

On our last day in Myanmar, we hopped on a flight back to Yangon and headed back to the boat. Overall, Myanmar is an amazing country with rich culture, beautiful architecture and some of the nicest people you’ve ever met.

A few things I learned:

  • How to say hello: Mingalar Baa (pronounced Mingala Ba)
  • How to say thank you: Jei zu tin ba de (pronounced Jex U Ba)
  • The locals love to take pictures with you
  • They are very hard sellers