TRAVEL - The road To Mandalay.Summary: The rugged roads of Myanmar offer a rare glimpse into lost kingdoms
MyanMar May not conjure up conjure up
1. to create an image in the mind: the name Versailles conjures up a past of sumptuous grandeur
2. images of prosperity and flashy hotels, but for the intrepid traveller this asian state of golden pagodas and Buddhas offers troves of colonial history and rich natural surroundings.
From the bustling former capital yangon to the tranquility of the floating villages of Inle Lake Inle Lake (Burmese: ; IPA: [ínlé kàn]) is a freshwater lake located in the mountains of Shan State in Myanmar (Burma). , Myanmar mesmerises the traveller with its picture-perfect Golden rock, U Bein teak teak, tall deciduous tree (Tectona grandis) of the family Verbenaceae (verbena family), native to India and Malaysia but now widely cultivated in other tropical areas. footbridge and the towering temple of yangon's Shwedagon Pagoda The Shwedagon Pagoda (IPA: [ʃwèdəgòun]; Burmese: . For a country that has no international atM machines or international mobile telephone roaming network, Myanmar is literally an escape into the past.
While it may be short on luxury lodgings, Myanmar is rich in historic hotels. at yangon's Strand Hotel, the quirky British-era teak rooms and fanned restaurants charm both hotel guests and daytime visitors. In fact, it was under this roof that British novelist George orwell was inspired to write his first book Burmese Days.
originally built in 1901, the hotel overlooks the yangon river in the city's colonial heart and is a stone's throw from Bogyoke aung San Market - a shopper's paradise of gems, sarong-like longyis, Buddha statues, and embroidery.
once you're all shopped-out, hail a taxi to Feel Myanmar Food to savour an authentic Burmese curry, along with tasty soups, vegetable dips and desserts. a visit to yangon's teahouses is also recommended: this institution offers green tea - but if you're feeling brave and want to do as the Burmese do, select the pickled tea, accompanied with a platter of peanuts and sesame seeds.
Burning all that calorie-packed Burmese food is an easy task in Myanmar, whether exploring the vast complex of yangon's Shwedagon Pagoda or temple hopping in Bagan - once dubbed the city of four million pagodas.
But for those wary of temple fatigue, Myanmar offers more than just a bevy bevy
a flock of birds. of Buddhas. Head down to the Irrawaddy river to the shores of Myanmar's trading capital and second largest city, Mandalay, and you can't help but recite rudyard Kipling's famous poem on the road to Mandalay. as you cruise along the river, it is easy to wile away the hours peering at villages on the banks, passing bamboo rafts, ships carrying logs and birds sweeping down the river.
But once you're off the boat, don't let Mandalay's motorcycle-clogged streets deter you from exploring the city's moat-ringed Palace, teak monasteries, and the upright tablets that form the world's largest book in the grounds of Kuthodaw Pagoda.
the surrounding towns of Mandalay are close-by and will whisk the traveller to past kingdoms in no time at all. In Mingun, a short stairway will get you to the top of the world's biggest unfinished pagoda, while nearby you can tap the world's biggest uncracked bell.
a pre-sunrise visit to the nearby Mahamuni Paya to witness the daily ritual of washing the face of a golden Buddha is a must-do. the saintly Buddha's blessing can be followed by a visit to the hill temples of Saging, the crumbling city of Inwa and sunset at U Bein Bridge, the world's longest teak footbridge. as the sun sets, you're transported to a bygone era as villagers and monks crisscross the bridge on foot and bicycles and temples on
the banks melt gracefully into the surrounding water.
"As you cruise Along the river, it is eAsy to wile AwAy the hours peering At villAges on the bAnks, pAssing bAmboo rAfts, ships cArrying logs And birds sweeping down the river."
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon
A sunset visit to the diamond-studded and gold- plated complex of Buddhist shrines containing an array of Buddha relics is the highlight of any stay in Yangon. Walking up the steps will reveal more than 2,500 years of history.
Once the ancient capital of the first Myanmar Kingdom, Bagan is a UNESCO UNESCO: see United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
in full United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site housing over 2,500 Buddhist monuments built between 10th -14th centuries AD. The many temples can be seen from the comfort of a car, a scenic horse cart or by bicycle. For an awe-inspiring view of Bagan's pagoda skyline, hop on the sunrise balloon ride.
The waters of Inle Lake are alive with floating farms, villages, temples, factories and leg-rowing fishermen. Factories churn out silk and lotus thread weavings and cigars made from the locally grown cheroot cheroot (shərt`): see cigar and cigarette. leaves. If you are lucky, you may spy a longneck long·neck
A glass beer bottle with an elongated neck. Kayan elderly sporting rings around her neck and weaving traditional handicrafts.
Don't miss the ride up to Golden Rock or Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, golden-leafed boulder perched on a mountain. The sunset at the temple is a festival of colours: ruby sundown, maroon-clad chanting monks and bevy of worshippers.
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