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Lunch at a local’s house in Bagan

Forget what your guidebook says. Forget the reviews on Tripadvisor and Facebook. Today you will dine at a restaurant far away from Bagan’s tourist trail. In fact, it is not even a restaurant! Today, you will have the unique opportunity to dine in a family home and experience what life is really like in Bagan.

Off the beaten paths in Myanmar

Around mid-day you will leave the immediate temple zone of Bagan and head into a local neighborhood. Many visitors fail to realize that Bagan is more than just a tourist attraction–it is, in fact, a community of over 100,000 residents. As you enter the neighborhood, you will be transported back in time. The quiet streets are lined with simple wood and brick houses. Pigs and chickens roam free from house to house, dodging the occasional cyclist who passes by. This is quite a change from the busy, dusty parking near the pagodas!

Authentic encounters with local people

Once you reach the house, your guide will introduce the host family. Learn about their lives–everything from their family history to what a typical day is like for Bagan residents. Do not feel shy! They are happy to answer any questions and they enjoy sharing their lives with visitors. They may even have a few questions for you or ask to see photos of your hometown or family, so bring some along if you can. Despite the differences in culture and a language barrier, you will still find you are able to relay messages and are likely to have more in common than what you initially expected!

Fresh out of the kitchen!

Then it is time to eat. Sit down for a delicious, traditional lunch. Your guide will explain the dishes to you and the local “family-style” way of eating. On the table will be several curries–meat or fish–cooked in a rich tomato, onion, and oil sauce. In addition, there will be plates of cooked vegetable salads, boiled vegetables, several dips, and sauces as well as bowls of soup. Spoon a few bits of curry on your rice as well as some of the salads and sauces. Between bites, enjoy a bite of boiled vegetables dipped into fish sauce or chili sauce and use a bit of soup to wash it all down. Of course, drinks are available but this is the truly local way to eat! For those afraid of chopsticks, fear not! For rice meals, Myanmar people rely on fork and spoon to eat. Hold the fork in your left hand and use it to push food into the spoon, held in your right hand. Then eat from the spoon- it’s as simple as that!

Making lifetime memories in beautiful Bagan

Once you have had your fill of home-cooked curries and side dishes, it is time for dessert. Depending on the time of year and availability at the local market the dishes will vary. You may be treated to sweet, tropical fruits or a savory favorite like tea leaf salad. Certainly, green tea will be served with jaggery from the toddy palm trees, a speciality of the dry zone region.

After one last sip of tea, say farewell to your hosts. Return to central Bagan with a new perspective about the local culture that exists just moments away from the historic pagodas.

  • Culture immersion 80%
  • Local encounters 100%
  • Food 90%

HIGHLIGHTS :

  • Understanding a new culture is to partake in a truly local dining experience
  • Learning about Myanmar and its people as you enjoy a traditional meal in a local family’s home

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