Myanmar: "I will see for myself"

January 5, 2005

Dear Family and Friends,

Every Lonely Planet guidebook has a tag line on the front cover:

The Thailand book has "What to Do in the Land of Wats."

The Austria book has "The Hills Are Alive."

The Southwest France book - "From Hot Springs to Holy Shrines."

The Los Angeles book - “From Collagen to Celluloid.”

The tag line for the Myanmar (Burma) book is “Should you go? See inside for details.”


Bagan: "Buddha Eternal"

Bagan, Myanmar
January 22,, 2005

Dear Family and Friends,

"Min gala ba" -- Hello.

Just over the wall is the main road. I can hear the occasional grind of a motor bike, a pleasant beep of a bus, the clippity-clop of a horse pulling a small, covered, upholstered cart -- my choice for getting around Bagan.

Just across the road is the long promenade to the Swezigon Paya (Pagoda or Temple).

Bagan: "Mt Popa, U Bo Ni"

January 28, 2005


The day-long boat ride down the Ayeyarwady River from Mandalay to Bagan...smooth, picturesque, uneventful.

Except for one stop along the way at Pakokku. Local women selling large, bright, hand woven cotton cloth. As the boat began to back away from the dock, the women became more agitated and started tossing their beautiful weavings to the passengers at the railing of the boat.

Inwa, Sagang, Amarpura, Mingun: "Ancient Cities"

January 22, 2005

Back to Mandalay for two day's visit to the Ancient Cities. Day one - Inwa, Sagang, Amarpura. Day Two - Mingun.

Inwa. Nanmyin - a 27m high masonry watchtower. This one I climbed. Bagaya Kyaung - the entire monastery is built of teak and supported by 267 teak posts, the largest measures 18m in height and 2.7m in circumference.

Sagang. Colorful temples. Colorful market.

Amarpura. U Bein's Bridge - 1.2km footbridge, for two centuries now, the longest teak span in the world.

Mingun. "If we had to choose just one of the four ancient cities around Mandalay to visit, it would be Mingun."

Pyin U Lwin: "Botanical Garden"

January 22, 2005

After two days in Mandalay, I headed for the hills and Pyin U Lwin, the stage coach ride (see "Transportation Edition") and the Botanical Garden.

"Colonel May used Turkish prisoners of war to develop this 96-hectare Botanical Garden during WW I. This garden features wide expanses of manicured grass, large flower beds 20 hectares of natural forest with walking trails, a rose garden, an orchid house, a small stupa on an islet in a pond and several other ponds."