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// APRIL 2016
Where the Past Meets the Present
Yangon
Bagan
Bagan
Mandalay
Inle Lake
Yangon
Bangkok
Thessaloniki
Istanbul
Bangkok
He Ho
Nyaungshwe
Nga Phe Chaung Monastery
He Ho

Yangon

 

30th of April
First necessary step: Beauty and protection treatment!!!

After having taken our breakfast at the top floor of the hotel, with views to the river and to the city’s neighbourhoods around it, time came for Burma’s traditional beauty treatment.  

Time for the famous Thanakha 

Sandalwood peel is powdered with lots of efforts on a stone slab and the powder along with the added water creates a yellowish pulp, which is applied on face and hands. The pulp is called thanakha and, beyond its sunscreen benefits, it is considered also as an element of beauty for men and women.
Moreover the people of Burma believe that its daily use on little children makes them beautiful as grown ups later on.
It is usually applied in circles on cheeks and nose, that was the way it was applied on me too, but nevertheless women can become very inventive when it comes to giving it various shapes, so as to underline and ornate the characteristics of their faces.

So then, after having taken our measures against the strong sun, we started our tour guidance in Yangon, where traces of the British Occupation can be found in the modern architecture constructions and also in the new colonial buildings, which add to its grace.
The city, literally sank into greenery, is justifiably considered one of the most beautiful in Southeastern Asia.

 

Walking around…famous buildings…pagodas…colorful markets 

We started our acquaintance with Yangon by visiting its Cathedral (Saint Mary's Cathedral Church), where we were lucky enough to watch a wedding ceremony.

We left our driver and the car and went for a walk, where we passed by the ministerial building at which Aung San and 6 members of the cabinet were murdered on July 19 in 1947.
Aung San was the father of the famous and very popular Aung San Suu Kyi, quite well known to us too from Luc Besson’s movie “The Lady”. 
 


This particular site, along with the related discussion we had, resulted to the admission by our tour guide that he had learnt his English, mainly, by watching American movies on TV.  He was a very kind and sympathetic young man, who had create all by himself his career and had a nice family with 2 children. He had absolutely earned our admiration for his efforts to make a decent and honest living.

Our next stop was at the post office in Sule Paya, down town Yangon.

We discovered Little India and the Morning Market in Chinatown (also known as Tayote Tan) a really colorful and noisy kaleidoscope of restaurants, temples and minor markets.

I was subjected to real admiration by the local women, older and younger, who  we were looking at me fascinated because of  my thanakha make up and kept saying to our tour guide how lovely I was with it on!

I think you should pay attention to that, Christos…

More over, they were asking to have some photos with me too. 



Meeting point of famous explorers…

We walked on foot to the hotel The Strand.

"The most beautiful inn, at the east of Suez” accordingly to the author John Murray, who, in 1911, mentioned in his published work «A handbook for travelers in India, Burma and Ceylon” 

Built in 1901, along with Raffles in Singapore (which we had the luck to visit too in April 2013) and E & O in Malaysia’s Penang (where we had drunk beers, while enjoying the sunset, just a few days before our trip to Singapore).

 


Strand Hotel is really awesome and also one of colonial Asia’s most significant landmarks.
When we were there, restoration works, done accordingly to its past glorious architecture, had just finished.
The wonderful chandeliers, the fascinating ceiling fans and the authentic furniture, all part of amazing scenery, during the great explorers’ era, remained the same.

We continued, always on foot, till we arrived at the jetty of the ferries in the River Yangon, where we saw the locals waiting to embark. 


 

Next, we met our driver and we moved in the city by car. 
We passed by the Mahabandoola Garden, with the Obelisk (Independence Monument) and the Supreme Court Building. 




 

Afterwars we visited the Bogyoke-Aung San Market, the covered sprawling market which goes back 70 years and is also known as Scott Market. We walked around its many market benches and shops



and then we visited  Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda, with its 14meters of height, five storey image of the “seated Buddha” .

 

The paradoxes born by the Colonialism 

During the courses that we had, we noticed that all the cars had the steering wheel on the right side, but at the same time they were driving on the right side of the road. That was a rather peculiar combination, which we could not really understand, till Mr. Soe Yi explained to us that after the independence of Burma, the Burmese people didn’t want to keep anything in their daily life that would remind them of the British Occupation.
But in order to keep loyal to their decision, all of them would have to change their cars…So they found the best solution possible: since they couldn’t afford to change all the cars…they simply changed the traffic flow.

Rather funny, but serious too in many ways at the same time.

In any case, they had made their revolution their own way!!!

In the afternoon, after the necessary siesta in our hotel, since the heat had climbed up to 40 degrees of Celsius Climax, we visited Kandawagyi Park, at the shores of the Royal Lake, in which predominant is the Karaweik Hall, built in the shape of the homonymous mythical bird. 

 


 

We stopped by a local tea shop, so as to live the experience of an important part of Burma’s life by enjoying a cup of tea. Our tour guide, Mr. Soe Yi, chose some snacks, which we shared along with him and our driver, while having our tea.. 

Afterwards, we visited  Chauk Htut Gyi Pagoda, famous Buddhist temple which hosts one of the most sacred images, the 70 lengths Reclining Buddha.
The magnificent statue has 108 sacred symbols on the soles of its feet, each one describing perods of his life, before reaching the Enlightenment.
Murals, also describing Buddha’s life were spread all over the place too. 

 

 

27 metric tones of golden leaves…7.000 diamonds, rubies, topaz and sapphires!!!  

Next, we went to the stunning and awesome Swedagon Pagoda, a 99 meters gold platted stupa, situated on the Singuttara Hill, at the west side of Kandawgyi Lake. 

It is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar, since it is believed that hidden in it are the relics of the four previous Buddhas of the present kalpa. According to the legend the Swedagon Pagoda was constructed more than 2.600 years ago, a fact that makes it the oldest stupa in the world.

The information given to us by our tour guide, as far as this dizzying mixture of adornment which consists of golden leaves (27 metric tones), diamonds ( more than 7.000), rubies, topaz and sapphires , had prepared us for we were going to see…

It was indeed extremely impressive the spectacle of dozens of minor temples in white and gold, around the central pagoda. After all, we are talking about the most sacred place of worshipping for Myanmar’s Buddhists. Within an absolutely mystic atmosphere, we enjoyed a unique sunset. 
 


 

We returned to our hotel, where a really nice surprise was waiting for me. Our tour guide, along with the hotel’s staff had organised a small party for my birthday: with a birthday cake, candles, singing and all… 

After having enjoyed the cake, we said good bye to our tour guide and went for a promenade on the roads of Yangon. We walked and explored the area around our hotel and also the Botataung Pagoda. Eventually we sat at the Cuba Bar Restaurant and had some beers, before returning to our hotel, so as to sleep.  

Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Date: 2016
Route: Myanmar (Burma)
Cities: Yangon, Bagan, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Yangon, Bangkok
Duration: 8
Difficulty:
Population: 54.704.285
Rating:
comments
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comments
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Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Date: 2016
Route: Myanmar (Burma)
Cities: Yangon, Bagan, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Yangon, Bangkok
Duration: 8
Difficulty:
Population: 54.704.285
Rating:
comments
VIEW
Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Date: 2016
Route: Myanmar (Burma)
Cities: Yangon, Bagan, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Yangon, Bangkok
Duration: 8 days
Difficulty:
Population: 54.704.285
Rating:
comments
VIEW