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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My Trip to Burma: Bagan Part 2 – Balloons over Bagan, Pagodas and Monasteries, and Sunset on the Ayeyarwaddy River.

No rest for the weary.  Woke up super early this morning and went to the hotel reception area to meet the bus that was taking us to the balloon ground for our hot air balloon ride over Bagan.  Every morning and evening, from October to March (the winter season), Balloons Over Bagan takes people on a magical flight over the…

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My Trip to Burma: Beautiful Breathtaking Bagan Part 1 – Fascinating Pagodas, Impressive Lacquerware, and an Amazing Sunset

Vacation is supposed to be a time to relax.   Well, not today.  We set our alarm for 4:00 a.m., quickly got dressed, and checked out of our hotel in order to meet our driver and zip to the Yangon airport for our flight to Bagan. The domestic terminal at Yangon International Airport is total chaos, but somehow, people seem…

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My Trip to Burma: Yangon Part 3 – The Holiest of All: The Shwedagon Pagoda.

We started with a bang.  Our first full day in Burma saw us spending the afternoon at the Shwedagon Pagoda. Nothing prepares you for the Shwedagon Pagoda.  This is the most sacred shrine in all of Burma.  At 325 feet, the stupa totally dominates Yangon’s skyline.  No site is more revered.  No site is visited in such numbers.  Legend has it that the shrine contains…

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MArk and Arnie in Myanmar

My Trip to Burma: Yangon Part 2 – Pagodas, and BIg Buddhas (Seated and Reclining)

After a morning of architectural sightseeing, it was time for lunch.  Although there is no shortage of authentic Burmese restaurants in Yangon, Feel Myanmar is probably the city’s best place to sample Burmese food. Food is laid out in a big buffet spread at the back of the restaurant.  I asked Myo if we could stop there and eat, and invited…

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