A Travellerspoint blog

Discovering Myanmar (Part 1)

Three weeks through Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake, and more...

© The Wind Riders. All rights reserved.

Hello travellers,

We’re a family of three who love to travel. Getting ready for our next big trip to Europe and North Africa, we thought we’d have a dedicated blog for our travels and our ten-year-old daughter Suni decided that we’d be The Wind Riders so that’s who we are, here to share some of our experiences and hopefully useful tips!

Being new to Travellerspoint - a good website with a real sense of community by the look of it, we thought we’d have a first short and sweet entry about Myanmar just to test the water. But it turned out to be impossible. Therefore, our Myanmar trip will have to be in several parts.

And so… "Min-ga-la-ba!” This is how one says greeting in Burmese which translates loosely as “Have an auspicious day”.

YANGON

We truly enjoyed, most of all, the diversity of the peoples, cultures, and religions. We wish that the many magnificent colonial buildings would be restored to their former glory. Even people’s houses right in the centre of town are often dilapidated. Now that the capital has been moved elsewhere, we still hope that the whole Yangon receives the right kind of tender loving care it deserves.

Sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda

Sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda

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As for food, we loved the small local restaurants where they served side dishes for free on top of what we ordered. Our table would be full of plates and bowls of food which we thought has some Indian influence. To her delight, Suni found fresh strawberries - her most favourite fruit in the whole world, from somewhere ”cool” within the country. The restaurant that served strawberry shakes became the best to her even though we objected to the oily already-cooked food there!

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Muslim men walking under Buddhist flags

Muslim men walking under Buddhist flags

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TRAVEL TIP: If for some reason, you want to take a local bus in Yangon, beware that used vehicles with steering wheels on the wrong side have been imported (people drive on the left side of the road). When a bus comes screeching at you, you may have to dodge it and then go to the middle of the road to board it. If you think a "private taxi" would be safer, think again! The taxi driver (or any other drivers for that matter) may not be able to observe the traffic for the same reason.

Note: Our insurance company wouldn’t be impressed if they find us on our rickety bicycle rickshaws right in the middle of the busy traffic.

How to get off a bicycle rickshaw in style

How to get off a bicycle rickshaw in style

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MANDALAY

In Mandalay, we visited a pagoda built with teak wood and two others pagodas which house hundreds of marble tablets inscribed with Buddhist scripture. We loved riding bicycles around the quiet Mandalay Royal Palace, especially Suni because she was carried at the back while Daddy was huffing and puffing at the front.

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Again, we stuffed ourselves with scrumtious Burmese food but this time it was like a real banquet and the three of us could only finish half of two portions. Back in Phnom Penh, a Burmese restaurant with delicious and affordable dishes is our weekly hangout.

We had an idea of looking for the famed Ubein bridge but the local bus took so long we only arrived when it was getting dark and the crowd was heading back. However, getting caught in the twilight without other people around wasn’t too bad at all (see photo below). We then considered ourselves lucky when we found a "taxi" to take us back to town. The driver was happy also to find a fare with his grandfather’s dusty and rusty bucket of a car.

That's all for now! Our next Myanmar dispatch will be about a side trip from Mandalay to see the thousands of Buddha statues in Po Win Taung caves and how the vast space around the Irrawaddy River had a calming effect on us when we cruised down its length to Bagan.

Thank you for reading!
Sandra, Tiet and Suni

Sunset at the Ubein bridge

Sunset at the Ubein bridge

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Posted by The Wind Riders 06:09 Archived in Myanmar Tagged sunset mandalay pagoda yangon asia myanmar travel_photography family_travel ubein_bridge shwedagon mandalay_royal_palace Comments (1)

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