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Published: December 11th 2018
Stephen is unfortunately suffering from a tummy bug today. This is definitely a down side to travelling and I’m looking forward to both of us feeling well again at the same time.
Delaying leaving our room until he was sure he was up to it had the unfortunate consequence of leaving as the day reached its hottest. On the plus side today is a glorious sunny day, unlike the previous cloudy days we’ve had. Despite being their winter it’s still so hot for us - well over 30 degrees.
Leaving our guesthouse we got a taxi to Chaukhatgyi Paya, a large, golden reclining Buddha. I was rather surprised that 2 taxi drivers didn’t know where we were talking about but fortunately the 2nd had google maps and got us there without problem.
Typically for us the Buddha is currently being renovated so was under a lot of bamboo scaffolding but he was still very impressive and you could see most of the structure. I also found it interesting seeing how many workers are currently involved in his renovation.
We particularly enjoyed watching the devotees fill up a little boat covered in flashing LEDs with offerings and then sending it
up to the top of the Buddha using a pulley system.
Wandering through the site to walk to our next destination we got to see much of the monastery - the meditation centre and all the little wooden huts where the monks sleep.
Crossing the main road we walked up the stairs to Ngahtatgyi Paya, a huge white & gold sitting Buddha. Contrary to our out of date guide book entrance was free.
As we entered a service was ongoing so we sat and relaxed for a while before having a look around. The carved wooden backdrop was particularly impressive.
There were further shrines and large, ornate buildings as we walked out the back of the complex, heading towards nearby Kandawgyi lake.
The walk to Kandawgyi lake was easy but took a while due to the heat. The park around the lake is very pretty and the shade provided by the large trees welcome. It is free to enter. It is next to a busy main road but still feels a relaxing place to sit. Walking round to the far side of the lake we found the Garden Restaurant. Somewhat expensive by Myanmar standards we were relieved to find
The East entrance
somewhere in the shade with fans. It also had plain, boring western food done very well which worked for Stephen.
Stephen kindly refused to go back to the hotel when I hadn’t seen everything I wanted to in the area. Instead we parked him under the shade of a large tree by the lake (and close to the toilets) and I walked up the road to the impressive Shwedagon Paya.
It’s expensive to enter the Shwedagon Paya if you’re a foreigner - 10000 kwat (about £5). They helpfully have ATMs and money changers at each of the 4 entrances though...
I entered via the East entrance, passing between 2 huge lions to enter the covered walkway up to the Paya. You have to take off your shoes and socks and I found myself scuttling from one shady bit to the next as the marble burnt my feet!
Either side of the walkway are shops selling all sorts from traditional dress and handicrafts, offerings for Buddha and the usual tourist tat. It was actually pleasant walking up past the shops as the covered walkway is cool and the shop keepers aren’t at all pushy.
Once at the top I discovered
that this building is also being renovated and the gold plated stupa was covered in bamboo scaffolding and gold coloured mats. Despite this it was still stunning and being surrounded by a multitude of temples, shrines and statues make it all the more remarkable.
They helpfully provide you with an information leaflet with your ticket which tells you about various temples and images and their importance.
On my way round I was joined by a local girl who was visiting yangon for the week from her village.
Having seen the stupa I walked back to the lake, collected Stephen and we got a taxi back to the hotel so he could rest. I took the opportunity to read and relax whilst he snoozed.
This evening we went for a wander to find some plain food he might be tempted by. We failed on that front but found ourselves in the delicious Rangoon Teahouse where he managed a soup and I had a curry followed by a fantastic desert.
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