PAGODA’S, SUNSETS AND AMAZING MONKS
Mandalay was one of those places just like Yangon where I got mixed reviews. Some people loved it and others not so much.
So my personal experience was that I really enjoyed the place. There was a lot to see and as a solo traveller I had a driver by scooter to take me places which was ALOT of fun. I got to see everything in the city but then also went to other places like Amarapura, Ava and Sagaing.
Where did I stay?
- ABC Backpacker @ Golden City Light
This place was in a great location and great wifi. I also got a rate that included a buffet style breakfast and dinner. Perfect on saving some cash but for dinner the choice was either rice or noodles.
I have to say I did eat out sometimes as the choice of rice or noodles did get to me after a while and needed a western fix. I really enjoyed my breakfast time as there was a really nice lady who worked there who would always speak to me. She would say ‘Don’t worry, we will find you nice man’. She was so cute telling me all about her ‘Sweetheart’ that it did make me feel a little envious that she found someone she really loved and her eyes lit every while she spoke about him.
One time she even came up to me in reception when she saw I was on my laptop ALL day and said ‘OK now stop. now tea break’. She brought over the sweetest coffee I ever had and cookie. I did not have the heart to say I cant have dairy or gluten so I drank it and hoped for the best. lol
Where did I eat?
So opposite the hostel there was a Thai restaurant that did a great Pad Thai also a yummy coconut shake. As I was out a lot my driver also took me to local places and I do not remember the names.
Top places to visit?
- Sunset on Mandalay Hill
Here you will also meet lots of monks who are there and willing to speak to you so they can improve their English. This is where I met my lovely monk friend. Sunsets in Myanmar were my favourite so far. Get there a bit early to get a good spot. It does get busy.
- Mandalay Palace:
When you get your ticket for the Palace which did seem a lot (I cant remember the price now) but it will also include entrance to other Pagodas within Mandalay city but also places in Ava and Sagaing. I do think it was in that case worth it.
- Shwekyin Monastery
I was really wanted to visit this place however it was a bit hard to find as it wasn’t so touristy. But this place was beautiful. Lucky my driver helped me find it and HE actually never visited and really liked it also. Seems I found a hidden gem. LOL It was an old monastery made from wood, like seriously the work was beautiful and most of all it was great that there was no tourists so could really enjoy it.
- U bein Bridge
This is a great place for sunset. The colours of the sky was just insane and the bridge was simply a great place to people watch. Locals will also most probably ask if they can take a picture with you and also you may end up talking to more pretty amazing monks. This is a must.
- Golden Palace Monastery
- Kuthodaw Pagoda
This was one of my favourite places as I could just sit and people watch for hours. Was a great place to ask people for pictures as these women were dressed to the nines. No lie they were absolutely stunning.
So these places are all within Mandalay city. If you have the time you must go outside Mandalay and visit:
This is where you go to Mahagandayon Monestary at 11:30am which is the time the monks have lunch. You watch thoughsands of monks line up while they get lunch. This was so interesting to see also as I got to speak to a few funny monks but I found it upsetting to see how some people were so aggressive with their cameras. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE. BE respectful and step back.
This place is great but I would recommend to go with a friend as you must take a boat over to this place and the only mode of transport is horse and cart. If you alone you will pay for a cart on your own. You can wait by the pier to see if there are any other solo travellers but that isnt guaranteed like in my case. FYI the ride can get pretty bumpy!! LOL.
Lastly if you want a personal driver and I would recommend a scooter. ALOT more fun and perfect for a solo traveller. I used this guy here:
You can find him on FACEBOOK as ZAW MG. He also has an interest in photography and with a bit of guidance with how to use my manual camera he managed to take some pictures for me. Another greeeeat point for a solo traveller. LOL
Finally here are some pictures for that travel inspiration and also before people start to ask YES as always with my portraits I always asked for permission.
Have you been to Myanmar? Did you enjoy it? What was your highlight?? So, this brings me to the end of my trip around Myanmar. So sad but I will go back for sure as I totally fell IN LOVE with this place. I simply did not have enough time. But for now…. wheres next?? Stay tuned for……..THAILAND.