Friday, 22nd July 2016
Make the most of the road to Mandalay
The road to Mandalay was immortalised by Rudyard Kipling in his 1892 poem, highlighting the importance of enjoying the journey, not just the destination. Today, you can travel to Mandalay from Yangon and see a number of fantastic Burmese locations along the way. Here are some of the places you may wish to include in your itinerary:
Base yourself in Taungoo to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area, which includes the Pegu Mountains, verdant rice paddies and the Bago Yamo Forest. With a scattering of Buddhist temples, gardens, bridges and markets, you won’t be short of things to do in this rural town.
Photos of the majestic leg rowers of Inle Lake are among the many reasons that visitors decide to travel to Burma. Be sure to fit in a trip to this incredible body of water, complete with floating vegetable gardens and traditional houses built on stilts.
Take time out of your journey to Mandalay with a climb up the 777 steps to the top of Mount Popa. Here you will be greeted by stunning vistas and a glimmering monastery. While the covered walkways help to keep the hot Burmese sun off your back, the resident macaques can be a bit of an annoyance.
With in excess of 2,000 pagodas stretched out across the plain, Bagan is a magical place to visit. Over hundreds of years the devout have added constructions to all those that went before to show their respect for Buddhism. Arrive early or late in the day for the best light over the many stupas.
Despite being the capital of Burma, you won’t find the same hustle and bustle that you left behind in Yangon when you get to Naypyidaw. This purpose-built city is fascinating to experience, due to its feeling of being a ghost town. It was unveiled in 2005 and more than a decade later the expected masses have stayed away.
Golden Tooth Pagoda
Just off the highway atop Maha Dhamma Yan Thi Hill is the Golden Tooth Pagoda, which dates back to 1996. Nine gateways contain representations of the Buddha in various positions to show his attributes.
With its snake pagoda and a collection of some 300 stupas all packed closely together, Paleik should not be overlooked on the road to Mandalay. Attracting few tourists, it’s a gem worth discovering.
U Bein Bridge
A wonderful final stop before Mandalay is the U Bein Bridge, not far from Amarapura. As the longest teak bridge in the world it is quite a sight to behold and best appreciated at sunset, as the silhouette of the structure against the colourful sky is breathtaking.
Related news stories:
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10 reasons to make Laos your next destination (16th September 2015)
Eat your way through Luang Prabang?s night market (26th May 2016)