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My Trip to Burma: The charming town of Pyin Oo Lwin, and the beautiful Kandawgyi Gardens.

Today we got an early start.  We were picked up at our hotel by Marn and our driver, and off we went.  Sixty-five kilometers east of Mandalay, on the western edge of the lush Shan Plateau 1070 meters above sea level, is the town of Pyin Oo Lwin, sitting far above the dust of Central Myanmar. It was established relatively…

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Moustache Brothers

My Trip to Burma: The famous Moustache Brothers. No trip to Mandalay is complete without a visit here.

After an amazing day, jam-packed day, we went back to the hotel, chilled out a bit, and then grabbed a cab to see the Moustache Brothers.  If you don’t know they’re story, you’re in for a treat.   This is the venue where they perform.  It’s their home, as well as their performance space.  It stays open, and people can wander…

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Happy Woman in Myanmar

My Trip to Burma: Lunch in Mandalay, then a boat ride to Mingun.

Our second day in Mandalay has been jam-packed.  This morning we saw all the different craftspeople in Mandalay – gold leaf makers, woodworkers, bronze workers and marble makers.  Then, a stroll down Mandalay Hill, a visit to the world’s biggest book, and a stop at an amazing monastery.  All that activity makes one pretty hungry.  Time to dine at Shan…

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Myanmar Hand Craftworker

My Trip to Burma: The talented Craftsmen of Mandalay; A visit to Mandalay Hill; Surveying the World’s Largest Book; and the moody Shwenandaw Kyaung monastery.

Our first day in Mandalay (yesterday) was spent in the ancient cities of Inwa, Sagaing, and Amarapura located not far from Mandalay.  Today, we’re spending time in Mandalay itself. Most people have at least heard of the city of Mandalay.  If they know anything at all about Mandalay, it is usually that it is Burma’s second largest city after Rangoon.…

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Myanmar Students in School

My Trip to Burma: Sagaing Hill, Nunlets and Monklets, and the 45 Buddhas of Umin Thounzeh

We crossed the Ayeyarwaddy and quickly arrived in Sagaing, a low-key city just 25 km south of Mandalay.  Sagaing is the capital of the Sagaing Region, which stretches all the way north almost to Tibet.   Sagaing has largely devoted itself to spiritual matters. Today, around 6000 monks live in the numerous monasteries dotted around the town.  The main reason to come…

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My Trip to Burma: The Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, another beautiful sunset, and goodbye to Inle Lake.

After lunch at the Inthar Heritage House (and a good hour spent playing with the cats at the sanctuary), we hit our last site, just a little south of Ywama. It’s the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, and it is the most important religious site in the area.  Inside are five small Buddha images at the central shrine.       …

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My Trip to Burma: A visit to the Inthar Heritage House and their Burmese Cat Sanctuary!

It’s not difficult to find Russian blues in Russia, Scottish folds in Scotland, or Turkish vans in Turkey.    But try finding a Burmese cat in Burma.  It’s not as easy as you think.      During the 19th and 20th century, increased development led to a large influx of people (and cats) into Burma, resulting in the rise of other…

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My Trip to Burma: Last day in Inle Lake: Long-necked ladies, skilled silversmiths, and ancient ruins at Indein.

We started our last day in Inle Lake with a nice breakfast at the hotel.  Love those long pastries. Nyein Nyein picked us up at the hotel and we walked to the jetty.  As usual, we passed multiple dogs along the way. I spotted this dog just walking amongst the folks on the street.  She had a little grocery bag…

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Arnold Plotnick and Stray Puppy in Myanmar

My Trip to Burma: Inle Lake Day 2 – Cooking Class, the Jumping Cat Monastery, assorted craftspeople, and the best street food.

Today we get a good taste – literally – of what Burma is all about, because we’re starting the day with a cooking lesson at the Bamboo Delight Cooking School.   I set this up weeks in advance as a surprise for Mark.  Cooking is his passion, especially Asian cuisine.  He wasn’t expecting this, so he was majorly psyched. First…

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My Trip to Burma: Arrival in Nyaungshwe, the incredible Pindaya Cave, a paper Factory, a cool monastery, and the raucous Fire Balloon Festival.

This morning we’re heading east, from Bagan to the Inle Lake area.  Such chaos at the airport.  There are three or four domestic airlines in the airport, each located next to each other, in booths smaller than a Paris hotel room.   I‘m crazy paranoid about our luggage, given what happened on day 1, but it all goes smoothly.  We land…

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My Trip to Burma: Bagan Part 3 – Palm Sugar, a Local Village, and the Nats of Mount Popa

The day started out great, with a lovely buffet breakfast at our hotel.  Nice selection of food, although as I’ve said before, I just can’t get into real Asian cuisine – noodles, fried rice, etc. – for breakfast.  I need my eggs, pancakes, and bacon.  Fortunately, they had all that.   And a nice view of the river. Our guide…

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