(Continued from previous post)
26 Jun 17, Mon
After the train ride, we checked in to Hotel Yadanarbon, the Mandalay branch, which costs us only 34,500 kyat for a night.
Having spent the past 6 hours plus in the filthy train, we showered before having late lunch at Hana Yakiniku restaurant. Somehow, it was relatively harder to get a taxi in Mandalay. Taxis were more expensive here.
We spent 15,000 kyat on taxi to bring us to U Bein bridge and back to hotel. This is the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world, being built around 1850. The bridge is 1.2km long. The best time to see the bridge is at sunset.
Make sure you arrive there early enough, otherwise you will miss the sunset colour, like me. We met a Shanghai photographer who mentioned that only in winter will the sun be behind the bridge. This is the spot where good photos of the bridge can be taken. Today however, the sun set in the direction of the bridge.
27 Jun 17, Tue
A kind Burmese Chinese man (“the man”) offered to bring us around Mandalay. This trip really made me realise how nice Burmese people are. Is there any bad person here?! As much as I was skeptical (learnt to have professional skepticism from my job), those people whom I encountered during the journey turned out to have no evil intention behind their kind appearance. Their smiles and effort were genuine.
The 62 years old man drove us up to Mandalay hill, which is 240 metres high. At the top of the hill is the Sutaungpyei (literally wish-fulfilling) Pagoda. We had to remove our shoes starting at the carpark. Talk about experience in Myanmar. Being barefoot on all sorts of ground. The hill was a let down. A pagoda on the top, admission fee of 1,000 kyat. View from the peak was not fantastic. I like Mount Popa more. After minimal loitering, we walked down the stairs back to the carpark.
Even when the man advised to skip the royal palace, we insisted on going and then regretted not heeding the advice. Paid 10k kyat for a 5 days archaeological ticket in order to get into royal palace. This is the last royal palace of the last Burmese monarchy, more than hundred years since the last Burmese king lived here.
Left with nothing to do, we went for 2 hour KTV, lunch and mani pedi. I did my gel manicure with nail art at only 16,800 kyat at Skywalk shopping mall!
We paid 5,000 kyat for a taxi ride from the shopping mall to Hotel Yadanarbon then to the bus station. The JJ Express stewardess served coffee to the passengers awaiting the bus.
This time, we paid USD12 for VIP seat to travel from Mandalay to Nyaung Shwe (Inle lake). The ride was an enjoyable one with in-bus entertainment, drink and food. The type of food provided depends on the timing of the bus journey. We departed from Mandalay at 10pm and reached Nyaung Shwe at 5.30am. We were given a box with bread and cakes.
(Next: Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake))