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Published: January 24th 2018
The wandering road to Mandalay was certainly long and winding, from Newcastle via Heathrow & Singapore and we then followed the road into Mandalay 24 hrs later. Mandalay, in the central region of Myanmar, was a typical bustling Asian city. We were spending three nights in the city, prior to joining a small group tour entitled “Discover Burma” - a tour around the major tourist sights of Myanmar.
After an easy day recovering from the time difference and flight we booked a photographic tour around the non-tourist sights of the city. In the early morning we visited a local flower market, where great mounds of chrysanthemums, in a rainbow of colours, were stacked on stalls and motorcycles beneath large shady trees. The local sellers were welcoming and friendly and were happy for us to take photographs! We drove through rural countryside, rice paddies, woods & open pasture on the outskirts of the city to the “Railway Market”, where a cacophony of sights and sounds greeted us. Numerous multicoloured parasols shaded the traders & their low stalls with fruit, vegetables and meat laid out on the ground, until the ringing of a bell signalled a frenzy of activity as everything was
hastily moved to the side of the railway tracks, which had originally been lost amongst the market. A train then advanced slowly along the line, barely inches from the market-produce. Within seconds of the train passing the aptly-named “Railway Market” was back in its correct position!! Further stops during the day included an open-air laundry - everything washed by hand in a large stone tank, a Buddhist temple with newly painted yellow walls and a glistening gold stupa. The finale was an amazing sunset as the backdrop to the longest teak bridge in the world - U Bein Bridge - where locals walking across the bridge were silhouetted against a bright yellow and orange sky - a magical end to the day.
A hectic schedule awaited us during the first couple of days on our group tour - we really did see the highlights of Mandalay. Carved teak wood temples, lively street markets, monasteries and Buddhist Temples aplenty - we feel this will be a recurring theme throughout Myanmar which is a devoutly Buddhist country where there are half a million monks!
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