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Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Yangon January 3rd 2013

It was an early start to the day as we were dropped off at the Mawlamyine bus station for our trip back to Yangon. The bus station was very different this morning then when we had been dropped off in the very early hours a few days before. The bus station was bustling with travellers, motor bikes and vendors selling all types of products. Our taxi driver made sure we were at the right bus company before leaving us. Unlike in Yangon when our bus was called the local passengers were kind enough to make sure we got on our bus. The trip back to Yangon was very different also from the previous trip in the opposite direction. The previous one had been at night and the sights during the day were nothing like I had ... read more

Asia » Burma » Southern Burma » Mawlamyine January 2nd 2013

Our last full day in Mawlamyine. Today was market day. There are three large markets in Mawlamyine. One that is prmarily a wholesale market where anything and everything is sold in bulk. A second market supplies everything from buckets to hats and kids toys. The OH had lost all of his hats now including the favourite half a hat. With much optimism he set off to see if he could buy one at the markets in Mawlamyine. They may sell just about everything but there were no half hats. There were hats though that had a full flap hanging down the back. In fact they would even come in handy if on a motor bike as everything except your eyes can be covered. The last market is a fruit, vegie, flower, and jewellery market of all ... read more

Asia » Burma » Southern Burma » Mawlamyine January 1st 2013

We took a different approach to our discovery of Mawlamyine and went to have a look around the various pagodas. The majority of them are located on a ridge that overlooks the town. Although not as impressive as the pagodas we have seen elsewhere, these were none the less worthy of exploration. There is a large monastic population here in Mawlamyine and one of the suggested routes cut straight through the monastery region. The monks were out and about with their daily lives. It was easy to spend a couple of hours wandering around here and the pagodas. The main road we took was very narrow and I think only motor bikes or very small cars could fit down the quite steep hill. The road was largely made of fired bricks. Interesting paving. As we rounded ... read more

Asia » Burma » Southern Burma » Mawlamyine December 31st 2012

We were eager to explore the town and set off down the strand road which ran along the river. It was a beautiful walk and so much to see. There are a few local jetties along the way. People were busy unloading and loading boats, trucks and vehicles of all types, including hand carts and rickshaws. The local markets are close by and they were a bustle too. The riverside area past the jetties is much quieter and is a relatively peaceful place to sit and watch life on the river. The river is full of local fishing boats and a lot of traffic comes in and leaves for the neighbouring islands. After having lunch at a restaurant called something like Grandfather and Grandmother. Apparently the profits go towards supporting the local elderly population. It has ... read more

Asia » Burma » Southern Burma » Mawlamyine December 30th 2012

First priority was sleep. Second was something to eat. We wandered off to find something to eat and lucked across a local biriyani restaurant. It was spoken of in the lonely planet and lived up to its reputation. After a generous meal it was simply back to sleep. The hotel is very comfortable but over the space of the day the power probably went out at least half a dozen times. That of course meant no air-conditioning. Mawlymyine gets quite hot in the afternoon so it made sleeping uncomfortable. Because we were still feeling so stuffed we decided to eat at the hotel’s outdoor restaurant. The food was pretty ordinary and pretty expensive so we won’t be eating dinner here again.... read more

Asia » Burma » Southern Burma » Mawlamyine December 29th 2012

On this visit to Yangon we had only allowed a day before we headed off to Mawlymyine in the south east. We have more time in Yangon on our return before we fly back to Bangkok. After breakfast at the hotel we packed and got ready to check out. After catching up on emails, we checked out and headed off to further explore Yangon. We had borrowed a map from the now out of date lonely planet and used a suggested route to explore the centre of town. The first stop was the Sule Pagoda. We had already had a bit of a look but this time we had a wander around the entire building. It is certainly spectacular. We didn’t bother to pay the $2 entrance so didn’t look inside. Next we wandered off to ... read more

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Yangon December 28th 2012

We had arranged a car to take us to Heho Airport for our flight to Yangon 15,000 kyats but when it came to pick us up we found there was another passenger so we only had to pay for two thirds of it. The drive was very uneventful. When we turned off onto the airport road at Heho we saw the wreckage of the Air Bagan plane that had crashed at Heho three days earlier. From the ground there didn’t seem to be much left of the aircraft. It was amazing that only one passenger and one person on the ground had been killed. The aircraft looked like it had misjudged where the airport was and landed too early. From the sky the amount of wreckage was more obvious and pieces of it were strewn for ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Inle Lake December 27th 2012

Today was our last day in Nyaung Shwe and we spent the day re-visiting our favourite places. First stop was the markets where the OH purchased a longi for himself and a few bits and pieces he needed for a planned Burmese night when we got back home. We had a coffee at the local Indian Muslim teahouse with its array of samosas and pakoras and other delights. We stopped in at Smiling Moon to organise our morning taxi to Heyo Airport. Booking through them saved us 10,000 kyat. We had lunch at the first curry house we had visited on an arrival to Nyaung Shwe and dinner at the local restaurant where the ladies had been so kind on Christmas day. The owner has the cutest little boy who kept us entertained with his renditions ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Inle Lake December 26th 2012

Today was our day to trek in the surrounding villages of Nyaung Shwe. Our trek was only for 3 ½ hours so it wasn’t too strenuous. We took a horse and cart to the bottom of the hills just outside town. Our guide was a young Pa-O man who spoke reasonably good English. He turned out to be quite a character and we shared many a joke with him even with the language barrier. There weren’t really many big highlights of the trip. It was simply just great to be away from the hustle and bustle of the town. The guides seemed to have their own particular favourite track and even though we briefly came across other tourists undertaking a similar trek you only really crossed paths with them. It was very peaceful and a lot ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Inle Lake December 25th 2012

Inle Lake was our destination today. We had organised through the Smiling Moon Travel Agency to hire a boat and driver to take us around the lake. We had read of the peculiar rowing style of some of the lakes fisherman and anticipated seeing it. The boat was quite large and was a smaller version of the long tail wooden boats in Thailand. Something akin to an oversized wooden canoe. In the early morning the trip on the boat is quite cold and we were glad we had rugged up and even happier the boatman had given us a small blanket each. There was just the OH, the boatman and I until we collected one of the boatman’s young sons from his village on the main canal leading into the lake. We didn’t have to wait ... read more

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