A morning in Myanmar

During our trip to Chiang Rai one of the most exciting activities available is to walk into Burma, for a few hours only. Driving one hour from our resort in Chiang Saen (already one hour north of Chiang Rai), we arrive in the Mae Sai checkpoint where it is possible to cross the border and enter Myanmar at Tachileik.

This in the Shan State; Tachileik boasts 50000 inhabitants.

Crossing the border is allowed provided that you leave your passport at the border and pay a nominal fee. Overnight stay is not permitted and I read that guesthouses in the border areas of Myanmar are not allowed to host foreign tourists.

The area close to the checkpoint has a busy market where Thai and Chinese tourists like to shop, for cheap counterweight of handbags, watches and so on. We rode a tuck tuck outside of this area in a more rural side of the city with its food market.

Aside from the usual colorful street life, a nearby covered market, shows more food stalls.

But also some fashion shops; tailors, housewares,…

A few streets from there, a Buddhist monastery, hosts young and old monks who were having their lunch when we arrived. There we could witness the ceremonial of meals, who its first, who last who eats what is not eaten by the others.

The main attraction in Tachileik may well be the replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda. Situated on a small hill. There are a few tourist / devotee stalls outside and food stalls on the parking.

One of the food stalls around the pagoda.

I tried one of these sweet pancakes, delicious. Grilled for you on the spot on the ground of the parking.

Our guide was very knowledgeable or the area and spoke fluent Burmese which made the experience very enjoyable.

3 hours in Myanmar, a new Stamp on our passports, time to head back in Thailand.

All shots with Leica M262 and Summicron 28mmF2.

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A morning in Myanmar

Old Burmese Lady smoking the cigar

Old Burmese Lady smoking the cigar

I’m a bit too straight sometime, or shy or whatever. In Bagan, you see old ladies hanging around with their cigars asking you to picture them for money. However low the amount (probably a couple of bucks) I have so far objected to picture people for money, let’s say the idea makes me feel uneasy. I don’t think I am mean or tight, just I don’t think an amateur picture is something that people have to sell you. Well so up to my third day in Bagan without any pictures of cigar smoker, on our last hour we met this woman in a village who invited us in her compound. We exchanged a few polite sentences stayed a bit and she pull our her cigar and I made this shot after asking permission. I did not want to move around and look impolite so the background is a bit burned.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikkor 50mmF1.8D
Retouches: Lightroom 3

Old Burmese Lady smoking the cigar

Michelangelo

Michelangelo

Back from a tour outside Mandalay we entered the town by some neighborhoods featuring artisans making different type of crafts. In one of the street were the marble Buddha sculptors. A whole street of them!
I could not resist to have the car pull on the side of the street and go out to take a couple of pictures. This portrait is a half miss but I still like it. This guy had a very special look, full of marble dust, with his mouth bright red with betel juice.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikkor 50mm F1.8 D
Retouches: Lightroom 3

Michelangelo

Shan Women – Jumping Cats monastery

Shan Women - Jumping Cats monastery

We met these 3 Shan women and a man in the jumping cats monastery on lake Inle. They were coming from the hills, about 60 kilometers from there and were on a pilgrimage of Burma sacred sites.
Valerie had a row at other tourists which she felt was too invasive picturing them, I just took two quick shots, not wanting to have troubles with the wife.

These people were as much interested in us as we were in them, and we had a quick chat via our guide. The man was wondering if we were wearing “folkloric” clothes back home or if even there we were just dressed as tourists. Good fun and a gentle reminder on relativity of values.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikkor 50mm F1.8 D
Retouches: Lightroom 3

Shan Women – Jumping Cats monastery

The Little Girl paddling on Lake Inle

Probably my best picture of Burma. The D700 makes wonders! or maybe the magic air of Inle? I like the quality of the image, that one feels like a slide.

[FR] LA petite fille qui ramait sur le Lac Inle.

Probablement ma meilleure photo be Birmanie. Le D700 fait des merveilles, ou alors c’est la magie de l’air du Lac? J’aime la qualité de l’image, on dirait une diapo.

 

Camera:Nikon D700
Lens: Nikkor 80-200 F2.8 D
Retouches: Lightroom 3

The Little Girl paddling on Lake Inle