world map

Myanmar

Obtaining a visa for this country, which has long been cut off from the outside world, took a lot of time and effort.

date of entry 03/03/2014
mileage 877,005

capital Naypyidaw

area 676.578 km²

population 51.400.000

GDP 51,925 Bill. US-Dollar

official language Burmese

Gunther Holtorf and Otto only succeeded in entering Myanmar from Thailand after six years and numerous unsuccessful attempts. This Asian country, also known as Burma, was under military rule for decades. A civilian president only took over in 2011. Otto travelled around Myanmar for around 20 days and covered 3500 kilometres. Because Gunther Holtorf had to pay all the travel costs of his mandatory escort, the trip cost around 10,000 US dollars.
  • …and the Payayi pagoda in the west. These child monks are happy to pose for a photo with Otto.
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  • These pilgrims are resting in the shade of a tree at the Shwemawdaw pagoda in Bago.
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  • This pagoda is one of the most important sacred buildings in Bago. It is said to hold relics of the Buddha. The upper part of the original stupa collapsed in an earthquake in 1917 and is still on the site.
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  • Myanmar has many sacred buildings. This one is the Shwedagon pagoda.
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  • The Pindaya caves in the centre of the country are a Buddhist pilgrimage destination and tourist attraction.
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  • There are many ancient statues of Buddha inside the caves.
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  • The site is also very impressive from the outside. At the time of Gunther Holtorf’s visit, building work was going on.
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  • A monastery in the former capital Yangon (previously known as Rangoon). Young monastery school pupils queue for lunch.
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  • The reclining Buddha in the Shwethalyaung pagoda is 16 metres high and 55 metres long, which makes it the second largest statue of Buddha in the world.
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  • A railway crossing at Yangon. A lot is happening…
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  • …in contrast to the brand new streets around the new capital Naypyidaw. "One car is almost a traffic jam," said Gunther Holtorf with a grin.
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  • But this type of vehicle is seen more frequently, according to Gunther. These are second-hand tractors from China built with uncovered engines to keep costs low.
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  • As in many Asian countries, rice is the staple food in Myanmar.
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  • The boatmen on the canals between the fields have their own paddling technique which involves using their arms and legs.
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  • Children play on fossilised trees which are not protected in any way. "Anywhere else in the world, a natural feature like this would be part of a national park," said Gunther Holtorf.
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  • Otto attracted the attention of younger people in particular. It’s no surprise, because these children have probably never seen foreigners driving their own car.
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  • A farmer presses olives to produce oil. Gunther Holtorf was particularly impressed by the ox-powered press. "Just like the 19th century," he said.
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  • Other important Buddhist pilgrimage sites are the Golden Rock in the south of the country…
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  • Video: Myanmar: an impressive pagoda in Yangon

Otto was here before ...

Thailand

date of entry 24 March 2014
mileage 880,519

Malaysia

date of entry 28 March 2014
mileage 882,108

Singapore

date of entry 31 March 2014
mileage 882,825