Blogs from Burma, Asia - page 4


Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Yangon January 9th 2014

Hotmail still isn't working for me . It keeps asking for my code (????).Dan if you can check that out for me I would appreciate it a great deal . I think you remeber my password. Let me know here as it is all I have right now. . At least I got through to Travelblog today . That feeling of isolation didn't help especially since I didn't know what was happening with Suzanne . YEAH !!! She will arrive on Sunday and maybe I can find out about transportation possibilities . I will book the hotel for one more night and be at the airport to greet her. Flying into Burma and Yangon was really interesting. Actually the whole flight was interesting . Southern Japan ,China ,Vietnam , Thailand , ocean ,mountains ,deltas, rice fields ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Irrawaddy River January 7th 2014

There are several choices of boats heading up the Irrawaddy River from Bagan to Mandalay but they are all the same price (US$35). Interestingly enough, the boat coming the other way, from Mandalay to Bagan, costs US$40 because more tourists do it in that direction so they can charge more for it! One of the boats is the “slow boat” which takes two days but only does the trip two days a week, and then there are three “fast boats” which take one day. Two of them include breakfast and leave Bagan at 6am, one includes breakfast and lunch and leaves at 5.30am. I took the last one. Breakfast turned out to be a croissant, an egg and a banana: what am I, a field-mouse?! I sort of expected more with the cost of the ticket. ... read more

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region January 4th 2014

To travel in Burma is to travel in both time and space. This is old Asia, how it must have looked and felt 60 years ago. Arriving in the capital, Yangon, better know as Rangoon, is to find almost every man and woman, of every class, wearing the longyi. On such a slim people, the longyi is an extremely elegant garment: narrow, dignified, worn like a sarong and tied at the waist. There are no skyscrapers in Rangoon. No mobile phones. No credit cards. No ATMs. No beggars. No heavy traffic. No jostling crowds. No mini-skirts. Few Westerners. Yellow is the predominant colour. It is the colour of the light, the haze, many walls and buildings, the spires of the Buddhist temples and, above all, the cheeks of the women who, with few exceptions, cover their ... read more
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon
Supreme Court Clocktower and Bronze Lion
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda over the Golden Rock

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 3rd 2014

Before coming into Burma I had discovered a place called the Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary which was home to a large wild population of Eld's deer as well as other ungulates. Eld's deer used to be widespread across most of the southeast Asian mainland, from India across Burma and Thailand to southern China,but now it is extinct almost everywhere. The Indian subspecies was reduced to 14 animals in 1975 and with protection has built up to almost 200 today. The natural Thailand, Chinese and Vietnamese deer are probably completely gone (there are some introduced populations) and in Laos there are only one or two surviving groups. Cambodia still has some good numbers and Burma is the last stronghold. The Burmese subspecies is called the thamin or “golden deer”. I couldn't find out much about Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 1st 2014

Bagan in central Burma is one of the world’s greatest archeological sites, a sight to rival Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat but without the visitors. The setting is sublime – a verdant 26 square-mile plain, part-covered in stands of palm and tamarind caught in a bend of the lazy-flowing Irrawaddy river and framed by the hazy silver-grey of distant mountains. Rising from the plain’s canopy of green are temples, dozens of them, hundreds of them, beautiful, other-worldly silhouettes that were built by the kings of Bagan between 1057 and 1287, when their kingdom was swept away by earthquakes and Kublai Khan and his invading Mongols. Some 2,230 of an original 4,450 temples survive, a legacy of the Buddhist belief that to build a temple was to earn merit. Most are superbly preserved or have been ... read more
Thatbyinnyu Temple
Temples of Bagan
Temples near Bulethi Pagoda


Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Mandalay December 29th 2013

Thanks partly to Rudyard Kipling's evocative poem Mandalay, the name of Myanmar’s second city suggests images of a bygone Asia. Mandalay is a surprisingly young city, founded in 1857 by King Mindon partly to show the British, who were ruling Lower Burma from Rangoon, that his kingdom was still mighty. After being taken by the British in 1885, the city prospered until the Japanese invasion of 1942, which saw many of the old buildings levelled by Allied bombing. Today Mandalay is considered to be Myanmar’s cultural capital. Rough Guide to Myanmar Built as the residence for King Mindon, Mandalay Palace is protected by walls and a wide moat more than 2km long on each side. The best way to get an overview of the palace is by climbing the 130 steps of the watchtower in the ... read more
Mingun Pahtodawgyi
Hsinbyume Pagoda
U Bein Bridge

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan December 29th 2013

My first port of call after Yangon was a place called Bagan in central Burma where I would be looking for dry-country birds. There are night buses and day buses from Yangon to Bagan. Night buses can be good because they are your accommodation and transport all rolled into one, but I had heard from a few people how terrible this particular night bus was – it wasn't a bus where you could actually get any sleep. I knew it couldn't be any worse than the 20-hour nightmare-bus I took in northern Sulawesi one time with blaring dance music, stops every twenty minutes to let passengers on and off, people and freight packed in like sardines, chicken-pox-infected children rubbing themselves against everything and everybody they could – but nevertheless I decided the day bus would ... read more

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region December 27th 2013

Outside Yangon is a place called Hlawga Park. You pronounce Hlawga (at least to my ears) as if the H is silent and the “law” to rhyme with “cow”: so “low-gah”. Park is pronounced “park”. This is a spot popular with visiting birders and what I understood was that it is a nature reserve surrounded by a fence but the operators have released animals in there to make it “better” (hog deer, sambar, muntjac, wild pigs and pelicans). It is actually a safari park – hence all the released animals – with a “mini zoo” attached. There aren't many exotic mammals in Burmese zoos which is why all the safari park animals are local species, apart for one hippo in a pen. You can get to Hlawga Park by taxi or by bus. In a birding ... read more

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Yangon December 26th 2013

The internet in Burma is not so good. It is widely available and almost all the places I stayed had free WIFI, it is just that it was basically useless most of the time. At the first place I stayed (Aung Si Guesthouse in Yangon) my laptop wouldn't even connect to the internet. At the second place (Winner Guesthouse in Bagan) the connection was so slow that it kept timing out: it literally took an hour for me just to open my email account on the first night and then I couldn't read more than a couple because they took so long to open that the “try again” message would come up. On the second night I gave up trying to access my emails after two hours. The third place, Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary, didn't have either ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region November 24th 2013

This is the first time we have had reliable internet which is probably a good thing! Our trip has been amazing. The country is so different with temples and pagoda every where. The people are beautiful and so friendly. Most of the men wear these long skirts called longyi. It makes them seem very elegant! Motor bikes and bikes are everywhere. But...also lots of horse drawn vehicles. We spent about an hour in one weaving through the temples and pagodas. Each city we have been in is different. Yangon was large and we saw the largest reclining Buddha I believe in the world. We went to a open market where you could probably by anything. The cubicles were crammed with good and lots of tourist items. In contrast to the very rustic market we visited in ... read more

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