THE WEEKLY #61: I’M IN MYANMAR AND NO LONGER SOLO!
The Indonesia Media Trip came to a close and I spent a few days recovering in Bali. Lots of content needed to be edited, written and exciting emails read. I actually enjoy the hanging out in coffee shop/ hotel lobby side of blogging for the most part so it was nice to take a break from the nonstop adventure. However, the break only lasted a couple of days. Hardly even long enough to get a few blog posts up.
I jumped on a plane and flew to Bangkok for the night. It would be my last day solo for a while as I met my sister at the airport. Our plan is to travel through Myanmar for the next three weeks.
The next morning we landed in Mandalay and had our first experience in Myanmar. So far our time here has been incredibly quiet. I never check but I assume it is the low season. Only 300,000 tourists visit a year but compared to Southeast Asia, Myanmar is like a quiet country town. Sometimes I don’t know which way to drive on the road because there are no other cars or bikes in sight to copy.
We had a couple of days to explore Mandalay and headed to the Ubein Bridge and then later made the 1700-step trek up to Mandalay Hill. It’s pretty amazing to come from a city in Australia with 1 million people and then to arrive in a city with 6 times that amount. What makes it even more incredible is that Mandalay doesn’t even look like a city from the hill it is completely engulfed by jungle except for one tiny portion.
These kids were shooting pellets at a can near the river and were demonstrating their accuracy for me as I snapped a few shots. Some pretty heavy artillery for kids but they were just mucking about.
After a few days of adventuring in Mandalay and watching my sister attempt to order vegan food in another language, we decided to head to Bagan. It’s the most popular tourist destination in Myanmar and has been compared to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
A 10-hour boat ride, which was surprisingly comfortable, led us down the Irrawaddy River towards Bagan. In a first for Asia, we arrived three hours earlier than we were told. India take note.
Bagan is famous for its temples and pagodas. During the 11th century to the 15th century over 10,000 pagodas, stupas and temples were built on the plains of Bagan. Today 2,000 still remain and are scattered throughout Bagan.
Sitting atop the Pagodas looking out over the plains has been on my bucket list for a while. Unfortunately, I came in the off-season for hot-air ballooning. However, the essence remains the same. We feel very much like tomb raiders exploring the vast plains of Bagan on our trusty but relatively pathetic E-bike.
Our Myanmar adventures will continue in Bagan before we head to the idyllic Inle Lake region on a 10-hour bus neither of us is looking forward to.
Hope you all had a good week.