Summary of a trip around Burma (Myanmar)

13 05 2012

In March 2012 we spent two weeks travelling around Burma (Myanmar), as shown on the map, a tour organised by Explore Worldwide. It will be of no surprise to anyone that we took some photographs. Rather a lot of photographs.

burma highlights map

Paul’s photographs have now been collected together here in the following sets.

Yangon
Where's my hat?
Following a reasonable but long flight, which involved flying past Burma to Kuala Lumpur and then back, we arrived in Yangon (Rangoon). After a late lunch in the Happy World park we, eventually, tracked down the mausoleum of Bahadur Shah Zafar II, the Last Mughal Emperor of India and started to get an understanding of the city.
The next day started with a visit to the very gold and shiny Shwedagon Pagoda, followed by a walk through the heart of the city with bookstalls, typewriter dictation and food stalls and then the 70m long reclining Buddha. After lunch it was a short internal flight, with some of the most pink food ever, and on to Inle Lake.

Full picture set here.

Inle Lake
This is how you do it

After flying into Heho – let’s go! – we spent a number of days touring the area by small, 5-seater boats seeing many water-side pagodas and stopping at the numerous small craftworks including weaving, metal working, cheroot making and umbrella making. We also explored the Indein pagoda complex and tested the products of a winery. We left the lake area for the hills by train.
Oh, we also saw jumping cats.

Full picture set here.

Kalaw
Selling with stlye.
On the Shan Plateau we stopped at the Myinmmathi cave and went for a walk in the hills through a small village with a dusty library and excellent tea. The sunset was spectacular. A long drive then took us to Mandalay.

Full picture set here.

Mandalay
Off for donations
Stopping for a procession on the way we arrived in Mandalay to find a busy city – but with few cars – and a now familiar mix of pagodas, historical sites and craftworks. Sites visited included the old and new Golden Palace Monastery, the World’s Largest Book at the Kuthodaw Pagoda and the very gold Mahamuni Pagoda. For the crafts we had the production of gold leaf, wood carving, marble working, bronze casting and more weaving.
We also travelled up river by boat to the magnificent unfinished pagoda at Mingun where there is also the largest ringing bell in the world. South of Mandalay we visited the island of Inwa with the yellow Manu Ok Kaung monastery and the ancient teak Bagaya Kyaung Monastery. On the way back into town we took a boat trip and walked along the 1.2km footbridge over Taunhthaman Lake.

Full picture set here

Irrawaddy River
Timeslip bridge
We left Mandalay in the early morning to sail down the Irrawaddy river passing by pagodas, under bridges and stopping at a banana boat. We arrived in Bagan to the most spectacular sunset.

Full picture set here.

Bagan
Points along the sky
The Bagan plain is home to thousands of temples, pagodas and monasteries originally dating from the 9th, 10th and 11th century and in various states of decay and restoration. Highlights included the restored Shwezigon Pagoda, the giant Dhammayan Gyi Temple, the white Ananda Phaya pagoda and the red/gold Dhamma Ya Zi Ka pagoda.
We saw many, many Buddhas as well as lacquerware manufacture and giant cheroots. A visit to the new Archaeological Museum was essential.

Full set of pictures here.

Return to Yangon
Memories of Myanmar
Back to Yangon in time for a visit to the excellent National Museum and dine at the local Mafia hangout (to judge by the number of SUVs and bottles of whisky on each table) then next morning to the airport for the flight home.

Full picture set here.

Posts on individual subjects and Elizabeth’s pictures are to come.

words by Paul
photographs by Paul (‘pink food’ by Elizabeth)

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