Reading list inspiration for travel
Books & eBooks
- A Guide to the Temples of BaganView on ApproachGuides.com* Our travel guide to the ancient city of Bagan's spectacular Buddhist temples.
- A History of Myanmar Since Ancient Times: Traditions and TransformationsView on Amazon The book traces the traditions and transformations of Myanmar’s communities over nearly three millennia, from the relics of its Neolithic civilization to the splendors of its pre-colonial kingdoms, its encounters with British colonialism and the struggles for the republic that followed the end of World War II. By Michael Aung-Thwin and Maitrii Aung-Thwin.
- Buddhist Art of MyanmarView on Amazon The catalog from the Asia Society's recent exhibit is loaded with scholarly articles that synthesize the history of Myanmar from the ancient through colonial periods and discuss the critical links between religion, geography, governance, historiography and artistic production. Edited by Sylvia Fraser-Lu and Donald M. Stadtner.
- BurmaView on Archive.org. Published in 1901, the book covers an incredibly wide range of topics including history, ethnicity, customs, lacquer-work, language and music. By Max and Bertha Ferrars.
- Burma: Rivers of FlavorView on Amazon The author reviews all of the quintessential dishes -- tea-leaf salad, mohinga and khaut swei -- you will experience while touring. By Naomi Duguid.
- Burmese DaysView on Amazon Orwell draws on his years of experience in India to tell this story of the waning days of British imperialism. By George Orwell.
- From the Land of the Green GhostsView on Amazon A compelling story of the bond forged between a local guerilla and a visiting Englishman. By Pascal Khoo Thwe.
- Lands of Charm and Cruelty: Travels in Southeast AsiaView on Amazon The author profiles five Southeast Asian neighboring countries, revealing their underlying contradictions: Burma, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia and Borneo (Indonesia/Malaysia/Brunei). An enlightening, politically savvy, exotic journey of discovery. By Stan Stesser.
- Letters from BurmaView on Amazon In these unforgettable letters, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the world's most inspiring figures, reaches out beyond Burma's borders to paint a vivid and poignant picture of her native land. By Aung San Suu Kyi
- Living Silence in BurmaView on Amazon The lives of ordinary citizens under the regime. By Christina Fink.
- The River of Lost FootstepsView on Amazon The author — a senior officer at the UN — tells the interwoven story of modern Burma and his own family. By Thant Myint-U.
- What the Buddha TaughtView on Amazon An excellent introductory text on the Buddha's teachings and one of the standard texts used in colleges and universities around the world. By Walpola Rahula.
Articles & Academic Papers
- “Buddhism, Power and Political Order”Download this collection of scholarly articles examining religion and politics in the Theravada Buddhist countries of Southeast Asia. Edited by Ian Harris.
- “Burma Blossoms”View on Afar.com A once-impenetrable country reveals itself to the author one meal at a time. A great introduction to the country's cuisine. By Matt Gross.
- “Burmese Buddhist Imagery of the Early Bagan Period (1044-1113)”Download this thesis on the origins of the Buddhist sculptural tradition in Burma. By Charlotte Kendrick Galloway.
- “Burmese Music”View on theatlantic.com This article for the Atlantic archives explains the unique character of traditional Burmese music. By U Khin Zaw.
- “Deep Change: Burmese Wall Paintings from the 11th-19th C”View on Burmalibrary.org A deep look at the changing nature of storytelling in Theravada Buddhist paintings. By Alexandra Green.
- “Folk elements in Burmese Buddhism”View on TheAtlantic.com The persistence of alchemy, spirits, and ancient rituals in the country's Buddhist practice. By Maung Htin Aung.
- “Inside Myanmar’s Opium Fields”View on NYTimes.com The resurgence of poppy and opium production in Myanmar. By Thomas Fuller.
- “New Freedom for Myanmar’s Artists”View on NYTimes.com The emergence of the Burmese art scene. By Philip Heijmans.
- “The Burmese Spring”View on NewYorker.com The author explores the origins of the brutal regime's shift toward democracy. By Evan Osnos.
- “The Nagas: An Introduction”View on academia.edu An excellent primer on the history and practices of the tribes inhabiting northeastern India and northwestern Burma. By Michael Oppitz, Thomas Kaiser, Alban von Stockhausen and Marion Wettstein.
- “The Rohingyas | The most persecuted people on Earth?”View on Economist.com Myanmar’s Muslim minority have been attacked with impunity, stripped of the vote and driven from their homes. It could get worse.
- “The Shwedagon Pagoda: Myths and History”View on academia.edu A comprehensive, scholarly review of the revered religious monuments' evolving mythology and symbolic associations. By Don Stadtner.
- “The Square Mile”View on Economist.com After years of stagnation, Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city is developing at last.
- “Yangon’s Urban Heritage: Reassessing the Historic Stages of Development”View on researchgate.net This article, prepared for the World Monuments Fund, explores Yangon's history of urban development. By Frauke Kraas, Hlaing Maw Oo, Zin Nwe Myint and Regine Spohner.
Online Sources & Blogs
- Mohinga: Burmese Fish SoupVisit arousingappetites.com A good, thoughtful review of the Myanmar's national dish, one of its tastiest.
- The Culture TripVisit theculturetrip.com For a good listing of Yangon's top modern art galleries.
- Travelers’ Health | MyanmarVisit CDC.gov Get the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations for vaccines and medicines.
- What are Japa Malas?Visit ApproachGuides.com* The use of prayer beads (aka japa malas).
- World Bank | MyanmarVisit worldbank.org A great resource for the country's quality of living indicators, economy and climate change data.
- Yangon Heritage TrustVisit yangonheritagetrust.org This organization, an advocate for the protection of the city's unique urban heritage, offers excellent architectural tours.
- Burmese Folk and Traditional MusicListen to our Spotify playlist Listen to the sounds of traditional music in Myanmar in this compilation from the Ethnic Folkways Library.
- Joseph Campbell on AUMListen on Spotify.com The great mythologist explains the deep symbolism of AUM (Om).
- On Language, Location: MyanmarListen on bbc.co.uk In this podcast from the BBC World Service, Mark Turin explores what the country's transformations mean for the indigenous ethnic groups that make up much of the population, and specifically for their languages and cultures.
- Paritta Pali Chanting – Burmese StyleListen on buddhanet.net Learn about and listen to standard set of Theravada Buddhist chants, memorized and recited by all monks in Myanmar every day. To reach the collection of 12 chants, scroll to the bottom of the page. Be sure to listen to the introduction first, as it explains what you are going to hear.
- The Sounds of MyanmarListen to the Spotify playlist Listen to a personal collection of Myanmar tracks compiled by Trip Reads founder Jennifer Raezer. The perfect pre-trip soundtrack.
Just for Kids
Who to Follow
- Twitter: Andrew RC MarshallFollow @Journotopia Southeast Asia Special Correspondent for Reuters • Pulitzer Prize Winner 2014 • Author of The Trouser People: Burma in the Shadow of the Empire.
- Twitter: Coconuts YangonFollow @coconutsyangon What's happening in Yangon.
- Twitter: Gwen RobinsonFollow @RobinsonBKK Senior fellow specialising in Myanmar at ISIS, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand; former FT correspondent & editor.
- Twitter: The IrrawaddyFollow @IrrawaddyNews Independent publication covering Burma and South-east Asia from a Burmese perspective.