Irrawady River Cruise

We got on our boat
before the break of dawn
as the orange sunrise welcomed us

across -the sun kissed pagodas
shone in its glory and glistened

we soon crossed the irrawaddy bridge
irra11
our next stop was at the pottery village of yandabo
the place where the first Anglo-Burmese treaty was signed

the village had some cool children
who lived life in their own terms felt like

we went back on our boat
supported by this thin plank…

the better part of the afternoon
went on watching the other boats
and the coals they were transporting

the final hour on the cruise was breathtaking
as little white clouds exploded in the crisp blue sky.

 

 

 

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two days in mandalay: day 2

for the second day in mandalay
we booked a one day tour for $18
and that was probably a good plan coz
we got to see a lot of things in just one day

first, we went to the myanmar handicraft workshop
where artisans were busy working on intricate designs
apparently much of their handicraft is exported to China.

then we went to u bein bridge because our guide said
that it would be crowded later and the next monastery was nearby
but instead of crossing the bridge we hung out with the fisherman below

indeed the next stop was at mahagandayon monastery, amarapura
where tourists line up on two sides of the road to see Buddhist monks
get in line for their lunch. i didn’t quite enjoy this spectacle but the chinese
tourists at least brought some crackers, candies and eatables to give to them

then we went to see the weaving industry & shop
i like how they promote local artisans and weavers
it makes you want to buy their work just by seeing it

then we had to catch a boat to the ancient city of ava

at ava, they took us from one temple to another in these bullock carts
and this would be the beginning of our pagoda hopping exercise in myanmar

for sunset we went back to the u bein bridge
and there were lots of people but hardly a sunset
nonetheless, this teak bridge is iconic since it appeared
in the cover of Amitav Ghosh’s famous novel The Glass Palace

and the best street food discovery for Day 2 in mandalay
was this awesome combination of ice-cream and coconut flesh…

 

 

two days in mandalay: day 1

we reached mandalay at 6:30 am
and had the whole two days to explore

our first sighting were these little monks reading in a roadside library
and our first meal was so good, fresh and only about forty rupees for one…

then we walked to the mandalay palace -the residence of the last Burmese king
but ended up walking to the entrance where foreigners were not allowed to enter
so we ended up taking mobike taxis and went through the main entrance with others

Inside the palace, we were in awe
the golden pagoda architecture told
a story of a rich and wealthy royal family

the palace gardens were well kept
and made good photo opps for visitors

but i specifically enjoyed climbing the wooden watchtower
and looking down at the vast complex of the mandalay palace

we decided to take an auto back to the market area
lucky for us, we had a lady boss driving us back

we got dropped off at the zay cho market and
street food in southeast asia is always so exciting

but the best part of Day 1 in Mandalay
was this golden yellow pagoda that lit up as dusk came
looking exactly how i imagined Myanmar pagodas to be like
pagoda

crossing india-myanmar border by land

In August 2018, the India Myanmar land border was opened
and entry was made possible for travelers wanting to take this route.

The last time I had made it to the Indo Myanmar Friendship Gate
We were allowed to enter Namphalong market without passports and visas.
This time around, we had applied for proper eVisas although it is now visa on arrival.
morehFor immigration purposes, one needs to go to Gate no.1
Since the Integrated Check Post has only recently opened,
it is still new and we had to wait for immigration officers to arrive.

we then crossed the old Burmese bridge
to Burmese immigration and were through in no time

 

we were now in Burmese soil
indiamyanmar2So we set off to Tamu because we wanted to catch a vehicle to Mandalay
but the vehicle would only move at 4:00pm so we went to Namphalong market
which is actually the same Moreh market but in Myanmar they say Namphalong.

 

The market was teeming with activities as usual and
we exchanged our Indian currencies to Burmese Kyat and
got ourselves the local SIM card (which was really easy to get)
we were set but we found ourselves relishing the first of the many
yummy fish meals we would have during the entire trip in Myanmar.
tamufishWe then got back to the taxi stand and
took the overnight ride from Tamu to Mandalay…

 

 

Hatu Peak

Whenever we travel, we might have a destination
but along the way there are many stops and detours
that often determine how we got to our final destinationhatu4On our way to Hatu peak
our first stop was for chai in theog

thereafter we made an uphill climb
to hatu peak where the entire himalayan range
was lined up against the blue sky and dragon clouds
hatu5

there were these amazing rocks and
yellow wildflowers smiling on the hillside

hatu temple was up for a big event
as the chief minister of himachal was
visiting that day and i got to see him too

on the way back we stopped by this small pond
hatu11

near the pond was a Gujjar dera for the nomadic Gujjar tribe
who would set up temporary shelters when they passed through
but the driver told us it becomes a shop-stall during tourist season

then we stopped at narkhanda for lunch
at the new himalaya negi dhaba for raajma-chawal

the most interesting part of the trip was buying apples
from this boss-lady who was selling from the hood of her jeep

another discovery on the way
was this high altitude training centre

all in all, quite a good one-day getaway
from shimla to hatu and the in-between places.

 

flying visit to pokhara

in between europe and kyrgyzstan
i also made a quick trip to pokhara

and lakeside never gets old
didn’t go boating but it’s a good
reminder when i drowned in this lake

i really want to paddle board someday soon
but this trip i only looked at adverts and fantasized

we went to white rabbit coffee for brunch
and the breakfast was filling and reasonable

lakeside has a lot of good bookstores
where they also sell second hand books

since it was monsoon
the rains were inevitable

but my favourite part was a ride to the other end of lakeside
away from the touristy facade where people lived their simple lives
pkr9