Mandalay Sightseeing Part II
The following morning, we got to see the other side of Mandalay. We were able to explore Amarapura and Sagaing to which in my opinion is much better than the city side.
I am going historical here guys and I do love knowing the history of every city that I go to.
Mandalay Day 2 Spots to Visit:
Shwe Kyat Kya Pagoda
A pagoda located at the side of the Ayeyarwaddy river bank with a great view of the Sagaing hills on the opposite side.
This bridge has so many aliases as Ayeyarwady Bridge, Yadanabon Bridge, Yadanar Pone Bridge or New Ava Bridge. Call it whatever you might wish it will still pertain to same bridge.
From its perspective, you can see the river, Shwe Kyat Kya Pagoda as well as the greeneries of Sagaing hills.
Sagaing Buddhist Monastery
A monastery where shaven-headed girls in pink robes studies Buddhist teachings. Yes, it is a nun monastery and my first time to set foot in one!
We arrived in the monastery while they were having lunch so we were quite discreet on taking pictures of them. I just observed that even though the girls had their head shaved, most of them still bears that natural beauty. Ang gaganda nila, swear!
Sitagu International Buddhist Academy
We were headed to U Min Thoze when our guide stopped by this school. He told us that we can check this one out as we might like the exteriors. Guess what, we loved it! This Buddhist Academy is awesome!
The center temple is a Sanchi style gold-plated stupa with intricate embossed dharma-wheel patterns. Every inch of it has elaborate design and we were really blown away by it.
U Min Thonze Caves
It literally mean ’30 caves’ though in reality it really has 30 walkways. But if you use your imagination, the windows look like a cave entrance.
This place is also known for the 45 large Buddha images located in the main hall.
Soon U Ponya Shin Paya
The temple can be found at the southern hilltop of Sagaing Hill and decorated with numerous glass tiles to produce a shimmering effect. Though such was not obvious at the time of our visit since the pagoda is being renovated.
The bamboos are not there for a decorative effect, they are used as scaffoldings.
A Sri Lankan style pagoda with a white dome shape. Said to be one of the largest stupas in Myanmar.
I am trying to remember what we did in this temple but what I am recalling is that I bought a longyi at a market stall outside the pagoda. And oh, the teenagers who were hanging out at the vicinity. That’s it.
Innwa was likewise known as Ava during the ancient times. Just situated south of Amarapura on the Ayeyarwady River. Also, previously called ‘Ratnapura’ meaning ‘City of Gems.’
Legendary stories indicate that it was first founded as a capital by King Thado but the king had a canal dug to join the Myint Nge and Myint Tha rivers to cut off the capital as an island. He did this to have Innwa safe from enemy attacks.
To get to the other side, a 10-minute boat ride is needed to cross the river. When you get there though, you will need to ride a horse cart to roam around the locale.
A horse cart ride inside the Innwa Capital.
Boat ride costs MMK 1,200 and the horse cart is MMK 5,000 per person. See below detailed description of the tourist places that can be seen in Innwa Capital.
Our first stop is the Bagaya Monastery, in which was also known as the ‘Star Flower Monastery.’ Such is built entirely with teak wood and decorated with spectacular Burmese architectural wood carvings.
Yadama Hsemee Pagodas
A group of small stupas ruined made by the 1838 earthquake in Myanmar.
Nan Myint Watch Tower
About 90 ft. high, we passed by this watch tower which was said to be the only masonry building left on the King Bagyidaw’s Palace after the 1838 earthquake.
Maha Aung Mye Bonzan Monastery
A well-preserved brick monastery and is a fine example of Burmese monastery architecture during the Konbaung dynasty.
The ochre colored lavish structure is finished with intricate stuccoes figures. We had an amazing time roaming its massive grounds because of the rustic feel of the monastery.
U Bein Bridge
The world’s longest wood footbridge gently crosses the shallow Taungthaman Lake, making one of Myanmar’s most photographed sceneries. It is also said that such was built using wood of teak planks.
We waited together with many spectators at the bridge as the sunset nears and I could say I was almost teary-eyed when I saw how stunning it was.
There was even a fisherman who walked across the waters while the sun is going down adding a dramatic touch to our photos.
U Bein Bridge’s famous golden sunset.
WHERE WE STAYED
We spent our first night in Hotel A1 which is located near the Mandalay city center.
And after our Amarapura and Sagaing tour the next day, we were dropped off by our tour guide to the JJ Express Bus Station as we were off to Inle Lake.
See contact details below for more information.
Chicken Fried Rice – Not that we were running out of money but at that point we already know that we should choose affordable meals.
And we know that their fried rice has lots of sahog that could make it a complete meal in one dish. Hence, we ordered more of it from that point forward.
Stir Fried Noodles – Became my instant fave when we were there. They make the most delicious fried noodles and I even had the chance to try all the flavors as beef, chicken and seafood. Ang sarap grabe! Mura na, nakakabusog pa!
• For Innwa, walking to roam around the vicinity to save money is not a good idea. Innwa is a huge capital and there are many rice fields that can make you lost on one wrong turn. Plus, it is muddy. Just ride that horse cart. It’s fun!
• Our JJ Night Bus ticket covers a free snack, blanket and wet wipes. Also, there is a small LCD monitor in front of you with free movies. All you need is to bring your own earphones.
• Be guided of the entrance fees so you can allocate your budget money accordingly.
• There is a dress code when entering pagodas. Shoulders and knees should always be covered. Footwear is also not allowed inside. You must roam around barefoot. Don’t worry, temple vicinities are usually clean.
• You must pay a zone fee amounting to MMK 10,000 on any major Mandalay pagoda so you can breezily enter the other temples.
We had a local Mandalay tour contact, Tony Hla Shwe. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As stated earlier, we stayed at Hotel A1. We booked them thru booking.com.
From Bagan to Mandalay, we were picked up by OK Express, you may reserve your seats online thru their Facebook page.
As earlier stated, we took the JJ Express Highway night bus from Mandalay to Inle Lake and reserved our seats online. You may contact them via their Facebook page.
TRAVEL EXPENSE SUMMARY
|Mandalay Expenses||Currency||Subtotal||in Php||÷ by 2|
|Mandalay Day 1 Tour||USD||50||2,415||1,207.5|
|Mandalay Zone Fee||MMK||20,000||600||300|
|TOTAL||P 4,552.5||P 2,276.3|
|Sagaing & Amarapura Expenses||Currency||Subtotal||in Php||÷ by 2|
|Mandalay Day 1 Tour||USD||50||2,415||1,207.5|
|Boat to Innwa||MMK||2,400||72||36|
|Innwa Horse Cart||MMK||10,000||300||150|
|JJ Night Bus to Inle Lake||USD||24||1,159.2||579.6|
|TOTAL||P 5,393.7||P 2,696.9|
Note: RT airfare tickets and pasalubong money not included.