I visited Myanmar again for the third time, returning to places I visited before (Bagan in 2011; Mandalay and Sagaing in 2012). I tried to look up all the people I’ve met before, especially in Sagaing. Some I’ve only met briefly but I still remember them, and I’m incredibly surprised they remember me too. Sure feels good to be remembered.
Met up with the girls and teachers in IBEC but only managed to take a picture with a few of them.
Then I managed to briefly meet this boy who helped me find my way to the school two years ago. He seems to be doing well now!
And of course, visited my favourite noodle stall in all of Sagaing! Auntie still remembers me! I must have been her noodle’s no.1 foreign fan. The dish is called atho (not sure if I got the spelling right). Been craving for it for ages!
First morning in Bagan – we were lucky to see so many hot air balloons! We didn’t see any the next morning. The hot air ballooning season in Bagan starts from October to March every year (information I learnt when I was there in 2011. You may want to check that. Price did not change much ~300USD)
From far you could see the balloons like little round mushrooms, swaying side to side, knocking each other as they were being inflated. They struggled a bit to go up and by the time the last balloon left the ground, the sun was already quite high up in the sky.
After reading Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace, I knew I had to visit the palace when I was in Mandalay. You have to pay the Mandalay Zone admission fees (USD10) to visit the palace and a number of other sites.
I’ve been to Myanmar twice before this and twice I missed Inle. So I made it a point this time to go there no matter what. I was with a couple of friends and we went to the bus station directly from the airport. The journey took less than an hour. By the way I would advise you to exchange your money at the airport. Myanmar now follows the bank rates, and they are pretty good. It averages about 1000k per USD and this is the highest I’ve ever got since I first visited in 2011.
We collected our bus ticket (booked online – 15000k) and hung out at the station until 7pm. Took us close to 12 hours to get to Shwe Nyaung. He dropped us by the road side in what looks like a village. I think we were the only ones alighting at that stop (it was a little chaotic as we didn’t know we had reached. I was expecting to see a bus station). I didn’t see any other buses and I doubt that’s the bus station. So in situations like these you have to confirm and reconfirm you’re in the right place. Anyway, all went smoothly, we took a taxi to Nyaung Shwe and checked in at Remember Inn.
Travels are always memorable when you experience the ‘non-touristy’ things. I’m really glad we had such a day when we were in Siem Reap. Part 1 Special day: Morning – driving aimlessly and stumbling upon villagers harvesting paddy. What do you do? Get down and join them.
A little boy waits at the end of the stream to collect the paddy and throw it up the banks
The paddy is then loaded on the tractor. The little boy jumps behind the wheels and demonstrates how it is done
Who says you can’t work and play at the same time? Happy boy enjoying the cool waters. Earlier he, together with his friends, were asking for “One dollar” from us!