Myanmar: The Land of Many Faces I – Old Times Mandalay
Castle gates, gigantic royal palace, wooden teak cloister, world´s largest book, the Iravadi river – welcome to Mandalay.
60 minutes lasts a flight from intranational airport Bangkok, Thailand to Mandalay. You can buy the flight ticket from home. Also, we recommend you to get an e-Visa. It costs 50 dollars and you can stay 28 days in Burma (another name for Myanmar). Exchange euros or dollars at Mandalay airport and you will get local currency - kyats However, keep about a quarter of your money in dollars or euro. You can pay for accomodation or transportation in foreign currency. Also note that you should have new unbent notes. You would probably need to hurry to a bus operated by AirAsia company which takes you to the city and the cost of which is included in your flight ticket. The airport is 45 kilometers away from Mandalay.
It is tiresome to enter dry out Mandlay covered in dust, cars, bikes, and mopeds. Yet the environemnt soon changes to beautiful architecture of the royal capital of Myanmar. The so called golden city was founded by King Mindon Min in 1857. He was the one before the last ruler of the Konbaung dynasty. He built his grandiose residence there. For 25 years was Mandalay the capital. However, its glory soon declined. The Brittons captured Mandalay in 1885. The Japanese ruled over the city during the WWII. Today a military junta is city´s lord as well as the entire country´s.
For 20 dollars for 2 persons a night we find accomodation in Nylon hotel. OUr room is clean yet it lacks window. We set off to the center. Buildings are being built everywhere. Scaffolding made of bamboo is glued to the houses and next to it there are piles of warm sand. Mandalay expands rapidly. The main ground for this became the opening of the border with China back in the 1990´s. Over 120 thousand people were forced to work on Yangon-Mandalay road, they also built bridges and railroad. Hundreds of people died because of this rapid expansion of infrastructure. They died of diseases, exhaustion, and work place accidents.
We buy a 10 dollar ticket which allows us to visit all landmarks in Mandalay as well as those in Amarapura and Inwa, towns nearby. The main point of interest for tourists is the royal palace which consists of 130 buildings. Its walls measure 3,2 kilometers, and %8 meters in height. Tourists can enter only through the east side guarded by the military. We get up to a (33 meter high) watch tower. There we saw the view of the entire compound and a ceremony including colorful Buddhist-style parade.
We set off to another landmark - a teak cloister. You can enter wooden Shwenandaw Kyaung cloister only sans shoes. The atmopshere is wonderful. Barefoot we walk on gently squeaking wooden floor. We feel like we were in the past, in the golden age of the city. Shwenandawu is also called "the cloister of the golden palace". It was the main rasidence of King Mindon.
Kuthodaw Paya palace also known as "world´s largest book" is very close to the cloister. Every marble panel represents one page. There are over 729 of them inside white stupas. Snow white houses shelter the pages from sun heat and monsoons.
Mandalay Hill is a great place to observe sunset and sundown. Mandalay hill is 236 meters high. Buddhist atmosphere and panorama of the Iravadi river bank and the Shan Hills is what welcomes you on its top. The sun is disappearing slowly abehind the hills. I can only think of how beautiful was my first day in Myanmar.
GPS: (letiště) 21°56'25.8"N 96°05'22.7"E
Text and photos: Šárka Vacková
Endless beaches with white coral sand, countless of Buddhist temples, breathtaking mountain vistas, many kinds of exotic life, and vivid life in the capital.
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.
There are only handful of places where you don’t have to think about anything. I enjoyed this state of mind in a cave.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ko Lanta island is an ideal place for peaceful rest, or to enjoy cool tropical atmosphere of southern Thailand. Half-empty beaches, bungalows, and small pensions scattered across coconut groves will enchant you. The same applies to sleepy bars, restaurants, and there are also great possibilities where to dive, or you can visit a vast national park in the mountainous middle of the island. It will take you mere three hours to get there from the Krabi airport.
Krabi province in south Thailand has been more and more popular. Ao Nang resort and Ko Phi Phi are its greatest attractions. They offer splendid sceneries around limestone cliffs, many great bars, restaurants, and nearby are beaches like Railay, Ko Poda, and Ko Hong which are among the most beautiful in all Thailand.
When I was arriving at the center of Krabi province I didn’t expect much. Guidebooks don’t mention it at all and it is rather an obligatory stop for many travelers while transporting to local islands or to nearby Ao Nang resort.
The capital of Thailand belongs to largest cities in southeast Asia as there live 8 million people. Cheap flight transportation makes it a natural place from where to start travels to the region including countries like Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, or Malaysia. In my opinion, too bad than many travelers spend there a day or two and move on.
The night is setting upon the land, streets are going alive – with food. When I arrived at there, I was not hungry. But now I would eat just everything. Hundreds of variations of noodles and rice, various sea creatures, great grilled meat, lots of fruits and veggies. The Chinese Town in Bangkok chewed me and swallowed me.
Countless shrines, dozens narrow streets with beautiful old houses, luxurious hotels, museums, omnipresent food aromas, and the best coffee in Thailand. You will fall in love with Chiang Mai instantly. There are kind people, international atmosphere, and it is really clean in there.
A town where is a water canal, banana trees, remains of wooden cloisters. Curious looks of Burmese children, and a pleasant encounter with farmer Uman.
Great performance of the sun and the longest teak bridge in the world in the background. This you can see at only one place in the 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.
Long and grimmy winter is an ideal time for a tropical vacation. It will recharge your batteries....