On our journey to pick up the boat at Pakkoku taking us down the Irrawaddy river to Bagan, I asked our guide Wyn about a rather peculiar practice I had noticed with the locals in Myanmar. Every morning they paint their faces with a yellow substance, looking like very poorly applied make up, some add a circle on each cheek, others two broad square brushstrokes and a few cover their whole face. This is not limited to the women, male and female use the dye, young and old, even the toddlers have it smeared on them.
Apparently, the use of Thanaka is purely cosmetic and unique to the people of Myanmar. It is a paste made from ground bark and sold in shops and markets throughout the country in its raw form of a short but thick branch from the Murraya tree.
An early start on our first