Our last day in Mandalay was a breathtaking experience. Since we enjoyed our tour earlier, we booked another one from the same company. In our previous tour, we shared a van. But, today, a private car was assigned to us. This was, indeed, a surprise. Our tour guide explained the ‘change in arrangement’. He mentioned about ‘miscommunication’. The other tourists who were supposed to be with us changed their tour date.
Our tour guide arrived late. Again. But, that’s forgivable. We’re happy to have a private car — just for us. Because of that, we also changed our plan. Instead of leaving our luggage at the hotel, we just carried them with us.
The first item on our itinerary was a visit at the Mahamuni Pagoda. This is one of the most important pagodas among Burmese. Here, the Buddha image is believed to be one of the five made during the earthly lifetime of Buddha. Its 6.5-ton and it’s made of bronze. It sits at the center of the pagoda. Only males were allowed to line up to ‘put’ gold leaf.
Aside from the Buddha image, we got the chance to take snap shots of Myanmar people — all ready to pose for a smile.
Then, we went to a bronze casting shop. Here, we saw some Buddha images and learned the intricate processes involved in making them.
Afterwards, we drove to Mingun. That’s about 45 minutes. Mingun is the former capital of the Mandalay kingdom. Here, we explored Pathodawgyi Pagoda. It is considered as the biggest brick pile pagoda in the world. We decided to climb up it’s summit. The way was steep and the sun was scorching.
Nearby, we checked out the Mingun Bell. It weighs around 90 tons. It has been named as the world’s largest ringable bell.
Then, we walked towards Mya Thein Tan Pagoda. It’s picturesque.
After lunch, we went to a gold leaf shop.
Then, we headed to the Royal Palace. Aside from its intricate structures, we also enjoyed it’s interesting museum.
Our next stop was Shwenandaw Kyaung. It is popularly known as the Teak Temple. It was once part of the king’s residence and it is one of the few original buildings surviving in Mandalay. It is not in it’s original location because it was carried piece by piece from the palace grounds. By the way, the carvings on the teak woods looked magical.
Then, we arrived at Kuthodaw Pagoda. It’s in our ‘must-see’ list. It is the world’s largest book. With 729 stupas, reading the book will take a year long.
Our last destination for the day was the Mandalay Hill. Here, we enjoyed the sunset, with the scenic view of Mandalay in the background.
With our tour guide.
Finally, we drove to the bus station to go back to Yangon.
All I could say is: Mandalay, I love you!
Stay tuned for my next travel post. It’s about Inle!
Photos Credits to J.Dennis & Me