Shwedagon – The Golden Pagoda

In Yangon people will ask if you have been to Shwedagon. It is, apparently, the thing you simply must do while in Yangon. The elegant Shwedagon Pagoda is Yangon’s most famous landmark. It is a massive 110 meter high gold-plated pagoda with a diamond studded spire that sets on top of a small hill in downtown Yangon. Shwedagon dominates the area and is visible from much of the city.

Yangon Rain

Myanmar, finally, I was in Myanmar. It is not a common destination yet it has always intrigued me. Few Americans travel here. Squeezed in between Thailand and India, Myanmar has, until recently, been one of the most isolated and repressed countries on Earth. With trade sanctions lifted and a new democratically elected government in power, Myanmar is preparing for an onslaught of tourists. I wanted to visit Myanmar before the locals became jaded by tourism and money.

Midnight Train to Hoi An, Vietnam

I had booked a soft sleeper for us. A traveling compartment with four berths. I had hoped for lower berths but the train was full and we were stuck with two upper berths. We were sharing our compartment with a young couple traveling with their eighteen-month old baby. This young mother was also nine-months pregnant! As the train began its trek to Danang, picking up speed, we began to wonder if her pregnancy would withstand the shaking, rattling, bumping, lurching motions for a few moments, much less the sixteen hours ahead of us.