The People of Burma: A Photo Essay

The People of Burma: A Photo Essay

Smiling kids, women at the market or working in the fields, craftsmen making lacquerware objects, monks in the streets and the temples: the people of Burma are usually gentle, often shy, still rooted to their traditions although rapidly changing, perhaps not for the better.

Old Burmese Woman at the Market
They live in difficult conditions and often they  work very hard, included the women, but the people of Burma haven’t lost their smiles and gentleness. I suspect they age quickly, and remember feeling a wave of tenderness when looking at their beautiful wrinkled faces, so full of expressiveness, every crease a symbol of life.

A Smiling Girl at Inle Lake

[pullquote]I admired the beauty of their wrinkled faces, burnt by the sun, marked by the hard life[/pullquote]

I tried to mingle as much as possible with the locals, taking the regular boat crossing the river from Yangon to Dala amidst vendors, Buddhist monks asking for money, men playing cards.

A Bruma Woman Setting Fishing Nets
I traveled by bus, having long exhausting journeys surrounded by Burmese and only a few tourists. I hired a bike at Inle Lake to make a ride across the fields, far from the touristy tour of the lake by boat which I did not particularly enjoyed, meeting ordinary people attending their daily chores.

People of Burma
Things are changing, however, and I sense the smiles and the gentleness might soon fade away. In popular places like Bagan and Inle Lake many locals have already become pushy and, even worse, there’s human exploitation to get money from tourists, like the Kayan women with their brass neck rings, exhibited for photos as if they were dolls.

Fishing at Inle Lake
The negative impact of the increasing flow of tourists is already visible in the most popular places and between the people of Burma. Sadly, without a plan for sustainable development, I’m afraid that the damages will spread quickly and likely become irreversible.

A Bricklayer in Yangon
For now, I want to remember the people of Burma for their best trait, still easy to spot as soon as one goes away from the tourist path.

Which one is your favorite photo?

Burma People Collage

Fancy a little more of Burma? Traditional Life at a Burmese Market: A Photo Tour

  • Elliott
    Posted at 14:37h, 18 June Reply

    Brilliant photos! I’m very interested in going to Burma, it looks so beautiful!

  • Juan - Myanmar Travel Essentials
    Posted at 11:20h, 27 November Reply

    Great article and amazing photos! Love the cover! 😉

  • Natalie
    Posted at 04:08h, 18 November Reply

    Beautiful, Simon. Can you recommendation some places and people who are opening up to tourism right? Or better yet, the places you encountered the fewest tourists of all?

  • Peter
    Posted at 23:57h, 17 November Reply

    Great photos and love the new look of your blog!!

  • Corinne
    Posted at 12:30h, 17 November Reply

    Great portraits. I love the woman with the basket on her back!

  • Simon Falvo
    Posted at 17:12h, 11 November Reply

    Big thanks, Andrea! So glad you like the pics 🙂

  • Andrea
    Posted at 17:10h, 11 November Reply

    Gorgeous shots!!

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