I guess it was the right choice for us to travel to Mandalay instead of Ngwe Saung (a popular beach in Myanmar).
For the record, I have to say this, so far, Mandalay is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been.
Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Myanmar.
We booked a tour from our hotel. Our itinerary included Sagaing, Ava, and Amarapura. They are 3 ancient cities of Mandalay. We paid 18USD per pax. By doing the tour on your own, you can save more. But, based on our experience, booking the tour was, in a way, hassle-free.
Here are the details of our travel diary during our first (official) day in Mandalay.
We woke up at 7AM and enjoyed our breakfast.
By 8AM, we were already at the lobby. We waited for our tour guide. Our pick up time was between 8 and 8:30AM. Our tour guide arrived late — by 30 minutes. He said, the traffic in the area was heavy.
First, we went to a handicraft workshop. There, we saw how intricate local handicrafts, such as wood carvings, puppets, wall decors, were made.
Then, went to a white pagoda. I forgot the name of this Pagoda. Sorry! =)
After 30 minutes, we went straight to Mahar Gandaryone Monastery. There, we saw monks lining up for their meals. It was a different kind of experience!
Then, we went to Soon Oo Pone Nya Shin Pagoda. This was at the top of Sagaing Hill. There, we enjoyed an overlooking view of lake and the rest of the pagoda area.
Our last stop before eating our lunch was at a silverware workshop.
Look! This silver is too heavy! I can’t steal it. LOL!
Then, we ate our lunch. Obviously, that noodle was mine!
After our lunch, we went to the next ancient city — Ava, a.k.a. Inwa. We needed to ride a boat to get there. Then, we were toured the village driven by a horse cart.
We paid 10,000 KS per pax in order to get a pass to this Mandalay arcaheological site. We also used this pass the next day.
The first site was Bagaya Monastery. The posts were made of solid teak wood.
Then, we went to Yadana Hsemee Pagoda Complex.
Then, we headed to the watch tower. It was such a beautiful site for me. It was built in 1822. Due to the earthquake, it was destroyed. Since it was restored recently, we weren’t allowed to go up there.
When we reached Mahar Aung Mye Bon San Monastery (Brick Monastery), I took my style post. I totally loved this place!
From Ava, we went back to the city proper. We visited a silk weaving shop.
I loved every aspect of the silk weaving process. I didn’t get to buy anything because the silk products were generally for women.
Our last stop was my favorite part of our tour for the day (and the third ancient city on our list). It’s the U Bein Bridge. This is located in Amarapura. The bridge was named after the mayor who built it. FYI: This is the world’s longest teak bridge, measuring 1.2 km. The boat ride wasn’t part of the tour but we wanted to see the sunset in a beautiful perspective so we paid 17,000KS.
I would just let the photos amaze you!
What a small world? We saw a former student of Dennis.
Then, we came back to our hotel at 7PM. We decided to eat at the same tea shop where we ate dinner the previous day.
We ended our day with a traditional Myanmar massage. Oh, my. It was painful.
Photos Credits to J.Dennis & Me
(Canon 70D and iPhone 6S)