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Long but nice 🙂 We took a fancy overnight bus from Yangon to Mandalay and after a good morning nap in a clean room, we were off to discover the city. Of course, we wanted to walk. Sometimes we just don’t think straight and thankfully a small friendly local man convinced us to take the bicycles. And we were so happy he did. We did around 20 km, ate 3 times (mostly Shan noodles – a favorite), tried new words (a-loun beh-lauq ca-leh or how much is that all together) and saw the city palace, couple of temples, golden monastery and in the end hiked up the Mandalay hill. I told you it was a full day 🙂

Shwenandaw Kyaung.
We watched the sunset from the hill, where surprisingly a lot of tourists appeared. By the age of them it looks there are a lot of organized tours in Myanmar. On the way down we chatted with young monks who come to Mandalay hill every day to practice their English. So cute!

View from the hill and a special glittery lens :D

Mandalay is a really comfortable city. People speak good English, the roads are not so hectic and they have a whole lane just for bikes and bicycles.

When you come to a new country it’s easiest to notice which people’s habits are different from ours.
So here are a few things I’ve noticed so far:
– thanakha is yellow color from a special tree and people put it to their cheeks. It makes the skin cooler. Some are really creative and make different patterns like hearts.
– betel nut is popular again. Hence the ugly red stains on the streets. And people spitting red, eeew.
– most of the people wear a sarong loop.
– when they want someone’s attention they make a kissing sound (I tried it, it works and it’s kinda fun) 🙂
– traffis is not so bad but the cars won’t stop. So you better.
– no bargaining. And no hassling on the street! It feels almost relaxing 🙂
– tourist attractions are quite expensive in comparison to other Asian countries. So is accommodation.
– street food is delicious and cheap.
– people are gentle but in two days only two kids said hello on the street. Not like curious Indians 🙂
– little and big monks are a common sight. They wear dark red, nuns wear light pink. They walk around with their bowls so people make their offerings.
– there is no motorbikes on the road in Yangon as some years ago an official had a motorbike accident and prohibited their use. Fine by me!

That’s it for now 🙂

Here we are! We made it to Myanmar without any problems, our visa (we applied via myanmarvisa.org) was waiting for us at the airport, we managed to get enough new dollars and kyats. We even used the ATM which works for foreigners.

Thanakha stained cheeks everywhere.It's supposed to cool down the skin.
We managed to buy a nice camera lens in a very nice camera shop (there are plenty here, lenses have good prices, body is similar to the prices in Europe). Yangon is developing fast! But on the other hand, we’ve seen a lot of landline telephones on the streets (not a boot, just a telephone on the table and a lady charging fee) and typing on typewriters.

We were so surprised to see so much street food, it’s everywhere. So many fruit, vegetables, noodles, fish, seafood, slices of watermelon, fried cockroaches (eeeew), intestine fondue, samosa salads and so much more. We are in heaven (especially when people tell you the food is bad).

Delicious Shan noodles.

Yangon is the home of one of the biggest and blingiest pagodas on the world. Shwedagon pagoda is covered in gold and precious stones and jewelry that was donated by people. The sight is amazing, especially when the sun goes down and they turn on the lights, pagoda is shining in all its glory.

Shwedagon pagoda, all in gold.

People here are friendly and gentle. There’s no need for bargaining as you can see the locals are paying the same price as you. They don’t speak much English so we bought a small Burmese pocket book. The pronunciation is crazy 🙂 But a little effort goes a long way and they’re so happy to see you try. There is a person on every 10 people that speaks a little bit so they will call him/her for help.

We’re heading to Mandalay tomorrow with a luxury bus. Bam!

It will make your head spin,but take a look at our quick Indonesia recap (I still can’t believe how white is that beach on Kei islands – from where we have no pictures as our camera got stolen).

And here’s a little video we made during our time on Banda islands. It’s filmed on Pulau Ai but neighboring island Hatta is even more beautiful. Well, I’m comparing the best to the best 🙂

You can see the pictures in this post.