Shwedagon Pagoda is made from 8688 sheets of gold and encrusted with 5448 diamonds and 2317 rubies. That’s more bling than a bunch of rappers at a Mr T convention. We spent the first day getting acquainted with this unique destination. On the second day we took an orientation tour around the busy streets of Rangoon, visited the Shwedagon Pagoda and shopped at the Bogyoke Market. We then went to the central railway station and board a train for Bagan
The rooms were large and there is internet in the lobby you pay for. The buffet breakfast was quite extensive with both Burmese and Western style all tasting great. There is a nice swimming pool too welcome after a day of sightseeing. Staff were attentive too.
We jumped on bikes to ride around some of Pagan’s 2200 pagodas. We love the Buddhas at Ananda Phaya, whose expressions change depending where you stand; and Tayokye Pyay with panoramic views.
Spent a whole day here on bicycles, exploring the temples. We also explored the Nyaung U market and another local Bagan market - some of the more interesting markets in the country.
This hotel was perfect for us while we toured around Bagan. Nice staff, decent breakfast, clean rooms, quick internet, and a salt water pool. It was within walking distance to new Bagan restaurants. Biking from here to the temples in Old Bagan was within a day's work too. Great value for money.
Toned up our bingo wings as we cruised along the Irrawaddy River (ie. we spent a lot of time waving to locals). Watched the sunset from Mandalay Hill and did our bit for the local economy by sampling Mandalay rum over a bowl of khout swe (coconut noodle soup).
Boarded our public ferry before dawn and cruised up the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River to Mandalay. The next day we set off on an excursion by boat, on the Irrawaddy River, up to the village of Mingun, home to the world’s largest unfinished pagoda. We also took a half-day trip up to the hill town of Maymyo
This hotel is well positioned and the girls at the reception are kind and try to help with their level of English. However, I wouldn't recommend this hotel to anyone
We have been wondering about the yellow face paint everybody's wearing. It’s called thanaka, a paste made from ground tree bark which works as both a sunscreen and a beauty accessory (judging by some of the creative patterns). We took a hike in the hills and rewarded ourselves with a raksi (Nepali-style homemade liquor) from one of the teashops. En route to Inle Lake, we stayed in the chilled town of Kalaw. There were plenty of "teashops" serving raksi ( nepali-style home made liquor).
It's nice, clean and tidy. Good value for money.
The roads to Nyaungshwe are terrible. But we made it up with a boat trip on Inle Lake where we met the famous leg-rowing Intha fishermen. Some of the fun things we did here were:
Haggled over some of Burma’s famous silverware at the Ywama village. Journeyed to the highlands of the Shan State to spend a couple of nights at the township of Nyaungshwe
Took a full-day lake tour, by long-boat, and visited some of the local villages, explored unique temples and monasteries, and met the famous local leg-rowing fishermen from the Intha tribe
We were very surprised and pleased when we arrived at this resort: a glorious location, beautifully maintained grounds, warm welcome ( traditional musical welcome on arrival and Chinese tea in Reception). Impressive Reception building and even more impressive dining room, with big balconies overlooking the lake, which, itself, is stunning.
This was a five-hour drive to base camp at Kinponsakan, open truck drive to Rathedaung, trek along a Buddhist pilgrim trail and sleep in accommodation fit for a pilgrim (read between the lines). Best bits: Kyaiktiyo’s balancing rock and Bago’s 55-metre reclining Shwethalyaung Buddha
Spent a night near the Golden Rock
Walked up a path following groups of Buddhist pilgrims, to one of the holiest sites in Burma
Visited the reclining 55 metre-high Shwethalyaung Buddha in Bago
It’s a little quieter in Rangoon than the other cities. That’s because it’s illegal to toot your horn unless it’s an emergency. This gorgeous, crumbling, charming, dilapidated city is like an ageing beauty queen (without all the botox). We found our owned way to the monastery of the Reclining Buddha (Chaukhtatgyi Paya), visit the National Museum and did some further shopping at Bogyoke Market