15 days in Myanmar – Mandalay (Day 3-4)

Day 3: MANDALAY (Mahamuni Pagoda,  U being bridge)

LET’S GET CURIOUS!

After the 10 hours night bus from Yangon to Mandalay, I arrived around 6AM at the hotel and felt too tired to do the travel homework, so I booked a 2 days motorbike tour with the taxi driver.

After catching up some sleep, we left in the afternoon to Mahamuni pagoda. Another pagoda! I told my guide I was bored of pagoda but he assured me that this temple was worthy and he was right! The Mahamuni temple is one the sacred pilgrimage site.

The entrance hall was surprisingly calm when I got there, few craftmen were selling buddhist statues and figurines while working in their atelier.

Mahamuni temple sculptors
Mahamuni temple sculptors
Mahamuni temple bookworm
Mahamuni temple bookworm

I suggest to wake up early so you don’t miss the buddha face washing ritual. If you missed it, you could still watch one of the daily rituals which consists in applying gold leaves on the buddha image by male devotees only. Women are forbidden to stand too close to the representation….

Mahamuni devotees applying gold leaves on the buddha
Mahamuni devotees applying gold leaves on the buddha
Myanmar_Mandalay_Maha Myat Muni Paya golden rooftop
Stunning golden roof of Mahamuni temple
Sunday buddha... me like
Sunday buddha… me like
Myanmar_Mandalay_Maha Myat Muni Paya pink nuns
Spotted! the Burmese pink nuns
Myanmar_Mandalay_Maha Myat Muni Paya wandering old monk
New and old generation…
Myanmar_Mandalay_Maha Myat Muni Paya Praying monk
silence…praying time

I could post more pictures about this temple but I prefer to let you discover its beauty.

Next destination off to U Bein Bridge, the longest teakwood bridge in the world.

Walk slowly to the other end of the bridge, then head back facing the sun, it’s a fascinating 1.2km (x2) walk through local life.

Right before the sunset, you’ll notice some fishermen in the middle of the lake trying to get the last catch. The local fishing technique require them to spend hours in the water. Despite the hardwork, they will give you the most genuine smile while you cross their path on the bridge.

Myanmar_Mandalay_Amarapura shadows fishermen
the gondola cruise will ensure you frame the best sunset shot. You would also get the chance to observe fishermen during their hardwork.
Myanmar_Mandalay_Amarapura lake coffee
Every few hundred meters on the side of the bridge, there are local shops for a tea break.
Myanmar_Mandalay_Amarapura sunset monks
As monks cross your path respectfully keep your distance
Myanmar_Mandalay_Amarapura sunset bridge view
there is something about sunsets in South East Asia that opens your consciousness

COST

  • Camera fees Mahamuni pagoda: 1,000 kyats
  • Taxi from bus station to hotel: 8,000 kyats
  • Motorbike driver half day: 12,000 kyats

 

Day 4: MANDALAY (Mahagandayon monastery monk feeding ceremony, Inwa, Sagaing hill)

LET’S GET CURIOUS!

Around 9.30AM we arrive at the Mahagandayon monastery famous for serving lunch to around 2,000 monks. The area is expanding with new schools and dormitory. This place is quite popular and one of the highlight of many travelers, but I can’t help fighting mixed feelings when you see hordes of tourists in the middle of the streets trying to catch the best shot… To better manage the daily intrusion, one head monk will try to contain excited tourists and sometimes gently scold those who are still walking on the main procession street.

Myanmar_Mandalay_Mahagandhayan monastery young monk
A young monk holding the alm bowl
Myanmar_Mandalay_Mahagandhayan monastery monk feeding
The feeding process takes around an hour, volunteers help distributing the rice and vegetables
Myanmar_Mandalay_Mahagandhayan monastery monk school
Masters and students

Next stop Inwa, the ancient capital. There is a popular route access via boats, or you could ask your motorbike driver to take the road instead.

Myanmar_Mandalay_Inwa boat ride
The boat to Inwa
Myanmar_Mandalay_Inwa temples
Inwa, the ancient capital, is like big village.

On the way back we went to Sagaing hill for the full panorama view of Mandalay outskirt.

Myanmar_Mandalay_Sagaing hill panorama
view on the way to the top of Sagaing hill

COST

– Motorbike driver half day: 12,000 kyats

– Inwa entrance fees should cost 10,000 kyats (I didn’t pay because the motorbike driver took a different route)

 

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