Last week I asked: What Southeast Asian country is high on Fodor’s “Go List 2013?” It is Myanmar.
We have been to Myanmar six times.
We have visited the top tourist destinations including Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Kalaw, Lake Inle, and Mrauk U.
In Yangon we marveled at the 325-foot high, 2,600-year-old golden Shwedagon Pagoda.
We often stay at Traders Hotel in a room that has a view of the pagoda that is magically highlighted at night.
In Bagan we try to imagine what it must have been like from the 9th to 13th centuries when it was the capital.
There were more than 10,000 monuments then but only about 2,200 have survived.
In Mandalay we viewed the palace which is surrounded by a moat and the huge Mingun Bell in a temple outside the city.
Kalaw, a hill town, was a cool respite from the heat and very English in design.
The leg rowers of Lake Inle are the big draw but there is also a great market, temples and other things to enjoy.
In Mrauk U, another famed archeological site, we climbed a hill to have breakfast prepared by the staff of the Princess Resort so we could watch the sunrise over the ruins.
It was Magical.
From the Princess Resort we took a day boat trip to Chin State and visited several small villages where the ladies with the tattooed faces reside.
Everyday there was something new and fascination to see and do be it visiting a Buddhist monastery, watching lacquer ware made, or just learning about village life.
The country is safe and the people very welcoming.
But, at then end of each trip we go to beautiful Ngapali Beach.
We have been to a lot of places but only one has drawn us back six times.
Ngapali is that one special place.
It is amazing and so is the name of the hotel we stay at.
The staff always makes of feel welcome and treat returning, long-stay guest like VIPS.
The staff, with an armful of flowers, actually ran out on the tarmac to greet our airplane.
One night the hotel hosted an “amazing” dinner on the beach for all the long-stay, returning guests.
What draws us back?
Besides the wonderful people it is the “amazing” beach which is a two-mile long crescent of soft sand by the warm, gentle waters of the Bay of Bengal.
And, there are no pesky annoyances such as vendors or bugs.
Each year something unique and unexpected happens.
This year was special.
One morning at breakfast Khin Khin Pyho, one of our waitresses, handed us a beautiful invitation inviting us to her wedding.
She is Catholic and her husband, Zar Ni, is Buddhist.
In the morning we went to the Buddhist Monastery where Khin Khin, in a beautiful yellow Myanmar-style dress, and her husband brought the monk gifts of food as is traditional and received his blessing recognizing their marriage.
Buddhist monks do not perform ceremonies.
In the evening we went to her house for the reception which had been going on all day long.
Khin Khin had on another beautiful dress.
This time is was white more like our wedding dresses.
The neighbors do all the cooking but the food was provided by Khin Khin’s family.
Zar Ni is from another village so after a few days they went to his village for a similar celebration and his family provided the food.
Another ‘amazing’ experience at Amazing Resort in Ngapali.
Travel Trivia Tease™: What is the capital of Myanmar? Look for the answer next week.
Mexico resident Sandra Scott and her husband, John, enjoy traveling and sharing that experience with others. She also writes everyday for Examiner.com (rotating on editions … Syracuse Travel, National Destination and Culinary Travel).