Myanmar 4: Mandalay

Our nightbus from Inle Lake dropped us off in the centre of Mandalay at 3 in the morning… Fortunately, it was no problem walking to our hotel from there. After getting a few more hours of sleep in the hotel lobby and later in our own room, we felt ready to discover our last stop in Myanmar. As Myanmar Palace was right across our hotel, we started by walking around it. People had told us that the entry fee of 10 dollar wasn’t worth it for the palace, so this seemed a good option. Not. The palace grounds are extremely large. It is a big square in central Mandalay, and walking around it takes hours. So when we were halfway around the palace, and hot as hell because of the weather, we decided to check out the entry to Mandalay Hill. Mandalay Hill is a viewpoint that you can reach by going up hundreds of stairs, through various Buddhist temples along the way. Because of our lack of stamina still from our food poisoning period, and now our lack of sleep, we initially weren’t too excited to walk up this hill in these temperatures. But upon seeing the temples dotted on the hill along the way, we decided to go for it! We had some great views along the way, but the ones on the top were the nicest.

View of Mandalay Hill from the  base.
View of Mandalay Hill from the base.
The nicest buddhas we've seen so far
The nicest buddhas we’ve seen so far
Monks enjoying the view from the top of Mandalay Hill.
Monks enjoying the view from the top of Mandalay Hill.
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The temple at the top.

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In the afternoon, we decided to go to a gold workshop instead of taking pictures at the touristy, but beautiful, sunset at U Bein bridge. Mandalay is namely the Burmese city where they traditionally make the gold leaves that are so widely used in Myanmar. The people use them to stick on buddhas in temples for good luck, for medicine and for beauty. We had already seen many of them stuck on buddhas, and were curious about the process. At the gold workshop, we got a tour of how the extremely thin gold leaves are made. Much hard labour goes into making them. Hours and hours of hitting the gold with a hammer at high temperatures to make them as thin as they are. Truly amazing.

Hours and hours of hitting the gold goes into making the gold leaves.
Hours and hours of hitting the gold goes into making the gold leaves.
Women placing the gold leaves into small packages for the sale.
Women placing the gold leaves into small packages for the sale.

Needless to say, we left Mandalay behind with some highly original souvenirs!;)

The next morning, we left for Bangkok, to meet up with Jenk’s family for the coming week!

Here’s a final picture of Myanmar we took during our bus ride to the airport:

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