Today I wanted to feature photography from Kyauk Kalap Buddhist Temple in Hpa An, Myanmar taken by Grietje Evenwel from TravelGretl Blog.
Grietje is a travel videographer from Amsterdam. During her years in the theatre academy, she started to hitchhike through Europe. That’s where the travel bug bit her, staying with her ever since.
You’ll most likely find her in South East Asia or in the Middle East.
Myanmar and the Philippines are amongst her favourite countries, and if she is not travelling she works as a host for a Dutch tv show. Enough to fill a small girls life! – She says!
If you’re interested in meeting people while travelling, definitely check out Travel by Polaroid.
A community started by a friend and Grietje, where they collect stories from all over the world.
Photo Story: Kyauk Kalap Buddhist Temple
A Little pearl in South East Asia: wonderful Myanmar! Many fall in love with this country, and there are good reasons.
For me, it’s the wonderful people you’ll find there. Friendly, big smiles and open hearts.
Even when you wake up grumpy in the morning, you can’t help but smile at the end of the day!
This picture was taken just before going home. We had decided to skip on Bagan and Inle Lake and instead took the road less travelled.
That’s what brought us to Hpa An. A small village, surrounded by caves and rice fields.
We’d seen all of it over the days and were about to pack our bags to say goodbye when something unexpected happened.
The night before leaving we ended up in a small internet cafe. The internet was too slow to do anything, so we started chatting around.
A young monk next to us told about his time in India.
We started a conversation about what was happening in the world at that moment, and about half an hour later the monk invited us to his monastery the next day.
We did not have an invitation like that before, so we decided we would accept the offer.
Before saying goodbye to the country, we’d be doing one last day trip.
Next morning we woke up early and jumped on a motorcycle together. No idea where we had to go, but by asking many people along the road, we found a small monastery by midday.
There came a big surprise. It was no ordinary day, it actually was the big celebration of the birthday of the upper monk in the Kyauk Kalap Buddhist Temple.
Hundreds of monks, from small to big, were praying, eating and accepting small goods from the people of the local community.
We were the only westerners around. It was such a great honour to be invited as a guest on such a special day!
I believe it’s what gives you the best travel memories. Those moments where you just happen to fall in daily life, when unexpected surprises come to you.
Even when you can’t communicate, you can always smile and be together, right there, only then.
And the picture you ask? These are some of the monks we met during that day.
They’re still in school, looking through their classroom window. Totally distracted from what their teacher was telling them.
Fortunately, the teacher was ok with the situation. He even let the students out of their classroom to go on the picture all together! We took a polaroid and gave it to them.
Because hey, how cool is it to have your class picture hanging in your classroom?!
Standing proud in the middle of a small, artificial lake is Kyauk Kalap, a tall finger of sheer rock mounted by one of the most unlikely pagodas in Myanmar.
The rock offers great views of the surrounding countryside and nearby Mt Zwegabin, and is allegedly the best place to see the sunset over this mountain.
A round-trip by motorcycle taxi from Hpa-an will cost K6000, or K10,000 by thoun bein.
The Kyauk Kalap Buddhist Temple is a working monastery and is closed every day from noon to 1pm to allow the monks to meditate.
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