Mandalay part 2

Day 7 Mandalay(continuation) 

After the lunch and hike we slowly made our way towards the U-Bein's bridge. Along the way we chatted a lot. I asked Lamyou many things, like female rights, do women work, drink alcohol, what about sex before marriage, gay people exception, and a lot about the government and the change Myanmar is going through. He seemed to enjoy all my questions and answered me in detail. I told him about my country and especially about equality between men and women. He laughed really hard when I told him that I am the boss in our household and that Klaas has nothing to say. Klaas on his turn, told him that I have a tendency to make stories up ;-) I had some pics on my phone from Amsterdam in wintertime (ice skating on the canals) which they liked a lot.

Around 4pm we arrived at the U-Bein's bridge where many vendors try to make a living by selling drinks, paintings and clothing. The bridge is 1.2 km long and entirely made of teak wood. We walked all he way to the other side (on the bridge we saw many Burmese youngsters (hipsters we probably would call them in Holland) flirting with each other and posing like models. So cute.

When we reached the other side we were so incredibly lucky to witness the inauguration of children soon to become monks. It was almost too much to take in and I feel sorry that we didn't have a guide with us to explain the whole process.
What we saw were countless horses with young boys all dressed up. The best looking horses in front and towards the end more and more poor looking horses (does this say anything about the status of the parents? Or are these children all orphans?). The whole ritual was accompanied by super loud music coming out of a fantastic car. The pics will show you how fantastic.

After the horses, the girls came along on colourful ox carts. They looked amazing. Almost liked photoshoped pictures. Faces powdered like marble, with eye shadow, lipstick and blush. All dressed in golden clothing with a lot of glamour and glitter. It was such an amazing happening.

Some video images:

We talked to a Burmese (in French) guide for a brief moment and he explained tous that the children will shave off their hair after the parade and put on their monk clothes. "That's why they look all so unhappy", I replied. The guide says that they are not unhappy, in contrary, they are extremely proud. Klaas and me didn't see it that way at all. We both had the idea that many of the children looked sad and scared. We discussed this over a beer near the lake. A cool place to hang around for a while.

We wanted to take the boat back to the other side a bit before sunset. Maybe we are very childish, but we want to avoid the whole sunset tourist panic attack around photo genetic places. Watching the sunset on a boat near the U-Beins's bridge is such a thing. Busloads of (elderly) tourists take over the lake and we don't want to be part of this. So we took a boat a bit earlier and were all alone on the lake. Truly magnificent.

Lamyou and his brother were waiting for us and we asked them to make a quick stop at the Diamond Center supermarket before bringing us back to our hotel. We bought all kinds of fresh dim sums, things on a stick and a bottle of Italian red wine. We were so tired and dirty that spending an evening in our hotel room seemed the best idea. After they dropped us off at our hotel it was time to say goodbye to to Lamyou and his brother. We had an unforgettable day and they said they liked our company and spirit too. I promised Lamyou to promote him on Tripadvisor because he deserves it so much.

That evening we washed our clothes, (pitch black water came off) and we had some throat issues. I guess that all the inhabitants of Mandalay must suffer from bronchial tube diseases as a result of the heavy pollution in town.
We had a great dinner in our hotel room. The wine tasted like Italian wine and the dim sum was fresh and tasteful.

After I got back home, I saw that Nicole, A German woman we met in Myanmar, took our advise and went also 'trekking' with Lamyou. Here is her Facebook comment:

Traveller facts: Lamyou as a guide on this motorbike was only 12.000K pp. for the whole day. I think that's very cheap. I would not be surprised if he raises his price a bit in the near future. We had a local lunch for four with beer cost us 10.000K. Boat @ U-Bein's for one way was 4.000K. The Dim Sum for 2 persons was about 1.200K. A bottle of Italian wine 4.500K (a bargain).

Day 7: Mandalay - markets, hills and bikes

The next morning we took it easy. Around 11am we went to the local market Zeigyo. I am an addict for local markets and according to Susies report on Tripdvisor it was one of the best markets she visited in Asia. I was so curious. The market was inside a huge concrete building with three or four floors all packed with vendors.

How many in total, maybe more then a thousand! We bought several gimmicks for the kids (hair clips and iron hangers for the guys). I also bought a cute Myanmar dress for my sister's daughter. I cannot wait to see her wear it. We spent quit some time at the market and we loved every second of it. Not many tourists come here so we were kind of an attraction. We had lots of fun and many chats.

For lunch we went to a Thai place called 'Rainforest' opposite of Marie Min. Before that we rented a bike. Dutch people are very used to riding bikes, so we drove away from the rental place as pro's. Lunch was okay, the Pad Thai was the worst I ever had, but the deep fried vegetable tempura was delicious. The place was serene, quiet, great to unwind and ...oooh yes, pretty fast internet access. We had a couple of beers while I worked on my blog.

I felt like taking a nap after the beers, but Klaas encouraged me to go with him to the Mandalay Hill. After some negotiating, I agreed to join him and we went our way to the 45 minutes bare foot stair climbing tour. During this exhausting climb, we met a few Dutch people who are travelling with a Dutch organisation called 'Shoestring'. They were impressed that we do the whole trip in Myanmar on our own. They seemed to think that such a thing is not possible in Myanmar. 

Sometimes I wonder how people prepare themselves for certain trips (or what travel organisations tell their clients..) Anyways, around the stairs much life was going on. Whole households built simple huts, bought a fridge and started a business selling drinks and awful(plastic)souvenirs. They were not pushy in any way to sell us their stuff. I hope it will stay like this when more and more tourist come to see Myanmar.

The view at the top was amazing but the air was not really clear because of the smog. It was kind of hazy so our pictures don't do justice to the true beauty of the views.

Back on solid ground, we took our bikes and drove back to the Diamond supermarket. We didn't feel like eating out, so we bought, like the day before, wine and same same but different dim sums. It was also time to pack our backpacks; a boat trip to Bagan will be our next move. Klaas his cricket alarm will wake us up tomorrow at 5am (no kidding!). We pre-booked a taxi who will bring us to the jetty at 6am. God I hate early mornings.


Zack Mocky said...

Great post. Love it.

Samantha Hussey said...

Your posts are making my research extremely easy and is putting me at great ease about travelling around Myanmar without a group tour! Is there anyway to contact the guide you had Lamyou? What you did sounds perfect for us as we want to try and see places that aren't so touristy! Thanks!

Elles Paijens said...

Thank you. I have no mail address of you....

hla myo
The businesscard pic you find on the Mandalay part 1 of my blog 😃. He is great great fun. Many people e-mail me back how nice they've had it with him, or his friends.

Elles Paijens said...


Ju Nge said...

Hi there... I was just doing a research on tourists in Myanmar and found you. Really like your blog about Myanmar. Your blog is so informative for readers and of course for those who want to visit Myanmar. Your affectionate writing skills keep my eyes on ur posts all morning and don't even realise how time passes me. Anyway , thank you so much for visiting Myanmar and I like to welcome you back again to Myanmar (hope next time won't disappoint you that much).
With love, Phyu :)

Elles Paijens said...

Thank you Phyu,

Great to read your positive comments!!!!