Friday, October 24, 2014

Hlagaw: An 'Oasis' North of Yangon

I use the word 'Oasis' in quotes as that was how is was described in the first online description I found of this place north of Yangon that I'll be talking about tonight.  It's a national park; the only one, I think, in the Yangon Region.  I noticed it months ago while looking at maps of this place I now live.  It was a big splotch of green, just as large as the city itself, and only 25 miles north of town.

I'd been pining to go there; maybe as a day trip, maybe overnight.  There weren't that many reviews of it online, but I'd pictured it in my head as a rustic place.  I expected maybe a ranger station or two.  Some hiking trails. Maybe a general store. When we had a long weekend earlier this month, Anthony and I headed up there by train and by motorcycle taxi to see what we could see.

What we saw was mini amusement park/zoo.  Mickey, Minnie and Donald were running around like it was Disneyland. I dunno if the Disney Corp is aware of this much less getting any royalties. I suspect not, as the USA still maintains economic sanctions against the nation of Myanmar and its quasi-military government.

Makes sense.  You're going to sanction us?  Well, we'll disregard your trademark laws!

In any case, the main camp of Hlagaw is like a mini-zoo.  There was a bird museum with lots of taxidermy, some pens with monkey and live birds, and most hilariously, the Malayan Sun Bears.  I brought along some stale shortbread crackers that I knew I'd be allowed to feed the animals with, and well, the bears had fun with them.

The video is in two parts.  In this second part, I used a lot of 'accidental' footage.  This was stuff that I recorded while I thought my camera was off, but was actually still rolling.  The point with the middle third of the vid is the audio.  I loved how everyone yelled out HI! after I responded 'hi!' to a bus full of local tourists after one of them had called out hi to me. You can also hear Anthony saying "This is terrible, Joko," after our tourist bus had abandoned us.

I'm definitely going back to Hlagaw.  I saw lots of cabins along the lake you'll see in the video.  he definitely offer accommodations up there.  Next time, it'll be a group of us teachers spending night out there at the national park.


  1. Enjoyed your post and videos, what a great experience. I also love your background music!

  2. Interesting to hear that your camera sometimes keeps running, after you think you've turned it off. I had exactly the same problem with exactly the same camera, but I thought it was because I'm a mentally-fading old guy. Your posts are helping me with my self-image! Also your videos are great...

  3. It looked like you had a nice day. Rainy season over?

    Missing the shuttle is so you, but as usual you found an alternative. You are resourceful. I would ave waited the hour!

  4. I must admit, I truly enjoy your videos! Blessings...


Discovering Northwest Myanmar 16: Kataung to Mandalay

I call them "Burmese Doughnuts". They've got another name, but essentially, it's fried bread. The three-week adventur...