My Travels Around the World

Category: Myanmar

Myanmar 2016 Chapter 7: Back to Yangon

The lake this morning was covered in fog which made it look eerie but gave it a whole different sort of beauty. We took a car instead of the boat from the hotel back to Heho. I missed floating on the lake. But I had to admit that driving along the lake and through the villages was also beautiful. Monks on the morning walks. Fields of sunflowers. A man with his ox. And so much more.

But it was time to head back to Yangon, and then home.

To read more, click on this link:

Day 9 Yangon

Myanmar 2016 Chapter 6: Inle Lake

The rest of day was spent riding our boat around the villages. Watching the people in the boats, in their homes on stilts, in shops, in restaurants. Many women were washing their laundry in the lake. Other men and women were bathing (but always covered up even while bathing), themselves or their babies.

To read more about the beautiful Inle Lake, click on these links:

day 7d inle lake

Day 8a Inle Lake

Day 8b Inle Lake

Myanmar 2016 Chapter 5: Kalaw to Inle Lake

This morning we got to sleep in a bit. Last night was interesting. Before retiring, they brought ear plugs to our room. We were not sure why. But once we settled in with our hot water bottles, we realized that we could hear the chanting from the monastery somewhere nearby. Once a year the monks chat for 7-12 solid days, 24 hours a day. This is their way of teaching the lay public about Buddhism; specifically they are chanting the Law of Coordination. To me the chanting was like a white noise machine so I had no trouble sleeping. In fact, once an hour when they switch monks and it got quiet, I wondered what happened.

To read more, click on these links:

day 7a kalaw to inle

day 7b kalaw to inle

day 7c kalaw to inle

Myanmar 2016 Chapter 4: Mandalay to Kalaw to Heho

Today was a fabulous day! First I slept until the alarm went off at 5:15 rather than waking up at 3 in the morning. We finished packing, had breakfast and headed out to our waiting car. On the ride to the airport we saw the monks lining up for breakfast. The first sighting was just on the street along the moat in front of the old palace wall. They were walking to get to wherever they needed to line up. And one straggler was running to catch up. The second sighting was at the entrance to a pagoda. They were lined up like soldiers, just under the gate. All this happened too fast for a photo, but I will remember it. Although it was very early in the morning, the walkway along the moat was full of people jogging, walking, and exercising on free exercise machines. It was very reminiscent of other Asian countries like China, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan where you see everyone taking good care of themselves and exercising in the early morning hours.
The rule here is get to the airport about 1.5 hours early as once everyone is there the plane might leave before the scheduled time. We had to go through security with all our bags first, check in, get our stickers (this time beige with a picture of the old palace), go through immigration (not sure why as this was all domestic), go through security again with our carry-on bags, and sit and wait for the plane to arrive. Once the bus took us to the plane, we boarded up the narrow, little steps into the propeller plane for open seating. The Mann Yadanarbon airline 25 minute flight to Heho was uneventful.

To read more, please click on these link:

Day 6a Mandalay to Heho

Then it was back on the road, the old road this time, to head to Kalaw. Kalaw is famous for trekking which we had no intention of doing. We were all dosing off, although I tried to keep my eyes open to see the beautiful scenery. Suddenly the car stopped and Toe pointed out a festival taking place on the fields on the side of the road. It was a festival celebrating the end of the school semester. The fields were filled with PaO families (one of the ethnic minority groups in this region, the Shan region) from different villages. It was an end of the school year festival. The young kids were performing songs and dances on a stage. The mothers all had their orange turbans and were carrying their babies on their backs. There was a group of novice monks sitting on the hillside watching. There were men, in their headdresses which looked like colourful terry cloth (ie, towels) standing around together. There was a group playing volleyball and another group of girls playing soccer. There were food vendors and people sitting around watching the show. What luck to pass by a festival! This doesn’t happen every day. This is not something we were expecting to see. But what a joyous mixture of color and sounds and smells. And smiles. I think they were all as excited to see these strange tourists as we were to see them. I started dancing to the music the kids were singing and they women around me thought that was hysterical. I asked a group of young girls all dressed up ready to perform to be in a picture with me, and they just were not sure about that. But a few agreed. And then they smiled at me. That says it all. And Toe was ecstatic that we happened upon it.

To read more about the road from Heho to Kalaw, click here:

Day 6b Mandalay to Heho

Myanmar 2016 Chapter 3: Mandalay

We flew early in the morning from Bagan to Mandalay, where the airport was new, modern and quite a bit larger. They are trying to make Mandalay an international airport but now only flights from Bangkok land here. The rest are domestic. Nevertheless, the luggage was still hauled by carts pulled and pushed by men. It was a 50 minute ride into town, and not only was the airport modern, the roads here were newer, better built and there were even toll roads. But two of the first sights that greeted us was two men on a motorcycle with shotguns on their backs and watermelons. Lots and lots of watermelons. And like everywhere in Asia, along with regular gas stations, much of the gas was still sold out of soda bottles along the side of the road.
While there are no motorbikes allowed in Yangon (as I explained there is a rumor that a high official had a motorbike accident and banned them), in Mandalay there were many, many bikes.


To read more about Mandalay, click on these links:

Day 4a Mandalay

Day 4b Mandalay

Day 4c Mandalay

day 5a Mandalay Mahagandayon Monastery

day 5b Mandalay U Bein Bridge

day 5c Mandalay Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda

day 5d Mandalay


Myanmar 2016 Chapter 2: Bagan

Bagan 2016

Days 2-3

The day began very early as we had to catch a plane to Bagan, our next destination. We were given breakfast boxes with fruit, a sandwich and juice, which we ate in the car. The airport system here is like none I have ever seen. First, as you would imagine, the airports outside Yagon are all rather small. Check-in areas are really just a desk. Our IDs or passports were never checked, maybe because Toe was with us and she arranged everything. Or maybe they just don’t check. Once checked in, everyone gets a sticker to wear and that identifies you as belonging on that plane. We also had boarding passes, but it was open seating. And the planes were all propeller planes. You have to be at the airport 2 hours before the flight time mostly because the planes often leave early. The timetable is just a suggestion.

To read more about Bagan, click on these links:

Day 2 a Bagan Jan 7

Day 2 b Bagan Jan 7

Day 2 c Bagan Jan 7

Day 2 d Bagan Jan 7

Day 3 a Bagan sunrise balloon

day 3 Part 2a bagan the rest of the day

day 3 Part 2b bagan the rest of the day


Myanmar 2016 Chapter 1: Yangon

These posts are from 2016. We begin with our arrival in Yangon, Myanmar

…..We continued onto our next site, the Shwedagon Pagoda, also known at the Great Dragon Pagoda or the Golden Pagoda… the stupa alone of the pagoda is covered with 8,688 solid gold blocks. People all over the country, as well as monarchs in its history, have donated gold to the pagoda to maintain it. The top of the stupa holds 5,448 diamonds and a combination of 2,317 sapphires, rubies and topaz. Immediately below the diamond bud is a flag-shaped vane. The very top—the diamond bud—is tipped with a 76 carat diamond. It is there to capture the sun’s rays, which particularly beautiful at sunrise and sunset.
Below the golden stupa are 7 more gold blocks, which are attached to 1,485 bells. Of those bells, 420 are made of pure silver, and 1, 065 are made out of gold. It is rumored that even more riches lay hidden deep within, offerings made long ago to the relics of the Buddhas. This has never been proven, but it adds to the mystery and lore of this sacred site.


To read more, click on this link

day 1 Jan 6 Yangon



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