A Travellerspoint blog

September 2019

Ngapali Beach, Myanmar

White Sand Beach

sunny 33 °C
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Ngapali Beach is a popular tourist destination 7 kilometres from Thandwe, near LinThar Village. The beach stretches for 3 kilometres along the Indian Ocean.
Ngapali Beach has been promoted as a major tourist destination in Myanmar. Several resorts and hotels are located in Ngapali, usually high end - such as Bayview Ngapali, Amata Resort, Amazing Ngapali and the government-owned Anawa. Ngapali used to have private bungalows, but these were torn down in the late 1990s to make way for the development of hotels. The hotels and tourist industry provide income for the villages around Ngapali and Thandwe. There is also a golf course nearby.
The beach is served by Thandwe Airport. All of Myanmar's internal airlines fly to Thandwe.


Hahaha, Murphy`s Law. I thought I would treat myself to a nice shower and bed in some accommodation on the beach for a few days and the first day I arrive it`s raining. Lets hope comes right by tomorrow.


Woke this morning to an absolutely stunning day. After spending a few months in Hostels where things work sometimes, it is nice to have a bit of luxury for a few days. The beach is beautiful and there is hardly anyone here, I think I am one of about 15 people so it is very peaceful.


This is the room I am staying in at the Amazing Ngapali Resort and the view from my room towards the beach.


Here are some of the critters that just hang out around the rooms, haha (the snake was about 1 metre long and the lizard was about 25 cm).


Had an amazing sunset this evening around 6.15pm and as usual, I don`t think my camera captures how beautiful these places are but I think it shows enough to get the idea.


This was an amazing 3 days of luxury outside of the normal hostels that I have been staying. Everything here was amazing as the name says. Picked up at the airport when I arrived and transported to the resort (only about 5-10 minutes away). Presented with a beautiful drink on arrival at the resort. Breakfast is included and the menu is extensive, you can also just keep ordering so you would probably put on weight here if you were to have an extended stay. On the day I left they presented me with a shell necklace that had my name engraved in the main shell, so a nice reminder of having been to one of the most beautiful places on earth. I forgot to mention that the staff here are fantastic and they make you feel like you are the only one at the resort.
All in all I could happily spend the rest of my days at Ngapali and will definitely come back here.

Next stop Bangkok, Thailand.

Posted by Geete01 07:28 Archived in Myanmar Comments (0)

Mandalay, Myanmar

Second Biggest City

sunny 30 °C
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Mandalay was founded in 1857 by King Mindon, replacing Amarapura as the new royal capital of the Konbaung dynasty. It was Burma's final royal capital before the kingdom's annexation by the British Empire in 1885. Under British rule, Mandalay remained commercially and culturally important despite the rise of Yangon, the new capital of British Burma. The city suffered extensive destruction during the Japanese conquest of Burma in the Second World War. In 1948, Mandalay became part of the newly independent Union of Burma.
Today, Mandalay is the economic centre of Upper Myanmar and considered the centre of Burmese culture. A continuing influx of Chinese immigrants, mostly from Yunnan, in the past 20 years, has reshaped the city's ethnic makeup and increased commerce with China. Despite Naypyidaw's recent rise, Mandalay remains Upper Burma's main commercial, educational and health centre.

There was simply far to much to see in Mandalay and even though it is the countries second largest city, it does not have the large city feel that Yangon has. There is still a lot of the old world charm as in Bagan and city is filled with tree lined streets. I stayed on the third floor of Hotel A1, so this gave me a great view of most of the area I was staying.


I decided to hire a tuk tuk and driver for the day to make it easier to get around. The guy was fantastic and new a lot about Mandalay, however English is his second language so it was difficult at times to understand what he was saying. The price for the day was $25000 kyats or $25 nzd, which is great value as he picked me up at 9am and dropped me back at 6pm


Shweinbin Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar, built in the tradition of Burmese teak architecture. The monastery was built in 1895 by a Spanish-Burmese merchant married to a Burmese woman of royal extraction.



Mahagandhayon Monastery is the country's most prominent monastic college. The monaster is known for its strict adherence to the Vinaya, the Buddhist monastic code.
I am not sure what was happening here as when we arrived we got escorted to the entrance of a huge eating hall, there were literally hundreds of people trying to get a glimpse of the highest monk eating his lunch, which I found a little bizarre. The Chinese people in particular were pushing each other trying to get photos.



Sagaing is the capital of Sagaing Region and located by the Irrawaddy River, 20 km to the south-west of Mandalay on the opposite bank of the river, Sagaing, with numerous Buddhist monasteries is an important religious and monastic centre.
This place had the biggest statue I have seen so far, although it was lying down but measured around 58 metres long. There was also a huge Pagoda.



Took a look inside a silk factory that showed you from the silk worm stage through to harvesting the silk and then dying and using the cotton. The factory was fairly small but was very sparse. I can`t imagine sitting at one of these machines all day taking up to 20 days to finish one garment. They sit there from 9am - 5pm.





This hill has numerous pagodas, monasteries and meditation centers known as a peacefule place for Buddhist studies. It is a place one can enjoy the magnificent views over Sagaing Myanmar.
The Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda is located on the top of the Sagaing Hill. It is one of the oldest temples on Sagaing Hill and was built in 1312 by Minister Pon Nya.
Sagaing Hill is very well known and respected in Mandalay but getting to the top of this pagoda up the many steps in the 32 degree heat, lets just say I was drenched.

Here is a picture of the very first part of the climb to the top, the full climb is about 25 minutes or more and this shows it on the way down but gives you and idea.


This is the tuk tuk that I spent the day exploring Mandalay in, they don`t go fast but they can weave through most of the traffic when needed.


This was just before the top of the pagoda. I am not sure if it was used to wash or for something else.


And finally, here are some pictures showing the view from the top.



Inwa is an ancient city near Mandalay, in central Myanmar. It's known for religious structures left over from several reigns as the nation's capital, from the 14th to the 19th centuries. Dominating these is the Bagaya Kyaung, a 19th-century working monastery made of teak. The large, brick-and-stucco Maha Aungmye Bonzan monastery dates back to the 1800s.

To access Inwa, you have to travel from one side of the river to the other by long boat. It only takes about 3-4 minutes and costs $1500 kyats ($1.50 nzd) for a return trip and you buy youboat ticket from this ticket office.




Once you are there you will need to climb aboard a horse and cart. A guide will then expertly navigate the horse and cart around to all the historical places and it costs $15000 kyats or $15 nzd for about 3 hours.



The Bagaya Monastery (Bagaya Kyaung – Kyaung is Burmese for Monastery) is one of the most popular tourist stops in Inwa (Ava), Mandalay. Built around 1835 it is built on and around over 260 massive teak logs.
Set amidst rice paddies this picturesque five tired metal red roofed teak wooden monastery is still in daily use today.





The site of the deserted Palace of Ava is now marked by a solitary masonry 27 metre high watchtower, an example of early 19th century Burmese architecture. It is all that remains of the stately Palace reared by King Bagyidaw.






An finally after leaving Inwa, I went to the U Bein Bridge which is believed to be the worlds oldest and longest teak wood foot bridge. It spans the Taungthaman Lake and is 1.2 kms long. The best time is to get there for sunset but you will have to contend with bus loads of Chinese tourists.



After a very large day yesterday, I decided to have a slightly easier day today. I made one trip to the Dee Doke Waterfall that I had geard was pretty nice. It was a 1.5 hour trip to get there and once you are there the sign says it will take about 25 minutes through the bush and up a fairly easy climb that most people who can walk in a straight light will be able to handle. I followed the signs and eventually got to a small waterfall that was very unimpressive but did enable me to get some nice shots of the surrounding scenery.


I thought I had travelled for nearly 2 hours for this? (it does get better, I promise). Once I had taken sufficient photos I climbed back the way I came and got back to the sign at half way and noticed the track split off and went in another direciion up the hill. I wondered what was in this direction, so I wandered up the track for as far as I could go, about 20 minutes and I found this. Definitely worth the effort.



Posted by Geete01 07:15 Archived in Myanmar Comments (0)

Bagan, Myanmar

The Plains of Bagan

semi-overcast 32 °C
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Bagan is an ancient city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, the first kingdom that unified the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar.
No trip to Myanmar would be complete without spending a few days in Bagan, there is literally thousands of Temples, stupas, pagodas and monasteries on the plains of Bagan. Nobody seems to know how many of these still exist but the locals have given me estimates between 2200 and 3000.


Started the day just looking around Bagan. Parts are almost like a ghost town, however I was informed by the locals that it is the quiet season at the moment. Most of the tourists do not start arriving until December.
Strangely the ground is not like dirt it is almost like sand at the beach but you are nowhere near the coast. Most of the population that live here are in very modest housing that we would consider in NZ as very poor.


Holy shit I am in the middle of nowhere and there is a Samsung shop, lol.


Found a local market not far from where I am staying but wasn`t sure about these eggs, hahaha.


I spent a few hours today wandering through the plains in 32 degree heat (weather says feels like 38 degrees) and everywhere you looked there were more of these from the small and plain to the larger more elaborate structures. If it was not so bloody hot I would have spent more time looking at these amazing buildings. most of them are in very good condition given they are well over 1000 years old, pretty sure our modern buildings will not last 1000 years.
Also went to an area that is supposed t be one of the best places to be at sunset. The sunset unfortunately was not a great one but hopefully you can get an idea from the pictures how awesome this place is, like a lot of these areas the pictures just do not do it justice.



Went for a walk down to the Irrawaddy River and had a beer and prawns at the Sunset Garden Restaurant which overlooks the river. The river itself is not overly spectacular, however it is the largest river in Myanmar and is a lifeline to many of the people that live around the water. Bagan is probably one of the most interesting places I have been so far, the people are so friendly and helpful and the history here is amazing. Everywhere you look there is something different.
Here are some pictures looking out at the river from the place I had some food and drink.


As usual when you are travelling there are things lost in translation or just not correct, below are a couple that I had to laugh at.
I am not sure what a Curry Pounder Prawn is, hahaha or a Butter Fish and Red Cooked Yellow lol


While I was sitting there eating and drinking this lizard (approx 20cm) decided to come over and inspect me. He was not afraid at all.


Just relaxing by the river


I would highly recommend Bagan to all travellers. There is so much history here and the people are so friendly. This area of Myanmar is superior to Yangon in every way.

Posted by Geete01 00:14 Archived in Myanmar Comments (1)

Yangon, Myanmar

Capital of Myanmar

rain 29 °C
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Well I have arrived in Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) which is the biggest city in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). I believe there is about 6 million people in Yangon.
I am not sure how I feel about Myanmar yet but it is growing on me. The weather at this time of year is fantastic, it is their rainy season however it is not crazy hot or humid, currently today it is 29 degrees. The buildings around the city are a mix of religious sites (which there are many) British colonial buildings and high rises. The city also seems to have very inadequate infastructure compared to the rest of South East Asia and when the weather gets hot there is a strange stench, which I believe might be sewerage but I am not 100%.


Visited the Sule Pagoda today as it was only a 20 minute walk from where I am staying. The pagoda is in the central city of Yangon and is supposed to be 2600 years old.


across from the pagoda was a huge park that was surrounded by some amazing buildings, a clock and this massive memorial in the centre of the park.



Here is an idea of what a lot of the buildings in the city look like also.


and lastly, some city council maintenance officials


Finally decided that Yangon is no for me. It is one of the dirtiest places I have visited so far compounded by a huge percentage of the population chewing betel nut and constantly spitting the red liquid on the ground.....disgusting!!!

Posted by Geete01 02:36 Archived in Myanmar Comments (0)

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