Day 8: The Malhika boat experience

Maybe I was a bit grumpy (because of this 5am alarm) but when the guy of the reception asked met to pay 2$ because I accidentally broke a small water glass in our room, I was really angry. For starters I have to pay for it and secondly that they demand an astronomical amount of money (it was a ten dollar cent kind of glass). If this was a budget hotel, okay, but hey this hotel cost a fair amount of money. I tried to reason with him, but that didn't work at all. He kept repeating the glass cost 2$, the glass cost 2$. At that moment I realised that service and Myanmar still have a long way to go. Klaas joined me at the reception, asked what the problem was and gave the guy 2$. As a result of that I didn't speak with Klaas for the next couple of hours:-)

The taxi guy showed up in time, also very grumpy. Maybe he broke a glass too this morning and was yelled to by his wife? Who knows.. He didn't help us with our luggage and all the way to the jetty he listened to a Burmese stand up comedy version of Eddy Murphy, really really loud. The ride didn't take more then ten minutes and when we arrived at the jetty, he didn't do anything. I never want people to help me with my luggage, but this guy didn't even offer. We had to take out our luggage ourselves (we paid the guy plentiful for a ride of ten minutes: 4$). This was the first Burmese guy I really didn't like.

Want to join our drive too? See movie:

It was still dark when we entered the Malika 2. A small elegant boat with rotan chairs on deck and even a plant for decoration. It felt like being on a touristy German Moezel river cruise (80% of the passengers were wearing a silly hat over their grey hair. I am so surprised, where are all the 30/40 year olds? I remember from eight years ago that I hardly saw any grandpa's and mothers. Is Myanmar's government advertising heavily in French, Scandinavian and American senior magazines or so?

A few minutes before 7am we left. As soon as The Malikha reached full speed, free thee, coffee and toast was being served. It was still really cold on deck. We managed to get the best two seats outside, but the first few hours we were going to suffer. Fortunately I was wise enough to take two blankets out of my backpack for a bit of warmth. Ten hours on a boat is a pretty long time and the scenery is sadly enough not spectacular at all. I was pretty disappointed in this. So I read a great book (Glow-Sandor Marai) and worked on my blog. At noon the crew served noodles with vegetables and fried egg for 3.000K. which tasted great for a boat meal certainly with a Mandalay beer on the side.

The boat arrived at 4.30pm and we weren't prepared for the whole hassle when we off loaded ourselves and our luggage. I guess the pictures tell you enough. Everybody tried to sell us something and offered taxi rides into town. Our guesthouse promised us to pick us up.

Unfortunately they didn't show up and we had to pick somebody from the hysteric crowd of yelling men. All of a sudden an older man asked us if we were going to the Thante hotel in Nyaung U. 'YES!', we replied. So we shared a taxi with a lovely couple from the French speaking part of Canada. They were probably retired and travelling on their own; that's the way I like it! After stopping at 'customs' to pay the 10$ Bagan fee (which is really cheap for all these beautiful pagoda's) we arrived at the Thante hotel in a minute or five. We paid 2.000K each for the ride.

The Thante hotel is lovely. It has a swimming pool with a dozen of bungalows placed around it. They try to maintain a garden but in this climate with such a dusty (I think very poor) soil, it's practically impossible. Our bungalow turns out to be huge and comfortable with a wooden floor, a nice porch and a bath. We felt straight away very much at home.

After 6pm it's getting really chilly and you need to wear a fleece or some kind of warm jumper. We went into town and decided to rent bikes for the next two days. The bikes looked a lot better then seven years ago when I visited Bagan. We choose two bikes (actually they are really comfortable) and drove a few times back and forth in the street with all the restaurants. By the way, we didn't pay any deposit for the bikes; it works with trust! Tried to imagine how that could work in Amsterdam...NOT!

We choose to sit down at 'Aroma 2' an Indian place. We had some chappati's, rice, chicken curry and vegetable curry.

All served on a banana leaf (I like!). I wasn't impressed by the food at all. It was the worst meal since I was in Myanmar. Their pay off is 'no good-no pay, but I guess only ass holes will make use of this gesture.
We were cold and tired so we went to bed early. Not a punishment to sleep in these beds with thick duvets. We slept like babies.

Day 9: Temples, Pagoda's, Ruines

The next morning we were extremely surprised when we saw the breakfast buffet. What a feast! Three different kind of fresh melon juices, fresh pancakes, an egg station, all kind of fruits (even strawberry's!) and a lot of pastry (they have a bakery attached to the hotel). We had a blast and a good filled stomach for a day of heavy biking and templing.

We got a free very detailed map of the whole Bagan area from our hotel reception. We decided to go over the whole place just biking around and see the outside and go into the pagoda's the next day. So we did. It was just great. For Klaas it was spectacular because it was his first time. We had lunch in New Bagan at at 'the King Si Thu', next to the river. A fancy (expensive) place but great for a moment of peace, shadow and quietness. I ordered vegetable tempura and Klaas noodles, both were very tasteful.

After lunch we road on and actually stopped very soon again because we saw a lovely spot called 'The Black Rose' where we had another beer and a nice chat with two Swiss guys. It's so nice to exchange tips and tricks. The rest of the afternoon we explored more parts of this beautiful serene place. Klaas discovered our -soon to be- own temple. 

There was nobody there. We looked for a small entry and found one. We could climb up quit a bit through narrow corridors with torches in our hands. When we came out: WOW! We arrived at the top (don't ask us how..) and had a magnificent view over the whole area. Hundreds of temples. Not one picture can do justice to this amazing view. This was going to be our sunset place for tomorrow (to avoid the whole big panic attack tourist sunset Bagan exodus at the main temple). Klaas stayed a bit longer and I took my bike and headed back to the hotel for a afternoon swim (coldddd!!!!!).

Klaas came back (he didn't get lost or stayed the night over because he was in for a nightly adventure). He jumped in the pool too but in and out because it was soooo cold. We didn't realize this at all. After 6pm you defintitely have to wear a jumper. It seems very cold for this time of year.
The day before, I bought a bottle of South African wine at the local liquor store for 6.500K. I led some candles on the porch and we sat down for a romantic moment before going for dinner :-)

We had an okay dinner (very cheap) at 'Pyi Wa' at the main restaurant street. Finally I had a tomato-avocado salad...mjummy! Actually we wanted to eat at the 'Weather Spoon' (after a long search we found this place with such high Tripadvisor rates) but they played some kind of techno music which really didn't appeal to us, so we left, although the place looks really cool.

We went to bed with a glass of fine superior Myanmar whiskey (great stuff for only 1.400K a bottle) and read in our e-readers. I am so super glad I bought this device. In the beginning I had a lot of scepticism over it, but now I just love to read my books this way.

Traveller facts: Room at Thante hotel: 50$ a night. A taxi from the jetty to Nyaung U: 6.000K (fixed price). Diner at Aroma 2 with beer: 15.000K. Lunch at King Si Thu: 9.000K. Diner at Pyi Wa with beer: 7.000K. Two bikes for 2 1/3 day: 5.000K. Bottle of red South African wine (not that great) 6.500K.

1 comment:

Zack Mocky said...

Lol.... That thing you heard in Taxi was a sermon by a monk.