We feature some of the brightest Instagram storytellers in the Passion Passport community through our Instagram Spotlight series. This week, Pavel Chvets (@pash.c) tells us about his travels through Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Myanmar had been on my bucket list for a long time, and it didn’t disappoint in any way! From the moment I saw the morning sun rise over the misty Bagan valley and illuminate hundreds of ancient temples and hot-air balloons on the horizon, I knew that it was a country set apart by a fairytale touch. I was also taken by the daily life in Yangon and Mandalay — filled with busy streets, food stalls, and ever-smiling people — and the relaxed life of the countryside that I experienced during my three-day trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake. During that time, we passed through remote hill-tribe villages, and slept and ate with our local hosts. Needless to say, Myanmar is a memorable place.
Before venturing to Iran, I was apprehensive but excited. Friends and family had warned me about the dangers and instability of the country, while news coverage had told me about Iran’s international relationships and past as a severe regime. But the attraction of its rich history, and the countless stories I’d heard from other travelers, fueled my desire to see it for myself. And it was amazing.
From the busy streets of Tehran to the emptiness of the Varzaneh Desert, the bustling bazaar of Tabriz, the tranquility of the Nasir al-Molk Mosque, the welcoming and warm-hearted people, and some of the best food I have ever eaten, Iran is a special place. Don’t hesitate — go see it for yourself.
The only things I knew about Hanoi before visiting were that it’s known for its characteristic straw hats, insane traffic, good food, cheap drinks, strong coffee, and juxtaposition of past and the present. And looking back, those things are precisely why I liked Hanoi.
Now, I miss sitting on small stools on sidewalks, sipping freshly brewed beer, sharing delicious baguette sandwiches, being surrounded by scooters and cars, and embarking on long days of exploration that would begin at sunrise.
Since I was living in Thailand, I wasn’t expecting much from my trip to Laos. The cultures, climate, and geography are similar, and the languages are easily understood — but I was pleasantly surprised by what I found there. From traditions still present in daily life, like the Alms Giving Ceremony or the Talat Sao Morning Market, to its stunning landscapes and misty jungles, Laos is a hidden gem of Southeast Asia.
With jungles, waterfalls, rice fields, white and black-sand beaches, good food, rich culture, perfect weather, volcano summits, and countless diving sites, Bali has it all. The best advice I could give is to rent a scooter and explore! If you have time, venture to Lombok, Nusa Island, and the Gili Islands — they’re all worth a stop.