Myanmar [Burma]

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  • Day99

    I'm in Myanmar or Burma if you prefer (it changes every so often based on the political situation) but the local people seem to favour Myanmar. I arrived in Yangon after the bus to Bangkok. Firstly the airport was impossibly pristine - not what I was expecting at all. The friendly lady checked my passport and waved me through - so far so good. I managed to grab a taxi with a guy who I met at the ATM heading the same direction too.

    Yangon is a very busy city with a lot of British Colonial influence to the buildings. Compared to the well trodden path I've been in SE Asia so far there are very few tourists here, so the feel is quite different. I can walk for an hour or so and I'm unilkey to see a Western face - it makes it feel far more authentic. The locals are very curious too and many will stop and talk to you without always trying to sell you something - unbelievable!

    On the first day I visited Shwedagon Pagoda, a beautiful temple that defines Yangon and can be seen from most areas of the city. It's made of thousands of gold leaves and carved into intricate shapes. I had to wear a longyi - basically a sort of long skirt: all the men wear them here for some reason - not many people wear anything else. Many people also like to sport tannika, a kind of sunscreen slash make-up that's bright yellow made from a certain tree bark. They just slather it on their faces. It looks a bit silly and clown-like to be honest but it works here as everyone has it. It's weirder to see the people without it.

    On the second day I went with a few people on the local circle train around the city - it's basically a three-hour train ride that circles the entire vicinity and shows you a real local insight. Well, what an experience... firstly we had to locate where the platform for tickets was - that took about half an hour of backwards and forwards with the station staff. We eventually got them and waited for another half hour. When the train pulled up it might as well of been something out of the eighteenth century. It was hilarious - decrepid, smelly, busy, noisy and slow - but it cost about 30p for the whole trip so can't really complain.

    We clamboured abroad and set off - a friendly local man decided to chat to us for ages. He was very knowledgeable about lot of things and it was nice to talk to him - he gave us all various history lessons on Myanmar and other countries and also seemed fascinated by James Bond for whatever reason. The journey itself was fairly eventful too. At every stop literally dozens of people rushed on the train shouting all sorts and yelling to sell stuff; food, toys, toiletries - you name it they sold it. It was so bizarre, it was like a market on the train. At each stop people would just throw stuff out of the window and new people would board the train balancing things on their heads or carrying various items that really didn't belong on a train. Dead crickets, grapes, lottery tickets, rice, party poppers were all on offer. Others would rush down the carriage handing items out and peddling their wares. If you were to try that in London or another Western subway system they would probably get stuck on the train due to the amount of people squashed in - it would be anarchy. We all bought some corn on the cob from a guy and sat and munched it along with the locals feeling amused and watching the city role by.

    The next day I wandered around the city a bit more and went to the market - zero foreigners again and a lot of colourful textiles and materials - mother would have loved it. I then ate some tasty noodles and headed back. On the way I stopped at Sule Pagoda, basically a temple in the middle of a roundabout. I also passed a lady who had loads of seeds and was surrounded by hundreds of pigeons - she waved and chucked a load of them into the air laughing - the birds went mental for it - I wouldn't want to be caught in that swarm.

    I'm heading back on the road to Bagan now, the ancient city with thousands of temples. Getting to the Yangon bus stop was ridiculous though - it was two hours away from the city, what kind of nonsense is that? Eventually got there and registered for the bus. Nearly ended up on the wrong one again thanks to a guy that directed us to a similar service. I booked the VIP bus for an extra four dollars and what a dream - it's probably the best bus experience I've had on the whole trip. The Burmese know how to manage night buses. Firstly you check in like an airport, then there is a little bus stewardess that directs you to your seat and announced the bus itinery in Burmese and broken English (not sure the need as there were no Burmese on the bus, but whatever). She then brings a little snack around for you and a towel - absolutely quality, the roads however not quite the same experience. Bumpy, twisty, loud - typical SE Asia.
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  • Day108

    Bagan - a definite highlight. It's absolutely stunning. An ancient city with thousands of pagodas and temples dotted around the landscape. Small ones, medium ones and large ones as far as the eye can see - incredible. Despite having seen numerous temples on this trip (if you didn't know, they are quite common in Asia 🤓), Bagan is still a site to behold. I arrived just in time for sunrise so the taxi took us to a viewing temple - the sun was just about up when we got there but the view was still great. I got to the hostel and for a lot of the rest of the day caught up on some sleep. In the evening they organised a boat tour on the river to watch the sunset.

    I signed up for the hostel tour around Bagan the following morning. You had to rent an e-bike, basically an electronic moped that was practically silent (I want one, they are great for buzzing around!) and follow the group. It was excellent. The guide took us to a few of the main temples and explained a lot about the history of Bagan - he was pretty amusing. He also took us to a school for young monks (more like misbehaving monks based on our experience). About a hundred kids were shouting, play-fighting, throwing stuff etc - just being kids, it was quite funny. The guide was trying to teach them English and they eventually calmed down a bit and came to chat to us for a while. Their English was actually pretty good and they were well versed in basic phrases. They also knew a fair bit about football too, but after ten minutes or so they lost concentration and it all decended into chaos again and they just wanted to wrestle and take selfies. I ended up with two trying to arm-wrestle me at once while another would violently smack his mate with a plastic fan - less 'ohm', more arrgh! 🤣

    After that energy, we went back on the bikes to a little restaurant before winding our way through the temple grounds back to the hostel. In the evening we went for another sunset tour, this time to the pagoda area. You could climb up and see all around Bagan. Unfortunately clouds got in the way of an amazing sunset - a recurring problem in Myanmar but definitely a nicer 'problem' to have.

    On my final day in Bagan, I went to Mount Popa, a large temple situated on top of a hill that's an extinct volcano. It looks very impressive from afar, but when I got to the top it's a bit of a standard affair. The view of the surroundings however was really nice and there are loads of wild monkeys running about. One stole this man's cigarette much to his irritation and my amusement. On the way back we stopped at a palm sugar making place and tried a few flavours - very tasty but probably a quick route to diabetes if regularly consumed.

    Got the night bus to Kalaw (the jumping off point for treks to Inle Lake) we arrived annoyingly at 3.00am it was supposed to be 5.30am. So we wandered to our hotel and slept until the morning. The following day we walked around the town and compared trekking companies. Our group settled on one due to start the next day and for the rest of the day we pottered about, had some noodles and got ready for the trek.

    Day 1

    It's tipping down with torrential rain and I'm about to start a three day trekking experience - current mood: unamused 😒 We're in the office of the trekking company awaiting our start and eventually set off sporting our much needed rain ponchos up the hill and into the Kalaw countryside. The rain is lashing down as we ascend into the surrounding areas. We stop for lunch at a viewpoint where we can see precisely nothing owing to the cloud. After a while it clears a bit and the view is better. A woman dressed in traditional tribe clothing is having a photo shoot too on the mountain which is cool to see.

    After lunch we set off walking again, thankfully the rain has subsided and we're able to enjoy the trek. The surroundings are very scenic and our guide is hilarious. He has this weird laugh he does when you ask him a question, then sort of nervously runs away grinning slightly maniacally. Endearing and strange at the same time. We continued walking and reached our guesthouse for the night. A giant spider decided to appear in our room and we spent the next 20 minutes trying to catch it, eventually we managed to put it outside much to everyone's relief - rather not have that fall on you in the middle of the night 🕷. We ate some great homemade food and played a few games before retiring for bed and getting set for day two. be continued
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  • Day112

    ...Day 2

    I'm awoken from slumber by bashing pots and pans, surprisingly slept well despite the potential for hazarddess spiders and the like. After breakfast we continue the trek across the fields pausing so often to admire the views. We walk down a railway track and I feel like I'm in the film 'Stand by me' - children pass us, holding hands and delicately balancing on the track beams - looks like something out of the 1930s. We reach our second village and have a bucket shower which has a ludicrously low wall - it may as well not be there as leaves little to the imagination.

    The following day we set off for the final walk to Inle Lake, it comes into view as we're walking across rich and thick red soil with farmers toiling in the fields. We say goodbye to our crazy tour guide. He gives us his cursory mad laugh and rides off. The rest of the day is spent on a boat tour around Inle Lake. It's a town on water - instead of walking or driving, children paddle in boats to school, old women sit in wooden rafts and motorised boats ferry folk to their respective destinations. The entire place is filled with buildings on large stilts with canals everywhere - bizarre but really cool at the same time. 🚣

    We stop off at various highlights including the silk factory where they weave intricate patterned material in what looks like the most painstaking process - very talented but pretty laborious. We also watch the fisherman in the middle of the lake. They cleverly paddle their boats with one foot while simultaneously managing to fish in the water with a large net. It's an awesome site against the surrounding scenery.

    The following day a few of us hire a bicycle and explore the surroundings. We go for a tofu tour, which sounds boring but was genuinely really interesting. The guy took us around a local village and we learned how it's made, turns out there are like 40 different varieties, who'd of thought?! He gives us some tofu at the end and it's absolutely delicious - I need to figure out how to make it properly as it's alway pretty tasteless at home. He also gives us a pure sugar candy ring. More than one or two and you'd be bouncing off the walls like a hyper kid on e-numbers.

    In the evening we head to Inle winery for a few tasters of Burmese wine (not the best) and a great view. It's really windy and the sample promptly falls over. The lady brings over another chucking and we head inside for a few of the preferred glasses. The place is supposed to shut at 6.00pm, we finally head back at around 7.30pm in bike convoy as it's now pitch black.

    I'm off on the road to Mandalay, pretty sure that's a film or a book... anyway I arrive at around 5.00am and immediately we decide to go to Ubein Bridge to try and catch the sunrise. Clouds once again have other ideas but it's a nice spot nevertheless - apparently it's the longest wooden bridge in the world. We pass lots of monks on it and a few people exercising in the morning light. We potter through a couple of very local markets and the selllers look like they have seen a load of ghosts. We catch a boat across the river and wander around some temples and a few other interesting bits before heading back.

    My final day in Mandalay starts off fine. A few of us hire bicycles and cycle around the city. We go to a gold leaf making shop which unfortunately is quite underwhelming - it's just people hitting the gold to make it flat. After that we head towards the jade market. On the way my bike breaks and we spend the next 20 mins trying to fix it. I set off again and literally within ten minutes someone else's bike breaks! Hmm pattern emerging here...? Again we fiddle around and some locals come and help us. They fix the bike and it breaks again within five minutes. A couple of our group have to leave so we say goodbye and send them off with the two knackered bikes and three of us continue on to the jade market.

    Interesting fact, Myanmar is apparently responsible for producing around 90% of the world's jade. Pretty awesome, the market is mad with people buzzing about selling and bartering for jade. We watch it being, cut, cleaned and poished. It's a hive of activity. We then set off towards Mandalay hill for a sprawling view of the city. A bike breaks yet again on the way but we manage to get to to the top with a lift in a truck. The view is fantastic. We stay a while then aim to ride back down the hill. Surprise, surprise... a bike breaks! 😲 you couldn't make it up! The pedal is bent and the breaks are shot. We make it to the bottom alive and toss the bikes in the van, we give them back to the guy and tell him they're all crap, he pretends not to understand - classic get out technique. We leave it but mention the place to the hostel.
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  • Day117

    This driver literally thinks he's Lewis Hamilton! We are tearing up the hill on the way to a place called Pwi Oo Lin in a car definitely not designed to take corners at this speed. The driver is grinning and you can see his red teeth from all the chewing of beetlenut tobacco he does - it's a massive thing here to chew it, so many people have very stained teeth, my dentist would have a fit! They look like vampires, It's that obvious and they spit it out on the floor everywhere - delightful! 😝

    Thankfully we make it in one piece. We check in and decide to hire bikes for a quick explore of the town - it tips with rain so we abandon said exploring and see if we can find a pool table, instead we end up at a really local joint where we play snooker with the patrons much to their amusement, before getting soaked again on the ride back.

    We stopped in Pwi Oo Lin to catch the train to Hsipaw, my last spot in Myanmar. It's a seven hour train journey so I opt for the first class seats which turn out to be about two pounds extra - worth it! The train is great, there are the usual people jumping on and off selling stuff and a few backpackers scattered around. We go over a famous (and very steep bridge) which is a little nervy, but the scenery is stunning. It's like what you'd imagine a rickety pass to be...rickety.

    We arrive in Hsipaw and transfer to the hostel. I hire a bike with a couple of people and explore around a little - there's the various temples and things to check out plus a wooden monastery. The main thing to do here though is trekking again. I'd heard of a very well reviewed tour run by a guy who calls himself Mr Bike for whatever reason. Everyone is a 'Mr Something' here, I saw signs for Mr Charles, Mr Book, Mr Shake etc. We manage to sign up to go with him the next day.

    Mr Bike is quite a character, very fun and informative. This is a much tougher trek than before though so it's good he kept us entertained. On day one we walked uphill for what seemed like hours. The scenery is some of the best I've seen here mind but it's bloody hot! We arrive in the middle of the forest and get to spend the night in a tree house under the stars. It's pitch black so you can see loads which is really nice. In the morning we set off again, this time attempting to go down the hill, most of us fall over as it's ridiculously slippery. Covered in mud, we head deep into the jungle which is really cool. No-one else is around and we're surrounded by the sights and sounds and the canopy of trees. After the walk we arrive near a river and jump in for a refreshing wash. Mr Bike informs us that we'll be sleeping in hammocks strung up between the trees. They are actually super comfy although we are quite exposed to our lovely mosquito friends. Unfortunately it rains later in the night and we all have to transfer to a large tent - shame, I was enjoying the hammock.

    The final morning, we walk for half hour to a calmer part of the river, annoyingly my flip flop breaks on the way. They've done a good turn to be fair - RIP. We're going tubing down the river, I'm pleased as I barely tubed in Laos, more got a bit wet and went to a bar, so this makes up for it. We all float leisurely down the river. Occasionally it turns quite rapid and it's no longer calm but more like a water park ride - good fun. The river calms again and we reach our final destination for lunch - speciality Shan noodles. We just appear to be in this women's house as there are kids running around and loads of family pictures on the wall. Inexplicably there is also a large picture of the popstar Avril Lavigne! It's just randomly there inserted next to the family photos - so weird! 🤔

    I spent the last day in Hsipaw sorting a few bits out and chatting to people in the hostel - I then took a 14 hour bus from Hsipaw back to Yangon and I'm the only foreigner on it, they are playing a terrible movie really loudly. After the dinner stop they thankfully turn off the TV and I manage to sleep a bit, except the guy in front reclines his chair almost perpendicular squashing my long 'non Asian' legs. The chair goes back stupidly far, it's practically a bed! 🛌 I recline mine too and attempt some more limited shut eye.

    So it's goodbye to Myanmar for now, I really liked it and am glad I could see it while it remains relatively authentic and before it gets too popular. It's only going to get more touristy as there is lots to see and do here.

    Now to West Malaysia for a quick look around...
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  • Day186

    Und schon gehören vier Wochen Myanmar schon wieder der Vergangenheit an. Myanmar, du warst für mich die große Unbekannte. Zuvor stellte ich mir die Frage, wie es wohl sei ein Land zu besuchen, dessen Entwicklung durch das Diktat eines Militärregimes für fast ein halbes Jahrhundert zum Stillstand kam. Ein Land, in dem der Alltag seines Volkes noch immer von Krieg und Mord bestimmt wird. Ein Land, das zu den größten Heroinproduzenten weltweit gehört. Wie ist das Reisen in einem der ärmsten Länder der Welt?
    Im ehemaligen Burma angekommen herrscht eine friedliche, für Reisende offenkundige Oberfläche. Doch weite Teile des Landes sind noch immer nicht für die Öffentlichkeit geöffnet, die Stimme des Volkes ist verstummt, schwere Unruhen erschüttern das Land bis heute.
    Myanmar, du giltst als das goldene Land, als das Juwel Asiens. Deine Tempel und Pagoden glänzen im gesamten Land prächtig um die Wette. Deine Liebhaber sagen, hier sei alles Gold, was glänzt! Im Gegensatz hierzu gibt es kaum Kühlschränke, eine miserable Energieversorgung und katastrophale Straßen. Die Armut deines Volkes ist nicht zu übersehen. Aber offensichtlich ist auch die pure Freude in ihrem Gesicht, wenn sie mich mit ihren von Betelsaft zerfressenen Zähnen anlächeln. Noch haben sie ihre Seelen nicht an den Tourismus verloren, noch sind dieses Lächeln und diese Freude echt.
    Myanmar, ich bin mir selbst nicht sicher was mich an dir so fasziniert, aber ich habe mein Herz an dich verloren. Das Reisen ist kein Leichtes, aber gerade das macht den Reiz aus. Noch lässt sich das authentische Myanmar erkunden. Reisen mit dir ist noch teilweise ein Abenteuer.
    Ein kulinarisches Highlight bist du nicht. Das Bier ist meist zu warm und das Essen oft zu ölig, dafür jedoch ein kulturelles und religiöses. Als Vielvölkerstaat hieltst du für mich ein abwechslungsreiches Programm bereit.
    Myanmar, für mich bist du nicht das Juwel Südostasiens. Für mich bist du ein ungeschliffener Diamant, leider noch eingebettet in Kampf und Gewalt. Bis zum nächsten Mal, Myanmar! Auf deine Veränderungen bin ich gespannt.
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  • Day151

    Nach unserer Begeisterung über den ersten Sleeping Bus in Myanmar, wurden wir bei unserer zweiten Fahrt wieder zurück auf den Boden der Tatsachen geholt. Zwar hatten wir immer noch vergleichsweise viel Beinfreiheit und etwas zu Trinken und Snacks, aber das wars auch schon. Die guten Busse fahren wohl auch nur auf den guten Straßen und so hatten wir dieses Mal einen Luxusbus aus den frühen 90ern. Wir wurden neun Stunden lang hin und her geschüttelt, sodass an schlafen nicht zu denken war. Den verlorenen Schlaf holten wir gleich in unserer neuen und sehr schönen Unterkunft nach, bevor wir die Stadt und Essensmöglichkeiten erkundeten. Wirklich viel gab es jedoch nicht zu sehen und bald setze auch der erste Regen ein. Dank des Regens saßen wir auch am nächsten Tag weitgehend in unserem Zimmer und versuchten die verbleibenden Tage in Myanmar zu planan, was uns überraschend gut gelang.

    Auch für den nächsten Tag war Regen angesagt, aber da wir keinen weiteren Tag im Zimmer verbringen wollten, haben wir uns auf gut Glück zwei Fahrräder ausgeliehen. Wir wollten endlich auch mal den See sehen, für welchen wir immerhin bereits vor der Ankunft 10€ p.P. zahlen mussten. So fuhren wir mit den Drahteseln knappe 15 km bis wir an einem Steg standen, aber immer noch keinen See sehen konnten. Ein netter Burmese erklärte uns, dass auf dieser Seite des Sees viele schwimmende Dörfer und Gärten liegen und der eigentliche See nur mit dem Boot zu erreichen ist. Zufällig hatte er ein Boot und bot uns an uns über den See zur anderen Seite zu fahren. Es war zwar etwas teurer, aber wir wollten den See unbedingt sehen und so sind wir samt Fahrräder auf das lange, schaukelnde Boot gestiegen. Die Fahrt war aber doch lohnenswert! Besonders die schwimmenden Gärten haben uns sehr beeindruckt. Der Weg zurück - also nun auf der anderen Seite des Sees - bot tatsächlich mehr Ausblick und führte rein zufällig an einem Weingut vorbei. Wir können es auch einfach nicht lassen und so haben wir einmal mehr gelernt, dass der Wein in Asien nicht sonderlich gut, aber dafür überteuert ist.

    Am letzten Tag hat es dann wieder geregnet und die klassische Bootsfahrt mit etlichen Stopps an Handwerksbetrieben und Tempel - die eigentlich jeder macht und empfiehlt - haben wir dann ganz ausfallen lassen.
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  • Day158

    Hsipaw ist für Trekkingtouren in dem nahegelegenen Gebirge bekannt und bereits in Hanoi wurde uns von zwei Reisenden die Trekkingtour bei Mr Bike empfohlen. So verabredeten wir uns gleich nach unserer Ankunft mit Mr Bike - mit welchem wir bereits am Inle Lake Kontakt per Mail aufgenommen hatten -um letzte Fragen und Einzelheiten zu klären. Mr Bike war ein richtig sympathischer Mann dem wir von Beginn unseres Gespräches anmerkten, dass ihm sein Trekking viel Spaß macht und er mit dem Herzen dabei ist. Daher überlegten wir nicht lange und sagten für die Tour am nächsten Tag zu ohne das Angebot der Konkurrenz zu checken.

    Am nächsten Morgen um 8 Uhr wurden wir von Mr Bike und Joe, unserem zweiten Guide an unserem Hotel abgeholt. Nach einer kurzen Fahrt in die Berge trafen wir den Rest der Gruppe, insgesamt waren wir 11 Leute. Der Trek begann einfach über eine Schotterstraße bis zu einem Shan- Dorf. Hier machten wir eine kleine Pause und Mr Bike erzählte uns von dem Leben auf den Land (er selbst ist ein paar Dörfer weiter aufgewachsen). Nachdem wir uns das Dorf angeschaut und etwas mit den Kindern geblödelt hatten ging es weiter. Allerdings war unsere Gruppe um vier weitere Guides und drei Hunde aus dem Dorf angewachsen. So dass wir eine kleine Karawane bildeten, allen voran meistens die Hunde und zwei Guides mit Gewehren um Wild zu jagen, allerdings wurde während unserer dreitägigen Wanderung keins gesichtet und somit auch nichts erlegt. Nach dem Dorf ging es schnell querfeldein vorbei an Kühen, Bauern und Reisfeldern. An einem Fluss stoppten wir für ein ausgiebiges Mittagessen (wie sich herausstellte hatten wir wieder Glück, unsere Guides stellten sich abermals als hervorragende Köche heraus) bevor es für den Rest des Tages steil bergauf ging bis zu dem von Mr Bike und seinen Guides gebautem Baumhaus. Auf dem Weg hielten wir immer mal wieder an und Mr Bike erzählte uns über hier beheimatete Pflanzen und Tiere. Nach 5 Stunden bergauf waren wir dann endlich am Baumhaus angekommen. Dieses war phenomenal! Das erste Baumhaus war zwar nicht besonders hoch dafür aber dreistöckig, dabei war der erste Stock war ein großer Aufenthaltsbereich mit Liegestühlen, Terrasse und Sitzecke sowie einem fantastischen Ausblick. Das zweite Baumhaus war auf über 10 Meter Höhe und bot 5 Schlafplätze. Hier lies sich nach dem anstrengenden Marsch, einer weiteren sehr leckeren Mahlzeit und etwss Happy Water gut entspannen.

    Der nächste Tag begann mit Regen, es hörte zwar passend zu dem Start der Wanderung auf zu regnen, da wir allerdings von dem Berg herunter mussten waren die ersten zwei Stunden eine lustige Rutschpartie in der sich fast jeder mal auf den Allerwertesten setzte. Im Tal angekommen erwartete uns eine Wanderung entlang eines Baches, welchen wir auch mehrmals über kitschige Steine oder Baumstamme überquerten. Die Pfade waren teilweise so zugewachsen dass unsere Guides mit ihren Macheten einiges zu tun hatten und wir das Gefühl hatten tief in den Dschungel vorzudringen. Ein richtiges Abenteuer eben. Wobei wir in Wirklichkeit aus dem Dschungel heraus zu einem Fluss wanderten, an dem sich unser Hängemattencamp für die zweite Nacht befand. Am Fluss angekommen waren alle sichtlich ermüdet von der ständigen Konzentration die dieser Tag mit den zahlreichen rutschigen Steinen und matschigen Wegen gefordert hat und erfreuten sich an einem erfrischendem Bad im Fluss. Unser Camp war genau wie das Baumhaus super gemütlich und so wir saßen wieder alle bis spät abends zusammen.

    Am letzten Tag wurde entspannt! Nach einer 15 Minütigen Wanderung am Fluss entlang, kamen wir an einem kleinen Strand an wo auch schon Reifen für das Tubing auf uns warteten. Wir legten uns also auf unsere Reifen und liesen uns den Fluss entlang treiben. Zwischendurch wurden wir von den Guides im Boot eingeholt und mit Bier, Snacks und burmesischen Zigarren beschenkt. So ließen wir uns für drei Stunden den Fluss entlang treiben. Zum Abschluss gab es noch eine Suppe zu Mittag bevor alle zurück ins Hotel gefahren wurden.
    Erschöpft von den drei Tagen fielen wir nach einer ausgiebigen Dusche erstmal ins Bett und ließen den Trek und die Geschichten von Mr Bike über Myanmar und die Umgebung im Traum revue passieren.
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  • Day158

    Fast von überall her zu erkennen glänzt die Shwedagon Pagode in Myanmars Hauptstadt Yangon selbst im Regen. Oben angekommen öffnet sich mir eine Fantasiewelt. Die Shwedagon Pagode - das Wichtigste Heiligtum der Buddhisten in diesem Land.

  • Day162

    Um 3.45 Uhr schwingen wir uns noch schlaftrunken auf die Räder und radeln in Richtung Maha Muni Pagode. Der gestrige Abend steckt mir noch in den Knochen, aber die kühle Morgenluft wirkt ähnlich wie ein Aufputschmittel. Nach 15 minütiger Fahrradtour durch das nächtliche Mandalay erreichen wir die Pagode. Hier wird jeden Morgen um vier Uhr die enorme, goldene Buddha-Statue gewaschen. Und dies ist ein echtes Erlebnis. Unzählige Gläubige haben sich wie wir zu dieser frühen Stunde auf dem Weg gemacht, Buddha zu huldigen, zu beten, zu meditieren oder um sich einfach nur das Spektakel anzuschauen.
    Einem Mönch wird die Ehre zuteil, das Gesicht des Buddhas zu waschen und zu polieren. Begleitet wird dies durch permanentes Gemurmel der Gläubigen, die Gebete sprechen und singen. Nach einer Stunde strahlt der Buddha wieder über beide Ohren, die Menschen und widmen sich ihrem Alltag. Einem Alltag, in der ihr Glaube die höchste Priorität hat. Auch wir radeln zurück. Mit dem Unterschied, dass unser Weg uns direkt ins Bett führt.
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  • Day165

    Die britischen Kolonialherren ließen den Viadukt bauen, um die Eisenbahnlinie von Rangun über Mandalay bis nach Lashio zu verlängern. Als amerikanische Ingenieure die Eisenbahnbrücke 1901 vollendeten, war sie die zweitgrößte der Welt. Rund 793 Meter lang und 111 Meter hoch spannt sie sich über die Gokteik-Schlucht. Noch heute gilt sie als technische Meisterleistung.

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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