Myanmar was definitely one of the highlights in Asia. So here’s a little overview of our week there. We didn’t have much time but we used our time quite well and managed to see all the highlights that we wanted to. Of course there’s a lot more to see but let’s leave it for the next time 😉
Day 1 – Yangon
We had just one day in Yangon so we decided to visit the most important place first: Shwedagon Pagoda. It’s quite remarkable in many reasons:
- According to some, the pagoda is 2,600 years old, making Shwedagon the oldest pagoda in the world. According to others it’s from 6th century. Whoever is right, it definitely is old.
- Nearly US $3 billion, or at least 5% of Myanmar’s current annual gross domestic product – that’s the estimated value of the umbrella atop the Shwedagon Pagoda.
- It’s the most important Buddhist site in Myanmar.
There were so many locals visiting this place and we saw just one or two tourists what was quite surprising. That place definitely had a strong spirit and you could really feel it.
Other places that we visited in Yangon: Bodhi Nava Boutique (best food!!!), Kandawgi park (lovely walk, great view to Pagoda), Sule Pagoda (quite small, but in very busy neighbourhood), Chinatown, Indian neighbourhood.
We had our night bus in the evening and it took us around 2 hours to get out from the city to the biggest and craziest bus station I’ve ever seen (Aung Mingala Highway Station). But we made it and started our night bus journey with JJ Express towards Inle Lake.
Day 2 – Inle Lake
Night bus seemed endless and it even though the seats were comfortable, it was pretty hard to sleep because road was super bumpy & curvy and as usual – bus was speeding. We arrived to Nyaung Shwe around 5.30 am, it was only around 7-8 degrees outside and we were super tired + freezing.
So we just walked to the closest guest house, stepped in, asked for a room and went to bed right away. After sleeping for few hours, working and breakfast we rented two bikes and started exploring the surroundings.
We visited some temple on our way, explored little Kaung Daing village and paid to a local lady to get us and our bikes across the lake. WOW that was super beautiful boat ride – floating gardens, stilt houses, locals with boats, fishermen, water like a mirror, endless views and mountains. Everything was stunning!
Our boat driver dropped us off at Mine Thauk bridge what’s a long wooden bridge – again very beautiful views everywhere. It was cool to see so many locals and not that many tourists.
Later we continued our journey with bikes – had yummy food in Bamboo Hut restaurant (where I also saw one huge spider on toilet paper), visited Red Mountain Estate winery and biked up the hill to see the sunset.
This whole day was magnificent but one thing I’ll never forget is the moon rise. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. Massive moon side rising behind the mountains – wow, it was powerful!
Day 3 – Inle Lake
Evenings and mornings in Inle Lake were seriously cold because we didn’t have too many clothes so we decided to skip sunrise (the coldest time) and went to morning market instead.
We found cool local food place Lin Htett near Mingalar market, the owner told us about politics & history and we got Myanmar tea and famous Shan noodles.
After noodles it was time for a boat ride again. We had our own cool local boat and a local guy was driving us around the whole day. Needless to say that it was extremely beautiful!
Inle Lake has so calm water, honestly it’s like mirror all the time. The cool thing is that it’s also relatively clean or at least we couldn’t see much trash in the water.
So that’s what we visited: floating gardens, silver workshop, lotus & silk workshops, Ywama village, Indein Stupas, Jumping Cat monastery and long neck ladies.
One of my favourites was Indein Stupas – wow. Hundreds if not even thousands of stupas, many different colours and sizes. We also stumbleuponed to a viewpoint and so incredible views from there.
Our day ended with a sunset on the lake – SO PRETTY!
Day 4 & 5 – Temples in Bagan
I’ll write about the temples more in my next blogpost (hopefully it will come) but all in all Bagan is truly unique place and it’s hard to describe the feeling and beauty of this place.
Day 6 – Boat ride from Bagan to Mandalay
We woke up at 4.30am and walked to the port to start our 10-hour journey from Bagan to Mandalay by boat on a river. Pretty soon we started seeing red glow in the sky and the sunrise was spectacular.
Overall the whole journey was very chillaxed and I even got a bit of work done. We arrived to Mandalay right before sunset and went to see U Bein bridge.
Day 7 – Mandalay
We had just few hours in the morning before our flight so we had sunrise breakfast from top of a skyscraper and went to see World’s largest book – Kuthodaw Pagoda after that. Basically each page had it’s own little white house 🙂 very pretty as you can see from the photos:
And here’s a video of our first 3 days in Myanmar: