Burma's second largest city sometimes gives you the feeling as it doesn't fint into the country. To be honest, I loved it more than any other city in the country yet it was unimpressive at first. Let's make a quick look at the city.
The influence of British colonialism is strongly present in Mandalay. However, Buddhist culture is still present on many places. When I tried to find out why the city so differs from the rest of the country, I realized the foundation date is the key. It was King Mindon who commenced construction of the new capital in 1857. Many cities are much older. Moreover, only 26 years after the foundation of the city, the country was seized by the British..
Many visitors to Mandalay spend only short time in the city while on their way to the famous Bagan, or north of the country. But there is a lot to see and the city and in its proximity as well. First, visit the vast royal palace compound, and climb up the holy Mandalay Hill for the sundown.
Be sure to make a stop by U Bein Bridge – the longest bridge made of the precious teak wood. Also, follow my recommendation and visit Amarapura, a neighbor city which was the capital in the past.
Streets markets were the greatest entertainemnt for me in Mandalay. I drank tea with different people in street stands, and observed the life around. Unlike the busy and noisy Yangon, here you won't get a headache after short while.
You can also board some of regular boat or train lines connecting the city with neighboring villages. Only there you can learn what the real life in Myanmar looks like. Many places have been untouched by globalization so far nor by modern technology. And you must not travel far away. Just several kilometers behind the city is whole another world.
Do you like ancient monuments, temples and learn about new cultures? Then there is probably no better place in the world than Myanmar, a country that opened its borders in 2012 to the western world. The Republic of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is the youngest country in Southeast Asia. The westernmost country of Indochina is located on the peninsula of India's back along the Bay of Bengal. It borders Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. Since 2005, it is its new capital, Neipyijto. Burma is a Buddhist country, with less than 90% of the population reporting this religion. The official currency is the buzz, but some hotels and local travel agencies accept US dollars.
They call Myanmar the gate between India, China, and southeast Asia. In country's largest city - Yangon - you quickly realize why it is so. There, influences of all cultures of the region meet as well as people - Indians, Chinese, Burmese... Let's quickly see the center and the suburbs of the city.
Myanmar is its most beautiful side in the Shan State and around the tourist magnet, Inle Lake. You can easily reach it by bus, but how about a two-day to three-day adventure trip from Kalaw? You will experience a journey from village to village, between different ethnic groups. You will sleep in a Buddhist monastery, you will have the opportunity to get closer to the local culture and life in the countryside, and finally you will reach the aforementioned Inle Lake. The lake is one of the most popular and at the same time the most beautiful tourist destinations in Myanmar.
While travelling across Burma, we travel to Hsipaw in Shan State in the north of the country. Full moon is about to come. In this time a large celebration takes place in Bawgyo. Many Burmese delicacies are sold during this time, and you can experience also some fair rides and fire works.
Whistling train comes on time. The rails squeak. We looked down into the mouth of the canyon up form the Gokteik viaduct. What should we see first? The view over scarily deep canyon or slow moving of the train? Welcome to the one of the most famous railroad viaducts in the world.
Colonial structures, an English-style tower, railway stop, orchid park, bamboo bushland, the view over a botanical garden, motorbike ride, waterfalls and rainbow and a great melon at the end. This is Pwin U Lwin. A town with a hidden face of fresh Burmese beauty.
Monumental pagodas over 250 years old are glitter under sun shine. Pointy cactuses rise among temples made of red bricks. There are also bushes with red and rose blossoms. You can hear a clapping sound made by shepherd’s clogs.
Let's climb up the second highest mountain of Myanmar. Nice weather means beautiful vista over mountains in India and to Bangladesh. There is a complicated road to the base camp. On the other hand, the climb is easy and takes you up to 3053 meters above sea level.
The last stop in Burma is devoted to recreation on beach and a motorbike trip. A banana shake for breakfast, sea fruits for dinner. Peace, quiet, swashing of the waves during the sunrise and the sunset. Paradise or reality?
Southeast Asia is booming. Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia are in some respects much more developed than we here in central Europe. However, should you like to experience the "true", unglobalized Asia then travel to Myanmar, Cambodia or - as we in this short video - to Myanmar, the country you might know as Burma.
One of the most popular place in Myanmar is Inle Lake. There are couple of interesting things about it. First, there are traditional fishermen. But also, there are unique floating gardens, and many villages built on water - on lake, or the river streaming from the lake.