Buddhist temples, ancient history, amazing archaeological sites… not the usual things you would associate with a raging party atmosphere. The beautiful people of Bagan surprised us though and showed us that they really do know how to celebrate in style! We had the pleasure of celebrating New Year’s Eve in Myanmar with amazing food, lovely people and some supercool breakdancing elephants.


Sunset River Cruise down the Ayeyarwady

Sunset on the Ayeyarwady River

We commenced our evening on a gorgeous sunset river cruise down the Ayeyarwady River with our new friend Oliver. We climbed aboard and made use of the last rays of sunset to practice our Myanmar language and with Oliver’s careful tuition we were close to considering ourselves quite the experts! With our little cheat guide we were now able to achieve basic communications and could easily barter for goods, greet people and ward off small exuberant children in the nicest possible way. In return we were helping Oliver to hone his already impressive English skills and in truth had such a marvellous time simply debating different interpretations of our languages and learning how hilarious some of our Aussie idioms are.

Our mate Oliver!
The beauty of the Myanmar language

The sunset was absolutely stunning as it set over the river and it was fascinating to learn about the life of those who live on the riverbank… periodically moving their makeshift homes to adjust to the tidal nature of the river.

Cruising on the river
The incredibly hard working river people
Transporting goods from water to land

Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort

Indulging in a bit of luxury for the night we have to thank Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort for providing us with a lovely banquet dinner overlooking the Ayeyarwady River. Thiripyitsaya is a gorgeous luxury resort, which we felt we deserved, especially as we had recently come direct from our more ‘grass-roots’ travel in India. The amazing infinity pool that offered us a refreshing dip between pagoda explorations was much appreciated! Quick tip: Remember to apply sunscreen BEFORE jumping on your E-bike and getting lost amongst the thousands of temples.

The infinity pool at Thiripyitsaya
Bagan pagodas
Our daytime activities

The banquet

Do you enjoy good food? Thiripyitsaya puts on an amazing banquet dinner with options to satisfy everyone. We ate vegetarian on this trip, a decision sparked by many reasons and further influenced by the inspiring yoga retreats that we stayed in whilst in India. The food was a delicious blend of local delicacies, traditional dishes and with plenty of Western alternatives thrown in for the less adventurous palate. The food was prepared impeccably with fresh and wholesome produce.

Tea leaf salad!

Traditional elephant dancing

We all love elephants right? And dress ups? With a bit of breakdancing thrown in? Well traditional Burmese elephant dancing covers all of these desires with a healthy dose of drums and beats thrown in. Don’t worry, no elephants are harmed in the making of this show as the huge, life size elephants are amazingly intricate costumes made of bamboo and something like papier-mâché. The fascinating part is that two men are inside those costumes dancing in complete unity, performing crazy tricks, standing up on two feet only and even in a handstand (we still haven’t figured out how they did this!) all in time to the music. This is pretty damn impressive and something we recommend all travellers to Myanmar try to see.

Bust a move

To end the night there was some fancy fireworks, music and dancing all of which we managed to sleep beautifully through as we are not the coolest cats around. However if you are keen to party then the Myanmar people have you got you covered! Definitely a worthy place for you celebrate the year’s end and the perfect place to start a new year watching the sun rise over the majestic and peacefully deserted pagodas in Old Bagan.

Next stop: off to Mandalay!

Yangon Airways – “you’re safe with us”
Bagan Airport
Hoping we don’t need to use these as ‘floatation devices’!

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Are you thinking of going to Myanmar? Have questions? Ask us in the comments section below.

Have you been to Myanmar? We would love to hear your travel stories also!

3 thoughts on “MYANMAR – NEW YEAR’S EVE

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