This month our family travel snap is out and about exploring Myanmar with the intrepid five travellers behind the family travel blog Smiths Holiday Road

A moment of calm for Woody at the Hsinbyume Pagoda © Bronwyn Leeks

What’s the story behind this photo?

We had arrived in Mandalay, Myanmar, the night before and were excited to explore the nearby town of Mingun. Mingun is accessible by  both road and boat so we chose to get there slowly on the Irrawaddy river which took around an hour. Mingun has this fabulous white pagoda named Hsinbyume Pagoda which we climbed, surrounded by gold tips looking out across the village and river.

I may have taken around 100 photos of this incredible pagoda but I really love this one because youngest son Woody is just taking it all in.

After visiting the pagoda we wandered through the village, chatted with locals and enjoyed a cool drink before getting back on the boat. We find it very important to engage in local traditions when we travel so we had our faces painted with thanaka. It's a paste made from tree bark which all the locals use for face care, cooling down and sun protection.

Kids’ perspective

Woody: I remember this day was very hot and we were very sweaty walking up all the steps of the Pagoda. We left Cooper's wheelchair at the bottom and Dad helped him walk up to the top. We said a prayer to Buddha at the top for our friend and saw many purple lotus flowers.

Bron's tips for exploring Myanmar with kids:

1) Get there sooner rather than later. Compared with other Asian destinations, Myanmar has limited tourism at the moment and this means you see its genuine nature.

2) Make sure you leave enough time for Bagan. We wished we had longer to ride the bikes around more! It was so great to have that freedom of exploring (over 5000!) historic pagodas. 

3) Don't forget to book places to stay with a swimming pools so the kids get chance to cool off.

Pepper's face is painted with thanaka © Bronwyn Leeks

Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?

Next up we are planning a trip at Easter to Spain, Portugal and Morocco. We hope to hire a camper van for Portugal, visit the Sahara in Morocco and ride some trains in Spain. And of course enjoy the food!

Lastly, complete the sentence:

When we shut the front door ready to go and travel as a family, we always make sure we have…

... 5 passports, 5 people, carry-on bags and a wheelchair! 

You can learn more about Cooper's life and travels is our book This is My World, where 84 children from incredibly diverse backgrounds share their stories and photos of what’s unique about their lives.

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