Myanmar: Mandalay

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Almost there … to Mandalay that is! Mandalay was the last of the Royal Capitals of old Burma/Myanmar. Our boat slowly made it’s way there, but first we reached the confluence of the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers, where in the very early morning mist we had to stop and wait… The river was very shallow and wide and full of sand banks. The morning mist made it extremely difficult to see and hence navigate, so we moored next to a bank and listened to early morning singing and rituals of a nearby village; a village that we couldn’t see until the sun rose and burnt off the mist!  It was rather special… Continue reading “Myanmar: Mandalay”

Myanmar: On the Road to Mandalay – Bagan

dsc09906Our river journey continued into central Myanmar into the Bagan region. Bagan (known as Pagan during the British Burma period), was the Capital during the 11th to 13th C, and is sometimes referred to as “Myanmar’s Angkor Wat”. Bagan is extensive, thousands of temples are scattered throughout a vast plain of about 50-sq-kms. The temples remain, as they were constructed mainly in brick, while the palaces and other buildings were made from teak and have long since disappeared. Continue reading “Myanmar: On the Road to Mandalay – Bagan”

Myanmar: On the Road to Mandalay – Christmas

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Christmas Day started with presents …

During Breakfast, the Pandaw Team provided each of us with little presents – every one different.  Then the good mood continued when we arrived in the town of Min Hla. The fort there was built by the Italians in 1860 to keep the British at bay from Royal Burma. That day it was the scene for photos – Wedding Photos that is … a local one! We were roped in to be part of the official Wedding photos! Hot Fuchsia was the colour of the day!  Continue reading “Myanmar: On the Road to Mandalay – Christmas”

Myanmar: On the Road to Mandalay

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Mingalarbar! I’m now on a wonderful river cruise run by Pandaw. The boats are flat bottomed to allow for the shallow river during the dry winter months (Oct to Mar) and are made of teak in Myanmar. They are based on the original boats used by the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company (est 1865) and were the main transport vehicles used on the river in what was then British Burma – hence the Irrawaddy or more correctly Ayeyarwady, was called the “Road to Mandalay”. The river starts in Kachin State, with its longest inlet and source coming from the Himalayas in south-eastern Tibet. It is about 2170 kms long and bisects the country from north to south, eventually empting through nine deltas into the Andaman Sea and Indian Ocean. We travelled upstream; departing from Yangon and slowly made our way north to Mandalay.

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Myanmar: Yangon

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Hello from Myanmar/Burma!
I have arrived in Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, to acclimatise, before commencing a 2 week river cruise upstream to Mandalay. The city is much larger and more populated (5 – 7 million) than I expected. It has modern buildings and lots of industry going on, with obvious investment from the Japanese and Chinese. The one thing they do need help with is traffic management! Motorbikes are banned in Yangon, but there are so many cars with traffic lights seemingly not synchronised. Its quite typical to sit totally stationary for 15 – 30 mins at a time. Peak hour seems to go all day long……

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