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Published: June 22nd 2017
Vertigo and Moon Bar
The hotel is 17 years old and I'm guessing the rooftop is a converted service area. Very well done, to resemble the deck of an old wooden sailing ship. It was crowded without being packed - mostly tourists but many apparent locals too. Most of the area was a high class restaurant, the bar was up one end with great views.
Geo: 22.0078, 96.1018
The old Mandalay airport near the city is now only used for smaller aircraft. The new airport (procured via Myanmar's preferred 'Build Operate Transfer' method of infrastructure provision) is located 50 minutes to the south of the city, in the middle of nowhere. Curiously, the few aeroplanes park on the runway and shuttle buses are used for passengers and baggage, leaving their several regular air bridges unused. The airport is pretty spartan and the grounds are unkempt: not a great introduction to the country.
Our aircraft is an Airbus A320-200, with 165 seats 3x3. Although the plane is pretty full, we again have a spare seat in our row for the short flight. We are scheduled to arrive around 2pm Thai local time, which is 30 minutes ahead of Myanmar.
Our transfer from the Bangkok airport was delayed by a breakdown and a prolonged pause for a motorcade - the Princess returning from shopping, our driver advised. Our room is fine and we are meeting Tony and Helen (from the cruise, who are also staying at this hotel for a few days) for drinks and dinner.
We taxied to the Vertigo & Moon Bar: the premier rooftop bar in a city
Looked very special...
known for its rooftop bars. On the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel, it was pretty special and so were its prices - AUD103 for four glasses of good Chilean wine. (1AUD buys 25 baht).
Thailand (Siam until they changed their name in 1949) managed to avoid colonisation by any of the European powers. Good strategy by the King, our guide told us. Successive kings cleverly exploited European rivalries, and conceded some territories to France and Britain. The "King and I" tale is based on fact.
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