Do people smile in Myanmar

Even after 50 years under a military regime, Myanmar’s smiles can’t be suppressed. The people have a resilience and inner joy that cut through their dark past and unstable present. Life’s not easy in former Burma but no matter the conditions–stoking a kiln in 100-degree heat, paving roads in flip-flops, hauling 80-pounds of bamboo on your head–people always stopped to say hello, sometimes even blow us kisses! We were absolutely humbled by the kindness and positivity of the people here. And if that wasn’t enough to make us love Myanmar, this country has some of the most unique architecture, beautiful landscapes, fascinating cultures and plenty of charming quirks. Even though we love you Myanmar, you’re getting a “You Know You’re In” roast, just like everywhere else!
You Know You’re in Myanmar When…

Knock-off clothing Myanmar

– Brand names don’t matter–or at least the spelling doesn’t.

Horse carts of Myanmar

– This is as close to Uber as you’re gonna get.

Water vessels around Myanmar

– It’s easy to stay hydrated…as long as you don’t mind sharing a cup.

Photos at Mount Popa

– Every photo looks better with plastic flowers and swing-sets.

Restaurants in Mandalay Airport

– You won’t need your Platinum Amex to access the fanciest lounge in the international airport.

What is thanaka face paint

– The local make-up commercials are more likely to have the jingle,”Maybe she’s born with it…maybe it’s Thanakha Tree.”

Fire prevention in Myanmar

– Baggies of water and sand are the next best thing to a fire extinguisher.

Hand-made in Myanmar

– The chef puts their own personal “touch” on every meal.

Happy kids of Myanmar

Kids literally jump for joy when they see you walking down the street.

Cars of Myanmar

Cars look like they were built with a Mr. Potato Head kit.

Smoking Monks in Myanmar

– Even those doing Buddha’s work need a smoke break every once in a while.

Riding the train in Myanmar

– When a guy can take a three-hour nap in the middle of the aisle, you nearly step on his head to get by, and no one on the train bats an eye.

Overloaded boat in Myanmar

– Boat captains laugh in the face of “full capacity.”

Shedagon Pagoda Myanmar

– You can visit the oldest stupa in the world, made from 53 metric tonnes of gold leaf ($2.5billion USD, in case you were about to do the math yourself), topped with 2,000 precious stones, 5,000 diamonds, and one 75-carat diamond at its pinnacle.

Temples of Inle Lake

– The temples are so dense you can barely walk between them.

Nat religion of Myanmar

– Buddha has 37 animist co-pilots.

Longyis of Yangon

– Formal business attire is a button-down shirt and a floor-length skirt…for females and males. Longyis are awesome!

Temples of Bagan

– A few temples in town is good but 2,200 is better!

Funny books in Myanmar

– The secrets to success can be found at the second-hand book store.

Inle Lake Fisherman

– Standing up in the boat and rowing with your feet is totally acceptable.

Myanmar Phone Booth

– You don’t have anyone to call, but sitting down with this guy is worth the quarter.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Myanmar travel blogs. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Similar Posts


  1. he he.. my fav is the airport lounge. Which airport was this?

  2. Erin | No Ordinary Nomad says:

    Love this! The kids are adorable. The people in Myanmar seem so warm and friendly, I’d love to get there someday soon.

  3. Delightful! And OMG, look at that “international” airport… So no point in being a Gold airline flyer 🙂

    1. Nope, the gold membership is not working in Mandalay….though if you flash your card with a smile, it might get you extra chili sauce ; )

  4. Eric Hoffman says:

    You have to tiptoe through the Betel nut split?

  5. World Journeys says:

    cant wait to go next year! February! any chance you guys are still there?

    1. February…start the countdown! Woohoo! We are actually in Mexico right now 🙂 Have a blast and let us know if you need any more tips!

    2. I’ll be there in February / March !

  6. We went in 2012, best trip ever! You know you’re in Myanmar when everyone wants to touch your black african hair and invites you in for a conversation on Africa food. Wonderful!

    1. I love that you just added your own YKYAI! I love that people just motion you over to sit and chat…even without sharing a common language but they just want to hang out and smile!

  7. Rohit Manchanda says:

    great blog … loved the pictures

  8. Rashaad Jorden says:

    It seems like brand names don’t matter all over Southeast Asia – not just Myammar.

    1. That is true…though Aerbrcompge P. Fitgh was the best brand butchering we’d ever seen and needed a shout-out.

  9. Holy Moly look at all the ancient temples! Myanmar looks fascinating!

    1. The temples in Myanamar have such a unique style. They were our favorite in Southeast was Myanmar as a whole!

  10. TsabiMiko says:

    You are guys incredibly awesome! Southeast Asia on my bucket list 🙂

    1. TsabiMikio, you are too sweet. Let us know when you go to Southeast Asia…we have tons of tips!

  11. Great to read this. My fiance and I are going to Myanmar as part of our honeymoon next year. I am wondering where this picture was taken? “The temples are so dense you can barely walk between them.”

    1. Magdalena, LOVE that you are honeymooning in Myanmar…we like you guys already 🙂 That photo was taken at Indein Pagoda off Inle Lake, read more here: it’s not on the typical lake tour, so be sure to pre-arrange that stop with your boatman. Where are you planning on heading in Myanmar and/or SEA? We’d love to talk travel plans with you!

      1. Thanks for the tip about Inle Lake. I am not sure we will make it there actually. So far we have flights from NY to Istanbul (spending a few days there), then to Yangon, then we have a flight from Phuket, Thailand back home. We are not sure yet if we will go somewhere else between Myanmar and Thailand (maybe Cambodia). For Myanmar, depending on how many days we decide, we might do Yangon and Bagan only. Wish we had more days to spend!

  12. pam thomas says:

    Oh my goodness, you captured Burma with your fun photos. I liked when the Monk would pull out his cell phone and take a call and then no skip a beat as he offered a blessing, and the sign in the airport said warning selling drugs can result in jail or death.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.