Pack Earplugs, Don’t Unplug Buddhist Chants

Bello passed me an article yesterday. We both shook our heads. We knew from personal experience why the Dutch tourist unplugged loudspeakers echoing Buddhist Chants.

Travel Tip Tuesday

During the day, Inle lake in Myanmar is a peaceful floating city. The sky is reflected on crystal clear lake. The only noise comes from motor blades slapping into the water on twenty foot long boats.

Lake Inle Myanmar
Lake Inle Myanmar

What to Expect Traveling In Myanmar

Nighttime is a different story, a very different story. Local Buddhist ceremonies are held to keep demons at bay. The problem is the volume. Loudspeakers are used to echo the chants through the community. All night long. As the sun sets on the horizon, so does it set, on the hope of a peaceful night sleep.

Inle Lake Burma

Western tourists are not the only ones struggling with the noise pollution.Western Buddhists visiting countries in Asia for the first time are reportedly,

“surprised on how noisy the environment is due to the blatant use of loudspeakers.”

There has even been a move to take action. Loudspeakers have only existed since the 20th century and not proven to strength the faith.

The Sri Lanka Central Environmental Authority drafted plans to curb community sound pollution because it is considered a serious health hazard. — Buddhist Publication Society

Now, this is in no way an excuse for this tourists actions. The New York Times article below shares this traveler’s story. He’s about to pay a hefty price, three months in jail. In Myanmar, that won’t be easy and could be in fact life threatening.

My duty is not to share judgment, just information with my fellow travelers making their own travel plans in Myanmar.

Is Myanmar a good place to visit? Absolutely. I’ve written before about its life changing effects for me. If you’re even thinking about visiting Myanmar, GO!

Just know these two things.

  1. Chants broadcast over loudspeakers at night are shockingly loud in Buddhist countries in Asia.
  2. It’s probably better to pack earplugs, than a sense of entitlement anywhere you go. A good life rule in general but especially countries with a history of arresting tourists who insult their religion.

Ok, maybe that was a little judgy.


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