From Ngapali we flew (over Yangon) to Mandalay where Camille’s mom, also known as “La Mama” joined Backpackdiariez for the second time! Mandalay is the second largest city of Myanmar, lying on the bank of the Irrawaddy river and surrounded by thousands and thousands of pagodas. The new scenery of hunking cars, food carts and street markets stood quite in contrast with laidback Ngapali!
Mandalay is surrounded by ancient royal cities which are a must when in Mandalay. We rented a taxi for the day and started off with Sagaing, offering spectacular views over a valley of green hills full of white and golden pagodas sticking out of the horizon. It was wonderful to stroll around here watching children monks playing in the streets and going through the many souvenir shops.
We continued our visit of the region with Inwa, another ancient imperial capital of Burma. The city is about 20 km South of Mandalay but it felt like we had traveled back in time when we arrived here. Cars are replaced by horse carts and houses by straw and clay huts. We visited the town from the back of a horse cart which was an amazing experience, even though not the most comfortable way of transportation 🙂
The next stop was Amarapura, a third former capital of Burma, which is where the famous U Bein bridge is located. This is the longest and oldest bridge made out of teak wood in the world, crossing the Taungthaman Lake; what a scenery especially at sunset.. Indeed, Myanmar is one of the largest producers of teak in the world, so this is the place where to buy your garden furniture folks! 🙂
The next day we visited the little town of Mingun, which was about 1 hour away by boat (which we almost missed because our taxi-driver got into an accident with a motorbike!). The boat trip was probably the most memorable part of the visit as we passed by little villages and fisherman, very cool to observe.
We stayed only two days here but could have stayed longer as there is so much to see! As in Ngapali people were ever so friendly and helpful; we love Myanmar…
- Smart hotel – clean and quiet rooms with a lovely rooftop restaurant for breakfast
- Shan MaMa restaurant – an excellent street restaurant (tables and chairs are literally on the street!) where young crowds gather to eat the dish of the day and sip Myanmar beers. A great address!