Many areas of western Myanmar are off-limits to tourists/foreigners due to pockets of insurgency as well as the government’s inability to establish regional authority.

It is possible to secure government permits to explore these areas but the onerous and time-consuming, not to mention expensive process often proves to great of a challenge to surmount.

I ended up in Thaunggok, a fleck of dust town on a map, after a 15 hour bone jarring ride through the mountains on arguably one of the country’s worst and most dangerous roads.

Which is probably the reason i was the only foreigner in town and why people were so incredibly friendly.

Below are photos taken in the city’s bustling market.

A vendor in Thaunggok’s central market
Vendors in Thaunggok market wearing traditional Burmese hats

Vendors in Thaunggok market
A vendor in Thaunggok’s central market with Thanaka, a paste made from the bark of the Thanaka tree, protecting her face (and beauty, in Burmese tradition) from the sun
A market vendor wearing Thanaka to protect from the sun

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