Mingalabar, Mandalay

Mandalay is a former capital located in northern Myanmar. I stopped here for one day because I liked the name: “Mandalay”. It turned out to be one of the most exciting experiences for me in Burma.

Mandalay is full of beautiful pagodas, warm people, and charming women. From my observations, the most beautiful Burmese women are in Mandalay!

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A stop on the way from Bagan to Mandalay: women using heads for selling. 

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Must be very tiring.

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Welcome to Mandalay. Motorbikes and scooters are popular in Myanmar.

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I arrived in Mandalay just after noon and figured Mandalay Hill would be a good place to escape from the heat. The hill is properly guarded by two giant chinthes. 

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Entrance from south. There are four staircases from each of the four directions. 

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Dogs are all over the hill.

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Stairway to heaven. The climb all the way to the summit takes about 45 minutes. There is also a motorway.

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Mandalay Hill is famous for its numerous pagodas.

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It is a pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists.

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You can peer into your future here too 🙂

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When tired from heat or climbing (or both), you can take a rest on a bench in in these wonderful square areas.

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One of the pagodas near the summit.

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Almost at the top: panorama of the Mandalay city. On the left: the Mandalay palace – the last royal palace of the last Burmese monarchy.

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People praying.Two things surprised me about people here.

Two things surprised me about people here. First, no souvenir seller ever asked me to buy anything. Second, many more people greeted me here. Is this because it’s a holy place? 

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Simply beautiful. Sadly enough, if you look below, you’ll find tons of garbage near the walls.

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At the summit: on the terrace of the Sutaungpyei (“wish-fulfilling”) Pagoda.

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The architecture and colors are stunning.

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Ceremonial bell.

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As I was enjoying the view, a local man approached me and said the white building ahead is the Mandalay University of Traditional Medicine. The man works as a professor (healer) there.

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Buddhist monks before the sunset.

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Amazing. There was an atmosphere of joy and happiness all around.

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Worshipping the sun.

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As I was chatting with a solo traveler Elisabeth from London, a group of kids approached us and asked to practice English with them :). It was fascinating to see how eager they were to learn. As they told us, they have language class several times per day, five days a week! A few monks also approached me afterward and practiced their English.

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After the sunset.

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The lights are up. I spent around 5 hours on the hill and absolutely loved it. After coming down I enjoyed a slow motor taxi ride given by a local old man, a dinner and a glass of local Myanmar beer, and a swift bike ride through the city to the bus terminal.

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At the “JJ Express” bus station. Christmas feeling is a sign of Buddhist Myanmar becoming more globalized. The local ladies at the bus counter looked very cute in these hats.

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I’ve never been on such a comfortable bus. The chairs extend almost completely into a bed.

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Entertainment and coffee with a snack were provided too. Most importantly, there was a warm blanket 🙂

Thank you, Mandalay, for your warmth and hospitality.

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