With close to ninety percent of Buddhists adhering to Theravada Bhuddism, it is not surprising that you come across monks on a very regular basis in Myanmar. They are hard to miss in their dark red robes, very photogenic, and you can see them everywhere, doing almost anything. In some places, you can see lines of monks with bowls roaming the streets in search of food. You can see young monks, very old ones, joyful ones, and secluded monks, too.
Most Burmese men are monks as a teenager, and once again when they are older. And then of course, there are those who remain monks for the rest of their lives. Often, monks approach foreigners with an open mind, and are mostly not shy to try and get into touch. A surprising number of them speak English, and are genuinely curious about your background. As much as they are exotic to the visitor, that same visitor is an attraction for the average monk.
But sometimes, monks become an outright nuisance. While visiting a pagoda, it regularly happened that monks would bluntly ask for personal donations, and were disappointed when you told them you already donated money to the pagoda itself. Mind you, monks are supposed to possess very little, and definitely not to acquire goods with money begged from foreigners. Especially in areas with more tourists, seeing a monk approach me sometimes made me shrink away in expectation for more pleas for a donation.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Myanmar monks (Myanmar). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Myanmar monks. Read more about this site.