Myanmar [Burma]

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141 travelers at this place:

  • Day3

    They do say that travel is as much about the journey as the destination, well today was. We got picked up by the bus at just after 10.00am, the bus was bigger that a minibus but smaller than a coach, one of those ones that has about 20 seats with a row of double seats one side and a row of single seats the other. We had booked in advance and had seats allocated so even though we were one of the last pick ups we still had seats together. On the way out of Mandalay and amidst much tooting of the horn we picked up another couple of local passengers and then, about 45 minutes after we were picked up set out on the main road. Despite a couple of stops to see if we could squeeze more passengers in we were making good progress until after about 40 minutes we pulled off the main road and started down what I would call a minor road, that was only just two lanes wide in places, and we stayed on this kind of road for the rest of the journey, picking up and dropping off people as we went, until we arrived in Bagan about 3.00pm.
    It did mean though that we got to go through lots of small villages and settlements, seeing more of rural Myanmar than we otherwise might have. One of the really interesting things is that there are still a lot of buildings I would describe as traditional in use and being built. Of course there are quite a few buildings using modern materials as well but they are not as prevalent as you might expect.
    I also found out that drivers over here love using their horns: as a warning - a general warning, a warning that they are behind you, a warning to get out of the way, a warning that they are coming through any way, a warning at a blind bend or hill especially when they are overtaking; to see if anyone wants picking up, to say hello to someone they recognise, to say goodbye, to say thank you or *****, sometimes even just for the hell of it.
    Anyway I didn’t think the bus journey was too bad, especially for about £5 or 220Baht each, I’m not sure Tanya agrees with me though and I’m not sure at this time how we will be returning to Mandalay.
    As for Bagan, we haven’t really seen enough to form an opinion yet but the hotel is lovely, we have a rather splendid room, there is a pool, a gym and a spa. We have already been for a swim and have sorted out an electric bike for exploring on tomorrow and a couple of trips for the day after and the hotel are trying to find us a boat trip to go back to Mandalay. The food looks good here so we might eat at the restaurant tonight and get an early night as we have an early start tomorrow to try and beat the worst of the forecast 40 degree heat.
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  • Day1


    May 21 in Myanmar

    We arrived this afternoon at a nice new airport, where we were met by a driver and after Tanya had sorted out a SIM card for her phone and we had exchanged a $100 note for a stack of local notes about an inch thick we set off for the ride to town.
    The new airport is some way out of town (about 30km according to the guide books) but the drive gave us a chance to have a look at the countryside. Truth be told there wasn’t all that much to notice but it did give me some time to notice a few other odd things, like the fact that all the vehicles are right hand drive, same as the UK and Thailand but they drive on the right, which makes no sense at all from a road safety perspective. Could it have been changed very recently, possibly but unlikely however you could always look it up if you’re that interested (and then let me know😎) Also I saw a number of speed limit signs with a 48kph limit on them - a very literal change from 30mph considering that most people and places just go for 50. And Myanmar has an odd time zone which is half an hour behind Thailand. I have the feeling there may be more odd things before this trip is over.
    Anyway, in due course we arrived at the hotel, which is very nice and had a special sign out for Tanya, welcoming her as a VIP - there really will be no living with her now - and checked in. Lovely large room, the only downside is it is a low floor and fronts on to a main road but we’ll see how we get on tonight. Before we say anything. On the plus side there are free cocktails between 1930 & 2030 at the roof top bar - they may live to regret this once Tanya gets there! Once we’d sorted ourselves out we went for a little wander to have a look round the local area. Hardly anyone walks here and we soon found out why, the pavements are in a pretty dreadful state and serve mainly as parking areas and covers for what looks and smells a bit like an open drainage system, although it may be different in other parts of the city as we didn’t go too far. We did find a couple of modern looking malls but it was clear that mall shopping has not caught on here yet and they were pretty empty affairs.
    So first impressions are that are that there is investment and modernisation on the way but hasn’t fully arrived yet, which for us is great as so often now one place can start to look very much like another and it’s nice to visit somewhere that hasn’t gone too far down that road yet. In any case we have only explored a tiny part of the city and things might look very different a couple of blocks away, I’ll let you know.
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  • Day2

    The Royal Palace

    May 22 in Myanmar

    Last night we stayed in and had some food at the hotel, we had only planned to have some cocktails during their free cocktail hour but you know how things are, you’re sipping on a cocktail, see some food come out and think mmm I might have to have something after all. Well with the free cocktails there was no choice just a Whisky Sour or nothing, it was ok but not what we would have chosen and the food was just ok as well although Tanya’s local Myanmar beer was very nice. But the most bizarre thing during the evening was that as we were sat there they started setting up for and then putting on a traditional puppet show, no one had told us about this, it just happened, all a bit strange really.
    This morning we woke up to the sound of rain outside and the traffic splashing it’s way through it, so we didn’t race to get up and had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. The hotel restaurant has no windows so it wasn’t until we were going back to our room that we noticed the rain had stopped, yay time to make plans.
    Top of our list of places to visit in Mandalay was The Royal Palace so we quickly checked it out then hailed (via Tanya’s phone) a Grab Tuktuk. The Palace sits in the middle of a square plot that is approximately 2km along each side with a rather wide moat running all the way around it, the rest of site is taken up with military buildings / areas and is off limits. Foreigners / tourists are only allowed to enter via the East Gate and having paid the entrance fee one of the group (me) has to surrender their passport or ID and be given a yellow foreign visitor card on a lanyard. Once you get through the gate there is a straight road to the palace, probably about 600 - 700m long with a gaggle of ladies trying to convince yo that you need to hire a cycle or get a motorbike taxi to take you there. Much to Tanya’s disgust I declined and we walked, passing loads of check points and entry forbidden signs on the side roads as we went. I think you have to remember that Myanmar had been under military control for a long time until quite recently but a smile and a nod worked well and everyone seemed friendly.
    The original palace was constructed between 1857 and 1859 but after periods of occupation by the British and then the Japanese was destroyed by allied bombing during World War 2 with only the Royal Mint and the watchtower surviving. What’s there now is a replica that was built in the 1990’s and if you look closely there are clues to this like the corrugated roofs and concrete pillars instead of wood. The good news is that despite all of this its still very impressive and well worth a visit, you can even climb to the top of the watchtower if you want and you get a fantastic view, it’s 121 steps should you fancy it. It was really hot today (about 37 in the shade) and was really humid as well with all of the earlier rain so Tanya opted out and sending me to the top to get the photos and even though I was sweating like I’d just been for a run by the time I got back down it was worth the effort.
    I reckon we must have spent a couple of hours looking round the palace and grounds before heading back to the hotel to cool down. Then a bit later on and with the help of Mr Google Tanya found a really nice coffee shop for a little bit of lunch and liquid refreshment of the non alcoholic type.
    I’ve booked the 10.00 bus to take us to Bagan tomorrow - no boats available unfortunately as it’s the rainy season, not because of water levels or anything just that the rainy season is low season out here and there aren’t enough tourists to make it worth while. There is a government run public ferry that is still running but everything I’ve seen so far says to avoid this option if you can,so we’re taking the advice. The one benefit of this is that we get picked up and dropped of at our hotels and will have time for breakfast rather than the 0630 start with the boat, swings and roundabouts I guess, although even with the early start the boat trip would have been nice.
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  • Day4


    Yesterday in Myanmar

    We were up bright and early again this morning to make sure that we had a chance to grab some breakfast before jumping on our electric bikes and setting out to explore. The bikes were very similar to our scooters at home but with no engine noise and a slightly different way of accelerating.
    Well what can I say, Bagan the town is nothing to write home about but the pagodas and temples, wow! One of the locals told us there were about 3,000 of them in total and looking at the photos I can well believe it (although there’s nowhere near 3,000😎), everything from quite small ones to grand majestic ones almost everywhere you looked all with really easy access. We literally rode right up to and around most of the ones we visited, although you’re not allowed to climb them any more, all except one and you have to take shoes and socks off to go inside some and even in the grounds of others.
    We started out trying to keep a track of the names of those we visited but not all had name boards and some weren’t named on the map so we gave up on that after a while and just tried to make sure we visited the main sites along with some of the others that are everywhere. I think we did quite well considering it was about 40 degrees in the shade and so hot that by about 1030 most of the temple grounds were too hot to walk around barefoot without burning the soles of your feet. We even had a few ouchey moments walking between where we had to leave our flip flops and the entrance to some of the temples and we could have definitely done with an icy foot bath by the end of the day.
    We had some adventures as we went round as well what with having a few tank slappers (or wobbly moments to you non bikers) as we rode through the sand, having to walk barefoot through bat poo in some of the larger temples and disturbing the odd snake as we rode past. But I have to say that all the locals we have met have been really friendly, there was a chap who took us to a temple and took me, via a very narrow, steep set of steps and a couple of narrow passageways to the top so I could see across the plains a bit better. I’m not sure that we were supposed to be up there but he said it was okay and this was the one last Temple you could climb. All he asked in return was the opportunity to show us his sand paintings and he wasn’t even put out when we didn’t buy any as we had already bought some earlier. There was also a very nice chatty lady who was okay with not being able to sell us anything but still wanted a chat and helped Tanya sort a problem with her hat, which kept blowing off.
    But there was so much to see it feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface of what Bagan has to offer and could have definitely done with a few days more here, but most of the guides advised that you could squeeze a visit in in one day but two was better so we went with that, huh, what do they know! For me this place is up there with Angkor Wat and in some ways better because it hasn’t been fully discovered by the tourist mass market yet. Although I don’t think it’ll be too long before it is so I’d advise anyone thinking about visiting to get a move on before the hordes descend, it’s not the easiest place to get to but we will certainly be visiting again before too long.
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  • Day251

    Diese Lebensfrage beschäftigt wahrscheinlich Jeden. Ich hab heute eine Antwort darauf erhalten.

    Mit den Rädern ging es den Inle Lake entlang. Ziel: Tofu Palace.

    Wenn die Leihfahrräder vertrauenswürdig gewesen wären, ne Sache von max. 1 1/2h. Nun, sie sind es nicht!

    Das Pedal von Chris' Bike hat sich verabschiedet & wir sind nach der Hälfte des Weges gestrandet.

    Gut, dass wir in Myammar sind.

    10 (!) sehr nette, junge Kerle waren sehr motiviert alles zu versuchen, um uns zu helfen.

    Wir haben in der Zwischenzeit eine Foodtour bekommen. Sehr viel zum Probieren & noch mehr Information über die verschiedenen Snacks, die ein Dorf so herstellen kann.

    Am Ende hat die Reparatur zwar nicht geklappt, aber mit dem vollen Bauch waren wir dann auch froh mit dem Boot zurück gefahren zu werden und nicht mehr eigene Kräfte aufbringen zu müssen.
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  • Day246

    Mensch ärgere dich nicht

    March 22 in Myanmar

    Mt Popa, ein Tempel auf der Spitze eines Vulkans. Das wäre mein heutiges Tagesprogramm gewesen. Wäre. Hätte das Sammeltaxi nicht vergessen mich abzuholen. Ärgerlich! Und darüber geärgert habe ich mich tatsächlich, da ich heute mit dem Nachtbus schon weiter nach Kalaw fahre.

    Mit diesem Ärger im Bauch bin ich dann erstmal in einen Tempel gefahren und hab mir das Gefühl in einer Meditation mal genauer angesehen. Ein rumbeln im Magen und ein Pochen bis hinauf in die Halsschlagader. Aber am schönsten ist es, wenn sich dieses Gefühl auflöst und wandelt. So kann es jeder, mit ein wenig Selbstbeobachtung, schaffen dieses negative, destruktive Gefühl wieder in Freude umzuwandeln.

    Und mit dieser positiven Einstellung habe ich eine tolle Sonnenuntergang-Bootsfahrt genossen und mindestens einen so schönen Tag verbracht, wie geplant.
    Schön, wie das Leben jeden Tag ein Lehrer sein kann 😊
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  • Day252

    Knoblauch bringt Glück....

    March 28 in Myanmar

    ....nunja, das war jedenfalls früher das Motto von mir und meinen Mädels & nachdem ich heute morgen mit einer ordentlichen Knoblauchfahne aufgewacht bin, vertrau ich da mal weiterhin drauf 😉

    Gestern haben wir einen Kochkurs gemacht. Morgens ging es dafür zunächst auf den Markt. Super Sache, wenn man nicht nur viel sieht, sondern darüber hinaus auch alles erklärt bekommt. Dinge, die ich immer für Suppenbasis gehalten habe, stellen sich so als natürliches Shampoo heraus & gegrillte Ratten am Stiel hätte ich selbst auch nicht gefunden (Bild 2).

    Zum Abendessen haben wir uns dann wieder getroffen. Die Küche besteht aus mehreren Eimern glühender Kohle & wir bereiten zusammen verschiedene Currys, Salate (Tealeaf Salat), Suppe und Appetizer zu.

    Yummy!!! Kurz vorm Platzen & mit einem massiven Foodbaby im Bauch war es jeden Cent wert. Ich hoffe ich bekomme das Nachkochen zuhause auch mal hin.
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  • Day255

    Bei den Rebellen

    March 31 in Myanmar

    Ein unabhängiger Shan Staat. Dafür kämpfen die Rebellen eigentlich. Gegen das burmesische Militär.
    Der Shan Staat war unabhängig von Burma bevor die Briten kamen und diese Unabhängigkeit wurde ihnen auch danach versprochen. Aber da der Staat reich an Bodenschätzen ist, möchte Burma/Myanmar dieses Versprechen nicht einlösen. Die Burmesen sind hier deshalb verständlicherweise nicht gern gesehen. Auch die Sprache ist komplett anders. So musste auch ich sofort lernen "Hallo" in Shan zu sagen - "me son ka".

    Der "Feind" ist das burmesische Militär, aber momentan kämpfen die nördlichen und die südlichen Rebellen gegeneinander. Jeder möchte mehr Land, mehr Territorium dazu gewinnen. Hier bei den Shan kümmert das schon niemanden mehr. Bereits 60 Jahre geht es hin und her. Und so ist es auch keine große Sache für Joy, meinen Guide, mit mir in ein Dorf zu fahren, welches jetzt eines er Hauptquartiere der Rebellen ist.

    Schon auf dem Weg dahin, kommen uns immer wieder Männer mit Maschinengewehren entgegen. Jedesmal grüßen sie uns höflich.

    Einmal treffen wir eine kleine Gruppe. Ein Mann ist in Handschellen. Mein Guide ist überrascht, es ist ein Jugendfreund von ihm. Die Rebellen werden häufig von den Eltern angerufen, wenn deren Kinder drogensüchtig werden. Heroin ist hier weit verbreitet. Es ist bekannt, dass die Rebellen da hart durchgreifen. Nach dem kalten Zwangsentzug müssen die Männer 5 Jahre lang mit den Rebellen kämpfen bevor sie wieder zurück dürfen.
    Ganz anders geht das burmesische Militär mit der Sache um. Dieses befürwortet den Drogenmissbrauch eher. So bleibt die Shanjugend gefügig und ist keine Gefahr fürs Regime.

    Im Dorf angekommen läuft zunächst alles ganz smooth. Aber als wir zum Sonnenuntergang am Tempel ankommen war es schon merkwürdig. Ein Maschinengewehr war direkt auf den Tempel ausgerichtet. Nachdem die Rebellen uns dann gesagt haben, dass wir keine Fotos machen dürfen und bitte auch den Tempelplatz verlassen sollen, wurde es selbst meinem Guide etwas mulmig zumute.

    Wir setzen uns also auf die andere Seite und plötzlich kommen die Rebellen und wollen Fotos mit mir machen. Das Maschinengewehr hab ich nicht selbst genommen, es wurde mir in die Hand gedrückt 😮

    Alles blieb nett und freundlich. Sie haben noch ein paar Fragen zu den Essensunterschieden zwischen Deutschland und Asien gestellt und irgendwann haben wir uns dann verabschieded und sind zu der netten jungen Famile in den Homestay gegangen.

    Ja, echt spannend. Es waren sogar richtig hohe Tiere dabei. Aber ein bisschen zu bunt wurde es meinem Guide dann doch. Und ich bin wohl vorerst die letzte Touristin, mit der er in dieses Dorf kommt.

    Schade für die junge Famile, bei der wir geschlafen haben. Aber gegen die Rebellen sollte man sich besser nicht auflehnen.
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  • Day260

    Zwischenstopp in Mandalay

    April 5 in Myanmar

    Jetzt sitz ich schon wieder im Bus und begebe mich auf meine 24h Fahrt nach Mrauk U. Zum Glück reagiere ich mit extremer Müdigkeit auf Reisetabletten und so werd ich wohl, trotz der Enge im Bus, recht gut schlafen können 😉.

    In Mandalay hab ich in der Wartezeit noch schnell die bekannte U-Bein-Brücke besichtigt. Das ist ein Fußgängerübergang über dem Taungthaman-See. Die 1,2 Kilometer lange Brücke wurde um 1850 erbaut und gilt als älteste und längste Teakholz-Brücke der Welt.

    Trotz der Bekanntheit bin ich der einzige Tourist weit und breit und natürlich mal wieder auf zahlreichen Familienfotos verewigt 😅.
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  • Day243

    Shwedagon Pagoda

    March 19 in Myanmar

    Eine der berühmtesten Stupas der Welt und der wichtigste Sakralbau/das religiöse Zentrum Myanmars.

    Zwar war der Sonnenaufgang etwas nebelig heute, aber immerhin war es kühl und ich war so früh am Morgen der einzige Tourist hier.

    Zusammen mit Tint konnte ich erleben, wie, wo und warum bei den verschiedenen Buddhas gebetet und gespendet wird. Ein wenig schwierig war es dann ein vegetarisches Frühstück aufzutreiben. Also gab es eine art Kokosgeleeplätzchen und süßen Kaffee.

    Did you know: Jeder in Myanmar und zwar wirklich JEDER, egal ob Mann oder Frau, trägt einen langen Rock. Der sogenannte longyi, gehört zur traditionellen Kleidung hier und ist häufig sehr farbenfroh. Vielleicht lege ich mir auch noch einen zu.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Union of Burma, Birma (Myanmar), Myanmar [Burma], Mianmar, Miyanma, ማያንማር, Myanmar, ميانمار -بورما, М'янма, Мианмар [Бирма], Myanimari, মায়নমার, འབར་མ།, Myanmar [Birmania], Mijanmar, Myanmar [Birmània], ބަރުމާ, མེ་མར, Myanmar [Burma] nutome, Μιανμάρ, Birmo, Birma, Birmania, مایانمار, Miyamaar, Burma, Birmanie, Maenmar, મ્યાંમાર, Miyamar, מיינמר, म्याँमार, Bimani, Մյանմա, Birmania/Myanmar, Mjanmar, ミャンマー連邦, მიანმარი, Myama, មីយ៉ាន់ម៉ា, ಮಯನ್ಮಾರ್, 미얀마, म्‍यन्मार, میانمار, Byrmani, Мьянма, Myanima, Börma, Mozambiki, ສະຫະພາບພະມ້າ, Mianmaras, Myamare, Mjanma [Birma], Мјанмар [Бурма], മ്യാന്‍മാര്‍, म्यानमार [ब्रह्मदेश], မြန်မာ, म्यान्मार, ମିୟାମାର୍, Mianmar [Birmânia], Birimaniya, ब्रह्मदेश, Myämâra, මියන්මාරය, Mjanmar [Burma], Мијанмар [Бурма], மியான்மார் [பர்மா], మ్యాన్మార్, Birmánia, Мянма, เมียนม่าร์ [พม่า], Pema, Birmanya, بىرما, Мʼянма [Бірма], میانمار [برما], Miến Điện (Myanmar), Mianmarän, Orílẹ́ède Manamari, 缅甸, e-Myanmar [Burma]

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