Experience Myanmar Trip by Buay

Myanmar Tour detail for 2008 trip. Read my day by day journey, and comment. This is a wonderful trip and highly recommend for people who love nature and want to see the real Asian culture as your turn the clock back for 30 years.

Myanmar Trip at Glance

   I decided to go to Myanmar in just a week, even though I didn’t know much about this country. I got the tour program and price from a tour agency which my friend recommended but Pauline, who went to Myanmar with me, know sale person from five stars hotel and let her arrange this trip for us.
   Why did I choose to go to Myanmar ? I also don’t know why. Sometimes when I met people and customers who have been to Myanmar, they (foreigner) talked about this country in a good way. Not many people wish to visit Myanmar, so it still conserves its custom, tradition and way of life in the way it is and the nature. And so I wasn’t disappointed.
     This trip was different from all my previous trips. I was not bag packer anymore, because I stayed in five stars hotels with low price throughout this trip. Some hotels should be visited when you go to Myanmar, because of not only beautiful rooms but also memorable scenery. If this does not waste your time, I will tell you how attractive our neighbor country is.
Myanmar inlay lake fisherman

Myanmar Trip at Yaangoon and Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

 On the first day we flew with MAI 8M332 to Yangon Airport . It took us only one hour. Yangon Airport is surprisingly new as if it just open to the public. While we were queuing at the Immigration Checkpoint, something unbelievable happened. The light went out, which is normal. Yangon is not the capital city of Myanmar anymore. Two years ago Myanmar military government moved their capital city from Yangon to Naypyidaw. This new capital city requires electricity from Yangon, so sometimes the light in Yangon went out. Keaw was our guide; we met her in front of the gate. She is Shan but she can speak Thai fluently.
    Our destination is “Kyaiktiyo Pagoda” or The Golden Rock. It is located in Mon State, Burma . The rock itself is dangerously perched and seems to defy gravity as it perpetually appears to be on the verge of rolling down the hill. The rock and pagoda are at the top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo, It is the third most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma after the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mahamuni Pagoda. We stop for lunch at Bago, which is well known to Thai as Bayinnaung. We ate at a restaurant, where Thai tour eats. The first meal contains omelet and other dishes but the dish we like is similar to our fish chili powder. As I have read a book about Myanmar, they suggest us to order coca cola; Burmese call it Star coca cola. When we went out from the restaurant, there are many girls come to sell us things like in Cambodia . They can speak Thai very well and also other languages. Then we got on the car and started our trip again. On the way I saw another Buddhist pilgrimage site of Burma, Shwemawdaw. It holds the record for the tallest pagoda in the country, at 375 feet. This pagoda is smaller that Phra Pathom Chedi.
    An hour on the road then we arrived at a village where we had to change from sedan to a small lorry. The small lorry is the concession of military, so no matter how rich you are, you have to take this to the “Kyaiktiyo Pagoda”. We wait for the small lorry for an hour, because it was not the time for the car to leave. Keaw tried to negotiate with the soldier to depart the car immediately by paying 40 – 70 USD but they did not agree. We wait at cafe, where they play quite new music such as Hotel California (just kidding). When the small lorry departed, it was full. This trip is not suitable for elders. It was raining cats and dogs. There are only forest and mountain, so I thought about my childhood at Khorat. We are the only two foreigners in the small lorry. We arrived at the foothills in late evening. Although it was not so difficult to walk up to the pagoda, we took the litter as our guide suggested. We want to help and feel pity for the litter lifter, because there are no tourists after the cyclone. On the way we can see dimly light from the top of the mountain. It was the light from the pagoda. When we arrived at the hotel, it was foggy and raining heavily, so we decided to have dinner first. This meal is again, Thai dishes. It was raining heavily while we were eating but then stop when we finished our dinner. As soon as we came out from the hotel, many little boys surrounded us not because we were beautiful. They said that they are bodyguards but actually they are shoes holders. Today I couldn’t take a nice photo, because there was not enough light and foggy. Our guide told us to take some nice photos in the morning when the sun rise. Keaw started to tell us about the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda. At first when they found these two rocks, they were not attached, as a hen can walk through. Then the time pasted and the upper rock lowered itself that a hen cannot walk through but a bird can, because people committed sin. And then the time pasted again and the upper rock lowered itself again that a bird cannot walk through but only a rope. Burmese still believe that these two rocks are not attached. From the exploration they found that these two rocks are attached together but only a little that it is unbelievable they can defy gravity. When we came down our bodyguards were there and they seemed to know that we would go up there again in the morning, so they said “I wait you tomorrow”. I gave them 500 kyat. We get into our room and I took a bath. The weather was cold but it was not that bad.
    On the second day we woke up at 4 AM. We walked up to Kyaiktiyo Pagoda again this morning but I knew that there would not be light of dawn and it was like I thought. We saw people started their daily life again and also my small bodyguards. The construction around the pagoda did not allure me; however, the pagoda amazed me that I forgot everything. After breakfast we took the litter down the hill. We wait for Keaw at the café. I did not order coffee because I thought I have to pay for my tea but actually the tea was free. When Keaw arrived she told me to order something so I ordered a cup of coffee. We waited there for a long time then came a transport vehicle from the hotel but the soldier did not allow us to get in because it was not for passengers. We had to wait for another thirty minute for the small lorry we came with yesterday. The lorry was totally full but on the way the driver took more three passengers. When I get off, I could be lame.

Myanmar Trip day at Bago

    Then we went to Bago. This city has two geese as its symbol. Keaw told us that in Buddha era Bago was only a sand bar lower than the sea level. The male goose let the female ride on his back because there was no land to stand. The Buddha walk past these two geese and said this land will be great in the future. On the way we could see the top of Shwemawdaw Paya not far from where we were. It holds the record for the tallest pagoda in the country, at 375 feet. The original version of the pagoda was approximately 70 ft. tall, built by the Mon people to hold two hairs of the Buddha. Keaw told us about King Tabinshwehti. His Majesty wanted to make the ear pierce ceremony at Shwemawdaw Paya but in the past Bago was Mon’s land so it was very dangerous. Five hundred best soldiers were chosen by King Bayinnaung, who was only brother-in-law of King Tabinshwehti. The method to choose soldiers is nail the toe and if anyone can bear, he is chosen to the battle. With these five hundred best soldiers, King Tabinshwehti won the battle. After King Tabinshwehti period, King Bayinnaung ascended the throne and built the Bee Throne Hall as his resident. When H.M. wake up in the morning, H.M. can directly gain the might from the Shwemawdaw Paya. It was not so impressive for me because it was rebuilt instead of the original.
   After that we went to another palace, Kanbawzathadi palace, which is not far from there. Its appearance is as same as the studio of M.C. Mui at Kanchanaburi. This palace was built two years ago so I am not sure if we copied them or they copied us but M.C. Mui said that we copied them. Then we drove pass Sittoung River to Yangon . This river is amazingly wide and there are still lots of natural resource in Myanmar . When I saw this huge Sittoung River then I understood why King Naresuan had to use that huge rifle to fire across this river.
   When we arrived at Yangon, we went directly to Scott Market, the largest and most interesting market. It opens every day, and consists of a warren of alleys and shops. Pauline likes shopping a lot unlike me. I bought a purple jade for my older sister as a souvenir even I am not sure if it is the authentic one but my mom said it was real. I was glad that I was not deceived by the Burmese. After shopping Keaw brought us around the town but we did not stop for taking any photos, because we have to visit many hotels. Keaw showed us Yangon city hall and the monument where monks made a protest last year. There were many monks as the protest in Thailand .
    To visit hotels is our work. Traders Hotel Yangon is the first for today. It is located near Scott Market and only 30 minutes from Yangon International Airport . This hotel was invested by Singapore ; if you have been to Singapore, this hotel was designed the same. The Lobby is modern . It looks similar to Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok . None of the room has balcony but we are able to see nice scenery of Yangon from inside the room. If you walk in, the price starts at 110 USD-560 USD but the price is reasonable . It has 233 guestrooms: Deluxe room, Executive suite, Deluxe Suite, Traders club room, Traders club Deluxe Suite, Club Suite and Traders Suite .
   Park royal Hotel was our next destination. It is centrally located in the heart of the city, near the monument where they made the protest. This hotel is suitable for the one who like to stay in the heart of the city. The swimming pool is on the fifth floor. Personally, I like this hotel. The room is spacious but the bathroom is a bit too small. My favorite is the twin room with two 5 feet beds. We had a chance to stay in this room on the last night before we came back to Thailand .
   Then we went to Kandawgyi Palace Hotel. It is situated on the Royal Lake in the center of Yangon and only 2 minutes away from the Shwedagon Pagoda. This hotel was old palace and constructed from golden teak wood. The owner is Thai, who own the Baiyoke tower. I think if it rains, there might be smell from the wood. Behind the hotel located a pond, which is the only pond in the heart of Yangon . When we look a bit further we could see a large ship. Keaw told us that the ship is a restaurant name Karawek, where we would have our dinner.
    Tonight we stayed at Chatrium Hotel. Ms. Nan, who is the sale assistant in this hotel, is the one who arrange this trip for us. I like this hotel a lot. It looks new and modern; especially the bathroom is very beautiful and well designed. After we checked in, we wait for Keaw at the hotel lobby. We exchange our money with Keaw after she lent us some money for two days. Keaw gave us a very good rate 1300 kyat/1 USD. In contrast, if we exchange at the bank, we would get only 350 kyat/1 USD. So I suggest you to exchange your money with your guide. Keaw gave us 300,000 kyat. We went to Karawek restaurant, which we could see from Kandawgyi Palace Hotel. This restaurant is quite too expensive for bag packer. It serves us with Thai food buffet and Mon dancing. It is similar to Silom village in Thailand . We came back to our hotel after dinner and prepare for tomorrow.
Myanmar Tour day at Bagan.
   On the third day we woke up at 4 AM. Today we will go to Bagan, where many Thais take it for granted. I felt bad this morning, maybe because of a fever. Keaw brought us to Domestic Passenger Terminal, which is not far from the International. The building is so small and old. There are scales for luggage. We will fly with Air Bagan. After check in we joined other passenger in a small place. Now I was wondering how we could know our gate. For a moment came staff with plate like in the hotel and calledfor the passenger.
   Before I came to Bagan I have read about it but I did not expect for something really impressive like this. If you like history, I suggest you to visit Bagan. We decided to spend our time in Bagan for two days and we were not dissapointed. The Airport in Bagan is quite small as in Laung Prabang. Before we passed the gate we had to pay 10 USD and there is no exception. We started our Bagan trip with the Nyaung Oo market as Keaw recommended. Many market women sell Thanaka, because Bagan is its source. There are also many fruits which are similar to our fruit in Thailand . The appearance is a bit different but I can guarantee that our fruits are far better. Our guide is a man and he speaks English unlike Keaw, who speaks Thai fluently. He did not care what we have asked him and his accent is difficult to understand even my English is quite good, so we have problem to understand our guide. From this point, we suggest you to hire only one guide in your trip and let him accompany you, even the price will surly higher than normal. But if you are un lucky, you will get a bad guide all along your trip.
    Shwezigon Pagoda is our next destination; its name means the pagoda of victory. This pagoda is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma . It is a prototype of Burmese stupas, and consists of a circular gold leaf-gilded stupa surrounded by smallertemples and shrines. Construction of the Shwezigon Pagoda began during the reign of King Anawratha and was completed during the reign of King Kyanzittha, in 1102. The pagoda is believed to enshrine a bone and tooth of Gautama Buddha. The people here believe that if you touch the top of the pagoda and pray, your dream will come true. I have tried but my dream did not come yet. We took lots of nice photos there. And again many children come to sell souvenir to us. They asked us “Where you come from?” If we answer “Thailand” They will say “sawasdee ka twenty bath, do you want to buy?” or “come to see my shop”. There is Nat Museum behind the pagoda. Nat is like a kind of divinity in which Burmese believe.
    After that we went to historical park which cover about 20 square kilometer. Someone told me that there are about 4000 pagodas in this town. If we see them from above, we could see sea of pagodas. At first I could not imagine how would it look like but when I saw it, I have to say it is amazing. Some people like this Bagan, the city of history, but some do not.
    We visited Ananda Pagoda, which is one of the most the finest, largest pagodas in Bagan and considered to be one of the most surviving masterpieces of the Mon architecture. When you visit Myanmar, I recommend you to wear slippers, because they do not allow you to wear shoes inside the temple, this include socks also. Here are also many children, whose duty is to sell things to visitors. This time they asked “How many brother and sister do you have?” I said “no” and so he said “Oh you do not have brotheand sister? I have two brothers and one sister.” These little children annoy me a lot; they should be a bit more courteous. I entered the temple from the north gate and what I can say is “Is this really a temple gate? I’ve never seen any teak wood gate as huge as this.” It is tall 6 – 7 meters and about 2 – 3 meters wide. I walk around to admire the architecture. The King intended to build window all straight so the air could ventilate well. There are teak wood Buddha images at four sides of the gates. The Buddha image
Kassapa at the South provides two different feelings depend on where you stand. If you stand near him and look up, you will see him not smiling. In contrast, if you stand a bit farer, he will smile.
   Afterwards we went out from the north gate and on our right side came a man with a glass and gave it to us for free but we are too courteous so we bought it. So be careful with this trick when you meet one. Then we continued our trip. Our guide showed us a building constructed with brick. In former times Burmese used akind of resin instead of cement to join bricks. If some worker did not build it properly or a hair can pass through the brick, they would be killed. The result is all the constructions around here are surely firm and stable. We had a chance to take some photos here and it was really beautiful temple with all the stucco and engraved wood. We went inside but we were not allowed to take any photos inside the temple. The painting on the wall was amazing and it was painted about 700 years ago.
    Golden Myanmar was the restaurant we had our first meal for today. It is not far from Tharabar Gateway. Since I have been in Myanmar for three day, this is my first authentic Myanmar cuisine, which is vegetable but Fried chicken was delicious. We paid about 75 baht per person for this meal. Before we went to our hotel, we had visited few guest houses in suburb, for example, Central Hotel and Betel Nut Hotel. Both places are quite clean. The price is around 25 – 30 USD, which is suitable for low budget traveler. Then we stopped at lacquer ware shop, which is well-known in Bagan. Most tourist buy lacquer ware as souvenir from Bagan.
    We checked in at Myanmar Treasure Bagan, which is situated inside the Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone, within easy reach of all tourist sites in the locality. The owner of Myanmar Treasure Resort is the same person as the owner of Air Bagan. He does a lot of business and has good relationship with military government. This hotel is the best hotel in Bagan; the room is well decorated. If you book this hotel via tour agency, the price will not be so high. I like the big swimming pool here and the restaurant is good. We rested about three hours and this made me feel better from my fever. At three in the afternoon we continued our trip again.
    We started at Nan-paya Temple . This pagoda w

as built in the 12th Century. The architectural structure of Nan-Paya Pagoda is unique. The inner walls were built of baked bricks whereas the outer walls were built of sandstones. From outside I was not so interested in this place but when we got inside my word cannot describe its elegance. The engraved stone outside is quite different from other temple. The wall inside was also engraved in Mon style. If you visit Bagan, you must visit this temple.    Then we walked to Manuha Temple . Legend says that it was built by a Mon king named, Manuha, who had been defeated and brought to Bagan as a captive by Anawrahta. After he was released, he wanted to show how cramped it was when he was captive, so Manuha purposely put the images in such cramped positions to denote his feelings under detention in Bagan.     We drove around the town and sometimes stopped for photos. I have to say sorry that I could not remember the name of places, because we visited lots too many places. These are some places I can remember. We visited Thatbyinyu Temple which is among one of the four significant monuments in Bagan. It takes its name from the Omniscience of the Buddha. The last place for today was Shwesandaw Pagoda. King Anawrahta built Shwesandaw Pagoda after his conquest of Thaton in 1057. This gracefulcircular pagoda was constructed at the centre of his newly empowered kingdom. Every guide know tourist have to stop here for watching sun set. This place is a heaven for photo lovers. It barely rains in Bagan, so we can easily see sun rise and sun set. From the top you will experience the sea of pagodas or you can also experience this panorama with balloon. We spent time up here quite long, because I am so crazy in photographing. Look at all these nice photos, if you desire the light like this, you have to visit Shwesandaw Pagoda and you will not be disappointed. I saw two foreigners riding bicycles. If you are thinking of rent a bicycle and go by yourself, I do not suggest that. Bagan is quite broad, it will be better to hire horse carriage. When we got back to our car, it rains.     We visited Aureum Hotel, which is a branch of Myanmar Treasure Resort but it is more high class and more expensive. This hotel is elegantly beautiful. It has about 70 guestrooms and all of them were made of teak wood. I have seen lots of hotel and I have to say this hotel is really elegance. If you have a chance to stay here, you should, even the price is quite high but you will not be disappointed.    On the next day we checked out from Myanmar Treasure Bagan and drove to Mt. Popa for about two hours. On the way we visited a village which produces toddy, I do not like it. It is similar to how Thai produces coconut sugar. We arrived at Mt. Popa . Popa’s attraction today lies in its religious and mystical interests which are still prevalent. Popa is popularly recognized as an abode of many “Nats” (spirits of ancient ancestors) who dwell in various parts of the mountain. Some call Mt. Popa as Olympus of Myanmar. We had to take off ourshoes and went up the steep hill which was cover with monkeys shit. This trip is not suitable for elders and personally I do not concern it interesting . I think it will be better to spent time in the town. We got back in Bagan about half past one and checked in at the hotel and had a rest for two hours. We got back in the town again and hire horse carriage to look around the town . This horse carriage is another special activity, because it can drive in to small side-street, where car cannot. If you visited Bagan, you should not miss this activity. We watched sun set at Bu Pagoda . It is located on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River . This pagoda was built before Bagan was established. We took some photos before went back to our hotel. Myanmar Tour day at Mandalay    On the fifth morning we said goodbye to our guide at Bagan and traveled to Mandalay with Yangon Airline, which has flying elephant as its symbol. I took a photo of air hostage on the flight, because she was very beautiful. Our guide at Mandalay speaks English fluently but I could not remember his name. He brought us to Amarapura, lies on the left bank of the Ayarwaddy River . It was founded by King Bodawpaya in 1783 as his new capital. Amarapura means City of Immortality . It was the capital city of Myanmar, during the Konbaung Dynasty. We stopped at U Bein Bridge which is about three quarter of a mile, crossing the Taung-tha-man Inn (lake). It is the longest teak bridge in the world and is about two centuries old. This bridge became to be known as U Bein Bridge after the name of the donor, U Bein who was a clerk to the Mayor of Amarapura. I saw the large Ayeyarwaddy River . Our guide said that there is flood here every year and all the houses are under water, so people move up and live on the street.    We visited Maha Ganayon Temple . About 1,500 monks and Buddhist novices live together in this temple; they have breakfast together. The queue of food offering to a monk is really long. Today I have a chance to look around in the kitchen. Large amount of food must be cooked every day. Normally monks and Buddhist novices have to wear yellow clothes but Buddhist novices in this temple wear white clothes, which is strange. Our guide told us that the Buddhist novices with white clothes are not yet Buddhist novices; they are pre Buddhist novices like in kinder garden. On this day there were some rich people offered food for monks; they were the first family who gave food to monks.    We visited silk fabric, which is not different from Thailand . Then we drove across Ayeyarwaddy River to Sagaing, which lies 21km south-west of Mandalay on the west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River . Once you cross the Inwa Bridge, you see the hilltops, each crested with a pagoda, the banners proclaiming the Buddha’s teaching, the refuge from all ills and tribulations where over 600 monasteries for monks and nuns are located for Buddhist studies and meditation. After that we got back to Mandalay . We visited another one of the five most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Burma . The Maha Myat Muni Pagoda is located at the Southwest of Mandalay, where inside lies the Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image. It is the most ancient Buddha image in Myanmar . It was decorated with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Since Myanmar Buddhists are so devout countless thousands of devotees apply gold leaf to gain merit, the image has completely covered with 15 cm thick gold and original shape is distorted. Every morning at 4:30AM, a team of monks washes the face and brushes the teeth. When Thai visit Mandalay, we usually wake up at 3:30AM and wait for this ceremony. Some called this Buddha image as soft Buddha image, because it is covered with 24 karat gold. One hotel staff told me that he does not understand why Thai have to wake up so early and visit this temple. I answered him I might not be Thai, because I would not wake up early for the ceremony. In Myanmar they do not allow women to apply gold leaf on Buddha image. I wanted to take a photo near the Buddha image but I could not, so our guide did it for me. He told us that in 1879 this temple was on fire and gold from Buddha image was melted about 10500 grams. We walked behind the temple and saw a sculpture, which I thought came from Cambodia but actually it came from Thailand and we got it from Cambodia . They believe that who touch this sculpture will be healthy.    Mandalay Palace was the first palace to be built in Mandalay, by King Mindon when he shifted his capital from Amarapura in 1861, to fulfill an old prophecy. This palace is quite huge but it was rebuilt, because the old one was bombed by the triple alliance in the Second World War. Then we went to Shwenandaw Kyaung. The Shwenandaw monastery is the most significant of Mandalay ‘s historic buildings, since this “Golden Palace Monastery” remains the sole major survivor of the former wooden Royal Palace built by King Mindon in the mid-nineteenth century. King Mindon passed away at this palace. I like this place so much. I could see some gold leaf at the wall which made me wonder if in the past all over this palace was cover with gold. Also at every spot there are very nice engraved wood work pieces.I have never seen any teak wood palace as elegance as Shwenandaw Kyaung before. I took about 100 photos from here.

Our next destination was Kyauktawgyi Paya, which was built by King Mindon in 1853 on the model of the Ananda Temple at Pagan. In side settles the Buddha image which made of marble. It is tall 8 meters and weight about 900 ton. Our guide told us that this Buddha image was built by more than 10,000 workers and it took 25 years to complete. Around this temple are lots of stones caved with Burmese. We drove to Mandalay hill to watch the sun set. This is another tourist attraction for watching sun rise, sun set and the panorama of Mandalay . We saw many chairs prepared for VIP guest but I do not know who he is.   When we arrived at our hotel, I was surprised that I am VIP guest. Our guide recommended one restaurant ” Café City ” about 1 km. away from the hotel. Here I ate the best meal and less monosodium glutamate of this trip. This restaurant may seem to be for only foreigners but actually the local people also eat here. Myanmar Tour day at Inlay Lake, Heho    On the sixth morning we traveled to Heho with Air Bagan. The Heho Airport is not so different from others. I saw a house in a airport area without any fence, so I imagined if they have kids and they run into the runway, what will happen. I took a photo of that house. When we came out from the gate, there was a man sarong waiting for us. I thought he was our guide but when we walked out the airport, we met our real guide; his name is Myint Swe. For me he was the best English guide in our trip, because of his language, trivia knowledge and his rhythm when he telling us the story. We headed for Pitaya Cave about 2-2 hours away. Heho’s car does not turn on the air-conditioned and this made me carsick. On the way we saw a man sitting on the middle of the non-asphalt road and beside him laid a bicycle. He had some blood stain on his face, I thought he might crash with other cars. When we drove pass him our guide shout to another car to help him. Many people were working on agricultural product on both side of the road. The scenery was so impressive. We arrived at Pitaya cave. We had our lunch at Green Tea restaurant, which is located near the pond. Many foreigners eat here. The weather here is quite cool and windy. After lunch we walked in the cave; the path is quite steep. Inside the cave are thousand of Buddha images. I have seen something like this at Ting Cave in Luang Phrabang but was not big as Pitaya Cave . In Pitaya Cave there are also small caves, where about 10 people can practice meditation. This kind of cave will have a small plate with ” Maditation Cave ” in front of it.    After spending 30 minutes in the cave, we came down and did some shopping. I have a mine to buy some tea for my mom. I did not know what kind of tea I bought but my mom like it so much. Then we visited a village that makes mulberry paper and some handicrafts. I think it is similar to Chiang Mai.

We got back to the airport and drove another one hour to Inle Lake, which means small lake. We had to hurry get on the ship before it rains. Around us is waterside community; our guide lives here. I reckon that you can easily find some low price residents to stay. We saw people paddle with legs and some catch fish; it looks strange to me, because I do not understand why they paddle with legs. There are lots of Water hyacinth in this lake and underneath are lots of seaweed, so I understand why people here do not swim in the lake. I asked Myint Swe is there any crocodile in the lake and he just does not understand why I asked this question. I just wonder if it has crocodile like our Bueng Boraphet.    Then we reached our hotel, Myanmar Tresure Inle Lake . This place is very impressive for me. If you come to Myanmar, you could stay at any guest house or other low price hotels but I suggest you to pay more and stay at this hotel for a night. This hotel is really beautiful; it is surrounded by water, behind the hotel is a mountain and all decorated with teak wood. I have seen this hotel in TV and wished to visit and so I did it. It has 59 deluxe accommodations but when we were there, there were only other 5 guestrooms occupied. We are VIP guest again, as I could see from the welcome letter and I thought if we are really important. From our balcony we can watch the sun set, it was so impressive. The hotel also provides the mosquito net, because at Inle lake there are mosquitos moderately. Our bathroom has open air area and shower, thus we can take a shower and watch the star in the same time. We had a chance to talk with Mr. Tan who is the hotel manager. At first he sat behind us and talked loudly on the phone. He studied hotel management at Huahin for many years, so he can speak Thai. I just wondered if he heard what we talked about his loud conversation. He have a mind on developing the hotel management in Myanmar . After Nargis, the tourism in Myanmar is depressed. He told us that the owner of this hotel has this hotel business as his hobby; if there is guest, it is good, if not, it does not matter. And as we cannot go out anywhere, we had our dinner at the hotel with Mr. Tan and the dinner was on him.    The last morning in Myanmar we traveled around by boat on Inle Lake . This lake is about 20 km. long but it is not the biggest lake in Myanmar . The weather was nice and cool but scorching, so you should put on long sleeve shirt. We saw the waterside life style. Today many people gather the seaweed and put lots of them on his boat that it could have sink. We float pass many hotels and restaurants on the bank but I think Myanmar Treasure Inle Lake is the most beautiful hotel in this area. Then we reached a huge temple, we go ashore here. Not so far from where we were is a barge museum. We walked to a market, which does not open every day. We learnt many things from this market; the Burmese still use the old scales. And here I understand why I always cough after eating food at Myanmar . They really put a lot of monosodium glutamate in food. I saw they put nearly a glass of it. Another thing we cannot find it in Thai market is a torch. Many goods come from Thailand . Myint Swe said that most Burmese buy things from Thailand, because the quantity is better than those from China, although they are more expensive.    We visited Phaungdawoo Pagoda, the biggest temple in the town. It is one of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar ; this pagoda houses five small Buddha images. All of the Buddha images are over applied with gold that they look like a round stone more than Buddha images. Once a year, in end Sept-early Oct., there is a pagoda festival during which the five Buddha images are rowed around the Lake in a colorful barge. Then we visited the fabric where they weave by the fiber from lotus. They need a large amount of lotus fiber to made one cloth and it takes about a month to make a scarf.    On the way to our lunch we saw many primary school students washing dishes on the bank of the lake. We had lunch at Golden Island Cottages, which is the first hotel in this area. It looks a bit too old but The location of Golden Island Cottages is better than Myanmar Treasure Inle Lake . I talked with the owner. He said that the military government gave him a piece of land and an amount of money for building this hotel. He can speak Thai a little, because he was in Chiang Mai. After lunch we float around again and saw local people making vegetable bed, which stabbed down with a long piece of wood, so that they can move this vegetable bed anywhere.    Afterwards we went to Ngaphechaung Monastery or some foreigners call it as Jumping Cat Temple, because in the past there were jumping cat but now there are only cats that cannot jump. This is an attractive wooden monastery built on stilts over the lake at the end of the 1850s. Then we drovwe back to Heho Airportand said goodbye to Myint Swe. I just hope that I could come back and meet him again.    We flew back to Yangon with Yangon Airline. The plane stopped at Mandalay for half an hour. During this flight I felt so cramped as if I was airsick. Some people got off at Mandalay, so the seat in front of me was free. Air hostage told two Chinese to move their seats. I thought there it was a reservation for VIP guest. Unfortunately, it was not a VIP guest but a prisoner and he sat right in front of me. When everyone saw the handcuffs, we are all shocked.      When we got back to Yangon, we met Keaw again. She took us to is the most popular and well-known pagoda in Yangon . The pagoda is one of the main tourist destinations in Myanmar . I have to say it is really elegance and impressive but it would be better to visit here in the morning. We walked around the pagoda and saw how the Burmese faithful for Buddhist is. We had our last meal in Myanmar at Kitchen Bangkok Thai Restaurant. The last meal here was great, because they put less monosodium glutamate. If you visit Yangon, I recommend this restaurant. And so end my story in Myanmar .Myanmar Tour at Glance
I decided to go to Myanmar in just a week, even though I didn’t know much about this country. I got the tour program and price from a tour agency which my friend recommended but Pauline, who went to Myanmar with me, know sale person from five stars hotel and let her arrange this trip for us.    Why did I choose to go to Myanmar ? I also don’t know why. Sometimes when I met people and customers who have been to Myanmar, they (foreigner) talked about this country in a good way. Not many people wish to visit Myanmar, so it still conserves its custom, tradition and way of life in the way it is and the nature. And so I wasn’t disappointed.
This trip was different from all my previous trips. I was not bag packer anymore, because I stayed in five stars hotels with low price throughout this trip. Some hotels should be visited when you go to Myanmar, because of not only beautiful rooms but also memorable scenery. If this does not waste your time, I will tell you how attractive our neighbor country is.

Myanmar Tour day at Yaangoon and Kyaiktiyo Pagoda  On the first day we flew with MAI 8M332 to Yangon Airport . It took us only one hour. Yangon Airport is surprisingly new as if it just open to the public. While we were queuing at the Immigration Checkpoint, something unbelievable happened. The light went out, which is normal. Yangon is not the capital city of Myanmar anymore. Two years ago Myanmar military government moved their capital city from Yangon to Naypyidaw. This new capital city requires electricity from Yangon, so sometimes the light in Yangon went out. Keaw was our guide; we met her in front of the gate. She is Shan but she can speak Thai fluently.

Our destination is “Kyaiktiyo Pagoda” or The Golden Rock. It is located in Mon State, Burma . The rock itself is dangerously perched and seems to defy gravity as it perpetually appears to be on the verge of rolling down the hill. The rock and pagoda are at the top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo, It is the third most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma after the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mahamuni Pagoda. We stop for lunch at Bago, which is well known to Thai as Bayinnaung. We ate at a restaurant, where Thai tour eats. The first meal contains omelet and other dishes but the dish we like is similar to our fish chili powder. As I have read a book about Myanmar, they suggest us to order coca cola; Burmese call it Star coca cola. When we went out from the restaurant, there are many girls come to sell us things like in Cambodia . They can speak Thai very well and also other languages. Then we got on the car and started our trip again. On the way I saw another Buddhist pilgrimage site of Burma, Shwemawdaw. It holds the record for the tallest pagoda in the country, at 375 feet. This pagoda is smaller that Phra Pathom Chedi.     An hour on the road then we arrived at a village where we had tochange from sedan to a small lorry. The small lorry is the concession of military, so no matter how rich you are, you have to take this to the “Kyaiktiyo Pagoda”. We wait for the small lorry for an hour, because it was not the time for the car to leave. Keaw tried to negotiate with the soldier to depart the car immediately by paying 40 – 70 USD but they did not agree. We wait at cafe, where they play quite new music such as Hotel California (just kidding). When the small lorry departed, it was full. This trip is not suitable for elders. It was raining cats and dogs. There are only forest and mountain, so I thought about my childhood at Khorat. We are the only two foreigners in the small lorry. We arrived at the foothills in late evening. Although it was not so difficult to walk up to the pagoda, we took the litter as our guide suggested. We want to help and feel pity for the litter lifter, because there are no tourists after the cyclone. On the way we can see dimly light from the top of the mountain. It was the light from the pagoda. When we arrived at the hotel, it was foggy and raining heavily, so we decided to have dinner first. This meal is again, Thai dishes. It was raining heavily while we were eating but then stop when we finished our dinner. As soon as we came out from the hotel, many little boys surrounded us not because we were beautiful. They said that they are bodyguards but actually they are shoes holders. Today I couldn’t take a nice photo, because there was not enough light and foggy. Our guide told us to take some nice photos in the morning when the sun rise. Keaw started to tell us about the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda. At first when they found these two rocks, they were not attached, as a hen can walk through. Then the time pasted and the upper rock lowered itself that a hen cannot walk through but a bird can, because people committed sin. And then the time pasted again and the upper rock lowered itself again that a bird cannot walk through but only a rope. Burmese still believe that these two rocks are not attached. From the exploration they found that these two rocks are attached together but only a little that it is unbelievable they can defy gravity. When we came down our bodyguards were there and they seemed to know that we would go up there again in the morning, so they said “I wait you tomorrow”. I gave them 500 kyat. We get into our room and I took a bath. The weather was cold but it was not that bad.

On the second day we woke up at 4 AM. We walked up to Kyaiktiyo Pagoda again this morning but I knew that there would not be light of dawn and it was like I thought. We saw people started their daily life again and also my small bodyguards. The construction around the pagoda did not allure me; however, the pagoda amazed me that I forgot everything. After breakfast we took the litter down the hill. We wait for Keaw at the café. I did not order coffee because I thought I have to pay for my tea but actually the tea was free. When Keaw arrived she told me to order something so I ordered a cup of coffee. We waited there for a long time then came a transport vehicle from the hotel but the soldier did not allow us to get in because it was not for passengers. We had to wait for another thirty minute for the small lorry we came with yesterday. The lorry was totally full but on the way the driver took more three passengers. When I get off, I could be lame. Myanmar Tour day at Bago     Then we went to Bago. This city has two geese as its symbol. Keaw told us that in Buddha era Bago was only a sand bar lower than the sea level. The male goose let the female ride on his back because there was no land to stand. The Buddha walk past these two geese and said this land will be great in the future. On the way we could see the top of Shwemawdaw Paya not far from where we were. It holds the record for the tallest pagoda in the country, at 375 feet. The original version of the pagoda was approximately 70 ft. tall, built by the Mon people to hold two hairs of the Buddha. Keaw told us about King Tabinshwehti. His Majesty wanted to make the ear pierce ceremony at Shwemawdaw Paya but in the past Bago was Mon’s land so it was very dangerous. Five hundred best soldiers were chosen by King Bayinnaung, who was only brother-in-law of King Tabinshwehti. The method to choose soldiers is nail the toe and if anyone can bear, he is chosen to the battle. With these five hundred best soldiers, King Tabinshwehti won the battle. After King Tabinshwehti period, King Bayinnaung ascended the throne and built the Bee Throne Hall as his resident. When H.M. wake up in the morning, H.M. can directly gain the might from the Shwemawdaw Paya. It was not so impressive for me because it was rebuilt instead of the original.    After that we went to another palace, Kanbawzathadi palace, which is not far from there. Its appearance is as same as the studio of M.C. Mui at Kanchanaburi. This palace was built two years ago so I am not sure if we copied them or they copied us but M.C. Mui said that we copied them. Then we drove pass Sittoung River to Yangon . This river is amazingly wide and there are still lots of natural resource in Myanmar . When I saw this huge Sittoung River then I understood why King Naresuan had to use that huge rifle to fire across this river.    When we arrived at Yangon, we went directly to Scott Market, the largest and most interesting market. It opens every day, and consists of a warren of alleys and shops. Pauline likes shopping a lot unlike me. I bought a purple jade for my older sister as a souvenir even I am not sure if it is the authentic one but my mom said it was real. I was glad that I was not deceived by the Burmese. After shopping Keaw brought us around the town but we did not stop for taking any photos, because we have to visit many hotels. Keaw showed us Yangon city hall and the monument where monks made a protest last year. There were many monks as the protest in Thailand .    To visit hotels is our work. Traders Hotel Yangon is the first for today. It is located near Scott Market and only 30 minutes from Yangon International Airport . This hotel was invested by Singapore ; if you have been to Singapore, this hotel was designed the same. The Lobby is modern . It looks similar to Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok . None of the room has balcony but we are able to see nice scenery of Yangon from inside the room. If you walk in, the price starts at 110 USD-560 USD but the price is reasonable . It has 233 guestrooms: Deluxe room, Executive suite, Deluxe Suite, Traders club room, Traders club Deluxe Suite, Club Suite and Traders Suite .    Park royal Hotel was our next destination. It is centrallylocated in the heart of the city, near the monument where they made the protest. This hotel is suitable for the one who like to stay in the heart of the city. The swimming pool is on the fifth floor. Personally, I like this hotel. The room is spacious but the bathroom is a bit too small. My favorite is the twin room with two 5 feet beds. We had a chance to stay in this room on the last night before we came back to Thailand .    Then we went to Kandawgyi Palace Hotel. It is situated on the Royal Lake in the center of Yangon and only 2 minutes away from the Shwedagon Pagoda. This hotel was old palace and constructed from golden teak wood. The owner is Thai, who own the Baiyoke tower. I think if it rains, there might be smell from the wood. Behind the hotel located a pond, which is the only pond in the heart of Yangon . When we look a bit further we could see a large ship. Keaw told us that the ship is a restaurant name Karawek, where we would have our dinner.     Tonight we stayed at Chatrium Hotel. Ms. Nan, who is the sale assistant in this hotel, is the one who arrange this trip for us. I like this hotel a lot. It looks new and modern; especially the bathroom is very beautiful and well designed. After we checked in, we wait for Keaw at the hotel lobby. We exchange our money with Keaw after she lent us some money for two days. Keaw gave us a very good rate 1300 kyat/1 USD. In contrast, if we exchange at the bank, we would get only 350 kyat/1 USD. So I suggest you to exchange your money with your guide. Keaw gave us 300,000 kyat. We went to Karawek restaurant, which we could see from Kandawgyi Palace Hotel. This restaurant is quite too expensive for bag packer. It serves us with Thai food buffet and Mon dancing. It is similar to Silom village in Thailand . We came back to our hotel after dinner and prepare for tomorrow. Myanmar Tour day at Bagan    On the third day we woke up at 4 AM. Today we will go toBagan, where many Thais take it for granted. I felt bad this morning, maybe because of a fever. Keaw brought us to Domestic Passenger Terminal, which is not far from the International. The building is so small and old. There are scales for luggage. We will fly with Air Bagan. After check in we joined other passenger in a small place. Now I was wondering how we could know our gate. For a moment came staff with plate like in the hotel and calledfor the passenger.    Before I came to Bagan I have read about it but I did not expect for something really impressive like this. If you like history, I suggest you to visit Bagan. We decided to spend our time in Bagan for two days and we were not dissapointed. The Airport in Bagan is quite small as in Laung Prabang. Before we passed the gate we had to pay 10 USD and there is no exception. We started our Bagan trip with the Nyaung Oo market as Keaw recommended. Many market women sell Thanaka, because Bagan is its source. There are also many fruits which are similar to our fruit in Thailand . The appearance is a bit different but I can guarantee that our fruits are far better. Our guide is a man and he speaks English unlike Keaw, who speaks Thai fluently. He did not care what we have asked him and his accent is difficult to understand even my English is quite good, so we have problem to understand our guide. From this point, we suggest you to hire only one guide in your trip and let him accompany you, even the price will surly higher than normal. But if you are un lucky, you will get a bad guide all along your trip.

Shwezigon Pagoda is our next destination; its name means the pagoda of victory. This pagoda is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma . It is a prototype of Burmese stupas, and consists of a circular gold leaf-gilded stupa surrounded by smallertemples and shrines. Construction of the Shwezigon Pagoda began during the reign of King Anawratha and was completed during the reign of King Kyanzittha, in 1102. The pagoda is believed to enshrine a bone and tooth of Gautama Buddha. The people here believe that if you touch the top of the pagoda and pray, your dream will come true. I have tried but my dream did not come yet. We took lots of nice photos there. And again many children come to sell souvenir to us. They asked us “Where you come from?” If we answer “Thailand” They will say “sawasdee ka twenty bath, do you want to buy?” or “come to see my shop”. There is Nat Museum behind the pagoda. Nat is like a kind of divinity in which Burmese believe.     After that we went to historical park which cover about 20 square kilometer. Someone told me that there are about 4000 pagodas in this town. If we see them from above, we could see sea of pagodas. At first I could not imagine how would it look like but when I saw it, I have to say it is amazing. Some people like this Bagan, the city of history, but some do not.     We visited Ananda Pagoda, which is one of the most the finest, largest pagodas in Bagan and considered to be one of the most surviving masterpieces of the Mon architecture. When you visit Myanmar, I recommend you to wear slippers, because they do not allow you to wear shoes inside the temple, this include socks also. Here are also many children, whose duty is to sell things to visitors. This time they asked “How many brother and sister do you have?” I said “no” and so he said “Oh you do not have brotheand sister? I have two brothers and one sister.” These little children annoy me a lot; they should be a bit more courteous. I entered the temple from the north gate and what I can say is “Is this really a temple gate? I’ve never seen any teak wood gate as huge as this.” It is tall 6 – 7 meters and about 2 – 3 meters wide. I walk around to admire the architecture. The King intended to build window all straight so the air could ventilate well. There are teak wood Buddha images at four sides of the gates. The Buddha image

Kassapa at the South provides two different feelings depend on where you stand. If you stand near him and look up, you will see him not smiling. In contrast, if you stand a bit farer, he will smile.    Afterwards we went out from the north gate and on our right side came a man with a glass and gave it to us for free but we are too courteous so we bought it. So be careful with this trick when you meet one. Then we continued our trip. Our guide showed us abuilding constructed with brick. In former times Burmese used akind of resin instead of cement to join bricks. If some worker did not build it properly or a hair can pass through the brick, they would be killed. The result is all the constructions around here are surely firm and stable. We had a chance to take some photos here and it was really beautiful temple with all the stucco and engraved wood. We went inside but we were not allowed to take any photos inside the temple. The painting on the wall was amazing and it was painted about 700 years ago.     Golden Myanmar was the restaurant we had our first meal for today. It is not far from Tharabar Gateway. Since I have been in Myanmar for three day, this is my first authentic Myanmar cuisine, which is vegetable but Fried chicken was delicious. We paid about 75 baht per person for this meal. Before we went to our hotel, we had visited few guest houses in suburb, for example, Central Hotel and Betel Nut Hotel. Both places are quite clean. The price is around 25 – 30 USD, which is suitable for low budget traveler. Then we stopped at lacquer ware shop, which is well-known in Bagan. Most tourist buy lacquer ware as souvenir from Bagan.     We checked in at Myanmar Treasure Bagan, which is situated inside the Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone, within easy reach of all tourist sites in the locality. The owner of Myanmar Treasure Resort is the same person as the owner of Air Bagan. He does a lot of business and has good relationship with military government. This hotel is the best hotel in Bagan; the room is well decorated. If you book this hotel via tour agency, the price will not be so high. I like the big swimming pool here and the restaurant is good. We rested about three hours and this made me feel better from my fever. At three in the afternoon we continued our trip again.     We started at Nan-paya Temple . This pagoda was built in the 12th Century. The architectural structure of Nan-Paya Pagoda is unique. The inner walls were built of baked bricks whereas the outer walls were built of sandstones. From outside I was not so interested in this place but when we got inside my word cannot describe its elegance. The engraved stone outside is quite different from other temple. The wall inside was also engraved in Mon style. If you visit Bagan, you must visit this temple.     Then we walked to Manuha Temple . Legend says that it was built by a Mon king named, Manuha, who had been defeated and brought to Bagan as a captive by Anawrahta. After he was released, he wanted to show how cramped it was when he was captive, so Manuha purposely put the images in such cramped positions to denote his feelings under detention in Bagan.     We drove around the town and sometimes stopped for photos. I have to say sorry that I could not remember the name of places, because we visited lots too many places. These are some places I can remember. We visited Thatbyinyu Temple which is among one of the four significant monuments in Bagan. It takes its name from the Omniscience of the Buddha. The last place for today was Shwesandaw Pagoda. King Anawrahta built Shwesandaw Pagoda after his conquest of Thaton in 1057. This gracefulcircular pagoda was constructed at the centre of his newly empowered kingdom. Every guide know tourist have to stop here for watching sun set. This place is a heaven for photo lovers. It barely rains in Bagan, so we can easily see sun rise and sun set. From the top you will experience the sea of pagodas or you can also experience this panorama with balloon. We spent time up here quite long, because I am so crazy in photographing. Look at all these nice photos, if you desire the light like this, you have to visit Shwesandaw Pagoda and you will not be disappointed. I saw two foreigners riding bicycles. If you are thinking of rent a bicycle and go by yourself, I do not suggest that. Bagan is quite broad, it will be better to hire horse carriage. When we got back to our car, it rains.     We visited Aureum Hotel, which is a branch of Myanmar Treasure Resort but it is more high class and more expensive. This hotel is elegantly beautiful. It has about 70 guestrooms and all of them were made of teak wood. I have seen lots of hotel and I have to say this hotel is really elegance. If you have a chance to stay here, you should, even the price is quite high but you will not be disappointed.    On the next day we checked out from Myanmar Treasure Bagan and drove to Mt. Popa for about two hours. On the way we visited a village which produces toddy, I do not like it. It is similar to how Thai produces coconut sugar. We arrived at Mt. Popa . Popa’s attraction today lies in its religious and mystical interests which are still prevalent. Popa is popularly recognized as an abode of many “Nats” (spirits of ancient ancestors) who dwell in various parts of the mountain. Some call Mt. Popa as Olympus of Myanmar. We had to take off ourshoes and went up the steep hill which was cover with monkeys shit. This trip is not suitable for elders and personally I do not concern it interesting . I think it will be better to spent time in the town. We got back in Bagan about half past one and checked in at the hotel and had a rest for two hours. We got back in the town again and hire horse carriage to look around the town . This horse carriage is another special activity, because it can drive in to small side-street, where car cannot. If you visited Bagan, you should not miss this activity. We watched sun set at Bu Pagoda . It is located on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River . This pagoda was built before Bagan was established. We took some photos before went back to our hotel. Myanmar Tour day at Mandalay    On the fifth morning we said goodbye to our guide at Bagan and traveled to Mandalay with Yangon Airline, which has flying elephant as its symbol. I took a photo of air hostage on the flight, because she was very beautiful. Our guide at Mandalay speaks English fluently but I could not remember his name. He brought us to Amarapura, lies on the left bank of the Ayarwaddy River . It was founded by King Bodawpaya in 1783 as his new capital. Amarapura means City of Immortality . It was the capital city of Myanmar, during the Konbaung Dynasty. We stopped at U Bein Bridge which is about three quarter of a mile, crossing the Taung-tha-man Inn (lake). It is the longest teak bridge in the world and is about two centuries old. This bridge became to be known as U Bein Bridge after the name of the donor, U Bein who was a clerk to the Mayor of Amarapura. I saw the large Ayeyarwaddy River . Our guide said that there is flood here every year and all the houses are under water, so people move up and live on the street.    We visited Maha Ganayon Temple . About 1,500 monks and Buddhist novices live together in this temple; they have breakfast together. The queue of food offering to a monk is really long. Today I have a chance to look around in the kitchen. Large amount of food must be cooked every day. Normally monks and Buddhist novices have to wear yellow clothes but Buddhist novices in this temple wear white clothes, which is strange. Our guide told us that the Buddhist novices with white clothes are not yet Buddhist novices; they are pre Buddhist novices like in kinder garden. On this day there were some rich people offered food for monks; they were the first family who gave food to monks.    We visited silk fabric, which is not different from Thailand . Then we drove across Ayeyarwaddy River to Sagaing, which lies 21km south-west of Mandalay on the west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River . Once you cross the Inwa Bridge, you see the hilltops, each crested with a pagoda, the banners proclaiming the Buddha’s teaching, the refuge from all ills and tribulations where over 600 monasteries for monks and nuns are located for Buddhist studies and meditation. After that we got back to Mandalay . We visited another one of the five most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Burma . The Maha Myat Muni Pagoda is located at the Southwest of Mandalay, where inside lies the Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image. It is the most ancient Buddha image in Myanmar . It was decorated with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Since Myanmar Buddhists are so devout countless thousands of devotees apply gold leaf to gain merit, the image has completely covered with 15 cm thick gold and original shape is distorted. Every morning at 4:30AM, a team of monks washes the face and brushes the teeth. When Thai visit Mandalay, we usually wake up at 3:30AM and wait for this ceremony. Some called this Buddha image as soft Buddha image, because it is covered with 24 karat gold. One hotel staff told me that he does not understand why Thai have to wake up so early and visit this temple. I answered him I might not be Thai, because I would not wake up early for the ceremony. In Myanmar they do not allow women to apply gold leaf on Buddha image. I wanted to take a photo near the Buddha image but I could not, so our guide did it for me. He told us that in 1879 this temple was on fire and gold from Buddha image was melted about 10500 grams. We walked behind the temple and saw a sculpture, which I thought came from Cambodia but actually it came from Thailand and we got it from Cambodia . They believe that who touch this sculpture will be healthy.    Mandalay Palace was the first palace to be built in Mandalay, by King Mindon when he shifted his capital from Amarapura in 1861, to fulfill an old prophecy. This palace is quite huge but it was rebuilt, because the old one was bombed by the triple alliance in the Second World War. Then we went to Shwenandaw Kyaung. The Shwenandaw monastery is the most significant of Mandalay ‘s historic buildings, since this “Golden Palace Monastery” remains the sole major survivor of the former wooden Royal Palace built by King Mindon in the mid-nineteenth century. King Mindon passed away at this palace. I like this place so much. I could see some gold leaf at the wall which made me wonder if in the past all over this palace was cover with gold. Also at every spot there are very nice engraved wood work pieces.I have never seen any teak wood palace as elegance as Shwenandaw Kyaung before. I took about 100 photos from here.

Our next destination was Kyauktawgyi Paya, which was built by King Mindon in 1853 on the model of the Ananda Temple at Pagan. In side settles the Buddha image which made of marble. It is tall 8 meters and weight about 900 ton. Our guide told us that this Buddha image was built by more than 10,000 workers and it took 25 years to complete. Around this temple are lots of stones caved with Burmese. We drove to Mandalay hill to watch the sun set. This is another tourist attraction for watching sun rise, sun set and the panorama of Mandalay . We saw many chairs prepared for VIP guest but I do not know who he is.   When we arrived at our hotel, I was surprised that I am VIP guest. Our guide recommended one restaurant ” Café City ” about 1 km. away from the hotel. Here I ate the best meal and less monosodium glutamate of this trip. This restaurant may seem to be for only foreigners but actually the local people also eat here. Myanmar Tour day at Inlay Lake, Heho    On the sixth morning we traveled to Heho with Air Bagan. The Heho Airport is not so different from others. I saw a house in a airport area without any fence, so I imagined if they have kids and they run into the runway, what will happen. I took a photo of that house. When we came out from the gate, there was a man sarong waiting for us. I thought he was our guide but when we walked out the airport, we met our real guide; his name is Myint Swe. For me he was the best English guide in our trip, because of his language, trivia knowledge and his rhythm when he telling us the story. We headed for Pitaya Cave about 2-2 hours away. Heho’s car does not turn on the air-conditioned and this made me carsick. On the way we saw a man sitting on the middle of the non-asphalt road and beside him laid a bicycle. He had some blood stain on his face, I thought he might crash with other cars. When we drove pass him our guide shout to another car to help him. Many people were working on agricultural product on both side of the road. The scenery was so impressive. We arrived at Pitaya cave. We had our lunch at Green Tea restaurant, which is located near the pond. Many foreigners eat here. The weather here is quite cool and windy. After lunch we walked in the cave; the path is quite steep. Inside the cave are thousand of Buddha images. I have seen something like this at Ting Cave in Luang Phrabang but was not big as Pitaya Cave . In Pitaya Cave there are also small caves, where about 10 people can practice meditation. This kind of cave will have a small plate with ” Maditation Cave ” in front of it.    After spending 30 minutes in the cave, we came down and did some shopping. I have a mine to buy some tea for my mom. I did not know what kind of tea I bought but my mom like it so much. Then we visited a village that makes mulberry paper and some handicrafts. I think it is similar to Chiang Mai.

We got back to the airport and drove another one hour to Inle Lake, which means small lake. We had to hurry get on the ship before it rains. Around us is waterside community; our guide lives here. I reckon that you can easily find some low price residents to stay. We saw people paddle with legs and some catch fish; it looks strange to me, because I do not understand why they paddle with legs. There are lots of Water hyacinth in this lake and underneath are lots of seaweed, so I understand why people here do not swim in the lake. I asked Myint Swe is there any crocodile in the lake and he just does not understand why I asked this question. I just wonder if it has crocodile like our Bueng Boraphet.    Then we reached our hotel, Myanmar Tresure Inle Lake . This place is very impressive for me. If you come to Myanmar, you could stay at any guest house or other low price hotels but I suggest you to pay more and stay at this hotel for a night. This hotel is really beautiful; it is surrounded by water, behind the hotel is a mountain and all decorated with teak wood. I have seen this hotel in TV and wished to visit and so I did it. It has 59 deluxe accommodations but when we were there, there were only other 5 guestrooms occupied. We are VIP guest again, as I could see from the welcome letter and I thought if we are really important. From our balcony we can watch the sun set, it was so impressive. The hotel also provides the mosquito net, because at Inle lake there are mosquitos moderately. Our bathroom has open air area and shower, thus we can take a shower and watch the star in the same time. We had a chance to talk with Mr. Tan who is the hotel manager. At first he sat behind us and talked loudly on the phone. He studied hotel management at Huahin for many years, so he can speak Thai. I just wondered if he heard what we talked about his loud conversation. He have a mind on developing the hotel management in Myanmar . After Nargis, the tourism in Myanmar is depressed. He told us that the owner of this hotel has this hotel business as his hobby; if there is guest, it is good, if not, it does not matter. And as we cannot go out anywhere, we had our dinner at the hotel with Mr. Tan and the dinner was on him.    The last morning in Myanmar we traveled around by boat on Inle Lake . This lake is about 20 km. long but it is not the biggest lake in Myanmar . The weather was nice and cool but scorching, so you should put on long sleeve shirt. We saw the waterside life style. Today many people gather the seaweed and put lots of them on his boat that it could have sink. We float pass many hotels and restaurants on the bank but I think Myanmar Treasure Inle Lake is the most beautiful hotel in this area. Then we reached a huge temple, we go ashore here. Not so far from where we were is a barge museum. We walked to a market, which does not open every day. We learnt many things from this market; the Burmese still use the old scales. And here I understand why I always cough after eating food at Myanmar . They really put a lot of monosodium glutamate in food. I saw they put nearly a glass of it. Another thing we cannot find it in Thai market is a torch. Many goods come from Thailand . Myint Swe said that most Burmese buy things from Thailand, because the quantity is better than those from China, although they are more expensive.    We visited Phaungdawoo Pagoda, the biggest temple in the town. It is one of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar ; this pagoda houses five small Buddha images. All of the Buddha images are over applied with gold that they look like a round stone more than Buddha images. Once a year, in end Sept-early Oct., there is a pagoda festival during which the five Buddha images are rowed around the Lake in a colorful barge. Then we visited the fabric where they weave by the fiber from lotus. They need a large amount of lotus fiber to made one cloth and it takes about a month to make a scarf.    On the way to our lunch we saw many primary school students washing dishes on the bank of the lake. We had lunch at Golden Island Cottages, which is the first hotel in this area. It looks a bit too old but The location of Golden Island Cottages is better than Myanmar Treasure Inle Lake . I talked with the owner. He said that the military government gave him a piece of land and an amount of money for building this hotel. He can speak Thai a little, because he was in Chiang Mai. After lunch we float around again and saw local people making vegetable bed, which stabbed down with a long piece of wood, so that they can move this vegetable bed anywhere.    Afterwards we went to Ngaphechaung Monastery or some foreigners call it as Jumping Cat Temple, because in the past there were jumping cat but now there are only cats that cannot jump. This is an attractive wooden monastery built on stilts over the lake at the end of the 1850s. Then we drovwe back to Heho Airportand said goodbye to Myint Swe. I just hope that I could come back and meet him again.    We flew back to Yangon with Yangon Airline. The plane stopped at Mandalay for half an hour. During this flight I felt so cramped as if I was airsick. Some people got off at Mandalay, so the seat in front of me was free. Air hostage told two Chinese to move their seats. I thought there it was a reservation for VIP guest. Unfortunately, it was not a VIP guest but a prisoner and he sat right in front of me. When everyone saw the handcuffs, we are all shocked.      When we got back to Yangon, we met Keaw again. She took us to is the most popular and well-known pagoda in Yangon . The pagoda is one of the main tourist destinations in Myanmar . I have to say it is really elegance and impressive but it would be better to visit here in the morning. We walked around the pagoda and saw how the Burmese faithful for Buddhist is. We had our last meal in Myanmar at Kitchen Bangkok Thai Restaurant. The last meal here was great, because they put less monosodium glutamate. If you visit Yangon, I recommend this restaurant. And so end my story in Myanmar .