The Road to Mandalay
Trip Start Nov 08, 2006
44Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Arriving in Mandalay in good spirits and with new friends we caught a truck to 'The Royal Guest House', sadly not frequented by any monarchs, but it was quite nice nonetheless. After a varied breakfast of pancakes, chicken curry, fruit and tea, we found a tour guide to take us around the sights in town. Our guide, with trademark red teeth and foaming more than is healthy from a severe betel nut addiction, took us to various sights including the Mahamuni Paya - containing Myanmar's most famous Budda image.
Its pretty cool and we put gold leaf on this statue, both of us having to don a longhi (sarong) as we were bear legged
After briefly visiting a gold leaf workshop, we enter the Mandalay Palace - bombed during WWII but rebuilt soon after. Impressive stuff with lots of teak ornately carved, the only giveaway is the corrugated iron sheets on the roofs! Last stop that day was Mandalay Hill for the sunset and superb views over the surrounding countryside.
The second day we spend on a tour aboard the de rigeur method of transport: a 50 year old Mazda pickup (no not kidding!), to go around the ancient cities surrounding Mandalay. First stop was to see the Monk's having their breakfast at Ganayon Kyaung. There are literally 100's of them here, and feel slightly intrusive snapping away; one particular Italian tourist standing right in the middle of their path with an enormous SLR, prat. On the way to our next 'city', our equally ancient pickup decides to call it a day and breaks down; luckily our tour guide is also an excellent mechanic and we were soon on the move again!
We next visited a monastery with some ornate cave paintings, and then on to Inwa where we are taken by horse and cart to various teak monasteries and temples all of which are really interesting - see the pics. Some have been hit hard by past earthquakes which gives an Indiana Jones feel to the place.
Sunset at Amapura, which is a 1.2km teak bridge built ages ago - don't know when. The sunset is yet another awsome picture, one we'll both take a long time to forget.