Monday, January 20, 2014

Mandalay*

Lots of people skip Mandalay but I think it has a lot to offer, including some of the best food we had on our trip.  We had a fantastic guide who seemed to know exactly what we would find most interesting.  The sightseeing was more relaxed and I did not feel as overwhelmed.

Highlights -

  • A trip to a village with some amazing old pagodas
  • U Bein Bridge - the longest teak bridge in the world 
  • The teak Golden Palace Monastery. The carvings on the outside of the building are fantastic.  It was moved to its present location from the Golden Palace in 1878 and since the Golden Palace was destroyed during World War II, this is the only structure that remains.

Detail from the outside of the Golden Palace Monastery


  • Mahamuni Pagoda -- So much gold leaf has been applied to the statue**, the outline of the Buddha's body is hard to see.  We skipped the 4:30 am ceremonial face washing and teeth brushing. 
  • The world's biggest book (730 stone tablets)
  • Boat trip to Mingun to see the world's biggest bell and what would have been the world's biggest pagoda - it was never finished.  




Our guide, Aung, ringing the bell

Non-highlights -
  • The reconstructed Golden Palace, located in the middle of an army base.
  • The view from Mandalay hill
Shopping highlight - 
  • I found the demented baby puppet I had been searching for in Bagan.


*  Please be proud of me for resisting the temptation to call this post "The Road to Mandalay"
** Only men are allowed to apply gold leaf to the Buddha's image

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