05/14/2012 07:14 am ET Updated Jul 14, 2012

Stepping Back In Time In Myanmar (PHOTOS)

There's an innocence to Myanmar that is unique in Southeast Asia. Walking the streets of Mandalay or Yangon, it's not uncommon for someone to approach and ask if they can join and give directions to the next destination. The experienced traveler suspects that there will be a price tag, but the Burmese often refuse money at the end: They just want to practice their English and make visitors feel welcome.

Still, it is the unique visuals more than the kindness that puts Myanmar on every travel photographer's list of destinations. Horse-drawn carriages are a frequent form of transportation. The light in the countryside has a gentle serenity. The religious sites, from the enormous Shwedagon Pagoda to the small temples that line the hills throughout the country, have a dreamlike quality.

I rather suspect that even as the country transitions into the modern world, the aura of the past will not disappear.

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