Three Ancient Cities and the MOST Beautiful Sunset EVER!

Amarapura Travel Blog

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Started the day with a visit to Amarapura City, located 11km South of Mandalay. I hired a mini Mazda taxi, which looks similar to the Santheaw of Thailand and Laos, but a 'mini' version.

Our first stop was the U-bein bridge, made out of teak and constructed almost 200 years ago. The bridge is the longest wooden bridge in the world, spanning 1.2km across the lake. The reason for the stop at this bridge was to past time, as the 1200 monks at the nearby temple were going to have their single meal of the day at 10:15am.

Maha Ganayon Kyaung, was jam packed with photo hungry tourists.
The actual preparation of the food was amazing in itself, as many local woman offered their time to assist the young monks.

At 10:15 on the dot, a bell was hit three times signalling the monks to head to the dining area. Of course it was all very well orchestrated, all the monks, yes all 1200+ lined up one after the other and began the procession to accept the alms offering from the local ladies.

After meal time was over, I headed to Inwa city, about 10km away. Inwa was a fairly unique city as its located on an island. Well the block of land is cut off by canals and rivers. So one has to cross the river by a makeshift ferry, made out of two boats.

A compulsary horse cart ride around the ancient city cost 3000Kyat, and was something to do to past the time.
The tour takes you to three ancient sites, skipping the many hundreds of other sites scattered around the island. The first stop was a wooden pagoda that wasn't really what I was after. So instead of staying at Bagaya Kyaung, I ventured off outside the compound to check out some brick ruins located 200 metres away from the pagoda.

The next stop at Inwa was the Nanmyin, the remnants of the palace built by Bagyidaw. Once again this wasn't really of any interest to me, so I quickly skipped it and headed to the next site.

Ban Zan Kyaung was a massive building, that was 3 stories high. It was painted all yellow and was only interesting from the outside.

Sagaing, the last city for the day was trully an eye opening. 500 stupas lay scattered across the many hills of Sagaing. The climb up Sagaing hill was a painful was as the day before I had just climbed up Mandalay hill for a not so special site.
At the very top I was greeted with beautiful panoramic views across the many hills and the river. And at every corner were stupa after stupa.

I have come to realise that the stupas of Myanmar are not so special on its own, but when seen from a distance it is trully amazing. As a single stupa is very as the asian's here say "same same". The beauty about Myanmar is that they love to build many many stupas in the same vicinity and of course on hilltops everywhere in the country!

After Sagaing hill, I returned to Amarapura for the sunset. At first I didn't think much of the sunset, I thought it'd just be same same as in any other country I had already been to. But I was talked into taking the boat ride on the lake after visiting Kyauktawgyi Paya across the 1.2km U-bein bridge. I ventured further afield to a village and was greeted by smiling kids and of course very friendly locals.
All of whom were very welcoming and very surprised to see me out this far. The kids smiled for the camera and was amazed to see their little faces inside my 3" screen. I witnessed basket making, banana rice cakes, and of course daily life in a secluded village.

Upon returning to the bridge, I met a few monks along the way and were very surprised that I had walked further afield away from the touristy places. They spoke excellent English and were all studying at the Maha Ganayon Kyaung across the the U-bein bridge.

As I jumped on the boat, I asked how often does the boat sink. And he replied 20%... I was like what the fuck LOL... (and shucks I keep on forgetting to write down peoples names... so I cannot remember his name :S:S:S:S)

The boat ride out into the lake was spectacular (yes I know I've used amazing, beautiful, spectacular sooo many times in these journal entries LOL)

The beauty about my boat ride was that I was able to go ahead of all the other tourists, and package tours.
So I had the whole lake to myself. I was also fortunate as the many package tours ventured far out from the bridge so their view wasn't as amazing as mine HEHEHE. My boat guide person drive thingie was a smart fella, taking me to different viewpoints on the lake to get unique views of both the sunset and the U-bein bridge. As I witnessed no other boats followed my path, so I can easily say I've got trully unique pictures compared to the other tourists.

Throughout the journey I took many pictures, not realising that my camera was almost running out of batteries. As the PERFECT BLOOD RED SUN began to set below the U-bein bridge NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO my battery died.... and I was unable to take pictures of the BEST sunset I have ever witnessed EVER. The backdrop of the bridge, dead trees, and small huts were so perfect.
Trully a million dollar sunset. ARGHHH I am so annoyed that my battery ran out before the BEST moment when the sun was at its sunset peak, when you can look at the sun head on and not have to worry about the bright glares the sun usually projects.... sigh.

I have promised that the next time I visit Cambodia, I will definately pop back to Myanmar JUST for the sunset at the U-bein bridge alone. Of course I will probably also visit the other sites I have missed on this trip such as Bago, Mrauk-U, Mingun, and do some hiking out to hilltribes. I hope that Myanmar remains the same (in the context of way people live) as I would love to witness the real Myanmar.
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Inwa
Inwa
Inwa
Inwa
Bagaya Kyaung
Bagaya Kyaung
Bagaya Kyaung
Bagaya Kyaung
Bagaya Kyaung
Bagaya Kyaung
Saigang
Saigang
Saigang
Saigang
Saigang
Saigang
Amarapura
photo by: droonsta