Saturday, August 9, 2014


February 21, 2014

     We head downstairs to our hotel's Ayar Cafe for breakfast.  The buffet has items similar to other places we've stayed at and wonder of wonders-the egg station guy gets my egg right-over easy!!  I make sure to mention that when I fill out my hotel comment card!  At breakfast we meet/talk to a man from Rochester, NY.  Small world.  We take a look around the hotel and surprise-there's a pool.  It's small but hey, it's a pool!!  I've arranged with the hotel for a car for the day so we meet our driver at 8:30 am.  I tell him the only thing I must do is a visit to the MAHAGANDERYONE MONASTERY and U BEIN BRIDGE.  The rest I leave in his capable hands.  His name is Zaw Ko Thet but he didn't write down any other contact info.
View from our room
Hotel lobby

Where breakfast is served

Hotel pool

ATM right outside our hotel

     The first place we stop at is SHWE SIN TAI SILK where we observe the textile workers doing their thing.  We get a bit of info on the process of making the silk.  The store is right across the street.  I buy 2 longyis and 2 tops that match.  $85.  I'm very happy with my purchases.

Scenery from the car

Our first stop

Lots of color

The store
  Then we arrive at MAHAGANDERYONE MONASTERY 9:30 am.  We have time before the monks line up so we do a bit of looking around.  A new addition is being built.  The food storeroom.  Huge pots over fire being tended to.   Boxes being opened that have packages of toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, etc.  Designated locals are handing out rice to the monks before they line up.  Already there are tons of tourists here.  I'm beginning to feel uncomfortable about taking pictures.  The monks-older and very young- proceed in 2 lines to go to the dining hall where they will have their meal.  As they walk they receive  fruit and snack size candy bars-snickers,  milky way!!  I'm watching their faces.  All so solemn.  Lots of downcast eyes.  I wonder how they feel about all of us taking pictures?  Some tourists are not mindful that they're supposed to stand off the street/pathway where the monks are walking.  They are practically up in their faces taking pictures and video.  I feel terrible.  There are so many of them.  This monastery is very large.  I make a donation to the monastery

Wonder what's in the pot??

Building an addition

Food storeroom

Getting ready for the meal

Milky Way!!


Handing out rice

Some people are standing on the street where they are not supposed to be instead of up on the sidewalk area.


     SITAGU INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST ACADEMY  We make a brief stop here as our driver had mentioned he'd like us to see this school for monks.   Sounds like a plan.
Scenery as we drive

     Next stop is U MIN THONZE up SAGAING  HILL.  This pagoda has 45 Buddha images lined up east to west in a crescent shaped building of 30 colonnades.  The name translates to 30 caves.  The view is very nice.  You will see white stupas and gold spires dotting the mountainside.  The SAGAING HILL range runs along the western bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River.  Composed of 37 hills each with its own legendary name.  This one is called "Suvannagirl" where 30 CAVES TEMPLE is located.
30 caves


     Also located on Sagaing Hill is SOON U PONYA SHIN or SWANBONNYASHEN.  Chicken temple.  But I can't find any chickens so why is it called that?  Maybe I missed the chicken statue??  Maybe there is no chicken statue??  Maybe chicken doesn't mean what I think it means??  Walk up almost 200 steps.  Beautiful views from up here also.
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Pretty tiles

Buddha statue

I find a rabbit but no chicken!



Sagaing Bridge

I find a frog.  Where is the chicken!!

     KAUNGHMUDAW PAGODA  Completed 1648.  Royal merit making.  Dome shaped like an egg instead of a pyramid.  Dome used to be painted white to signify purity.    We buy the archaeological zone tickets here 10000k each.  On the back we will get a number stamp according to each place we are visiting.

Detail on the dome

Picture of the pagoda hanging on a wall

     Our driver wants to take us to INWA/AVA.  I say ok as long as I get to U BEIN before sunset.  We have to park and then get the boat 1600k.  The horse cart is 6000k and will take us to see certain sights.    We drive past YADANA SINME PAGODA  without stopping even though I see several horse carts there.  Maybe it's not on the list of what we're supposed to see??  (Later I find out we should have stopped here)  We stop at BAGAYA MONASTERY which has some nice detailed wood carvings of birds and animals on the exterior and interior.  This is still actively used by monks.  There's a large Buddha statue sitting on a golden throne.    Constructed in 1823.  Then it's a quick photo op stop at NAN MYINT WATCH TOWER which is leaning and doesn't look too stable.  We don't get out of the cart at all here.  Our final stop is the MAHAR AUNG MYE BON SAN MONASTERY.  Made of brick and stucco.  Built 1818.  There are 2 large Burmese mythological lions guarding the front entrance.  Some other stupas on the grounds.  We return in time to catch the boat back to our driver.  There's no time for lunch as I'm anxious to get to U BEIN.


Bagaya Monastery

Nan Myint Watch Tower

Mahar Aung Mye Bon San Monastery               

Our horse cart

Our driver is the lady in front

List of places you're supposed to see.  We didn't do the first one on the list.

     U BEIN BRIDGE  We parked and DH and I decide to use the restroom first.  There is a fee of 200k and no tp so bring your own.  The bridge looks just like the pictures.  I decide to walk across and almost make it to the end but I have to turn around if I want to be on a boat for the sunset.  At first we are quoted 20000k for the boat.  I say that that seems to be too much so our driver is going to see what he can do.  When I say I thought the rate/price was 10000k I'm told that's the price per person-that it's 20000 for the boat.  If we can get 2 other people then it will be 10000k for us.  As we're just standing, waiting a man approaches and tells us he will take us on his boat for 7000k.  We follow him to boat #38.  He spoke fairly good English and was very nice.  As we're getting in the boat our driver is returning and we just wave to him.  In the boat we head out and at the half way point of the bridge he lets us off.  I go up to the bridge but DH goes over to the drinks area for a beer.  I walk on the bridge stopping to sit and just people watch.  Eventually I head back down the stairs and join my husband.  We get back on the boat and he takes us under the bridge to the other side for some neat pictures and then back.  We see all these boats lined up but we are off by ourselves and have a great view of the sunset.  It has been a wonderful day!  Our driver is waiting for us.  We tell him what happened and he's happy we were able to find a more reasonable boat.  We make arrangements for him to pick us up tomorrow at 8:30 am.  Cost for today 45000k.
My first view after getting out of the car

Boats ready and waiting

Black and white

Our shadows as we're on the bridge

I'm so intent on taking pictures I don't realize my DH is taking this one of me!
All kinds of food for sale on the bridge

Now we're on the other side of the bridge

Some areas have different supports

Sturdier looking supports

I almost had time to get to the very end!

Boats all lined up and waiting for the sunset

A really nice guy!

     Dinner RAIN FOREST Our taxi driver had a bit of trouble finding the place but we get there.  It's a small place upstairs from a shop with some interesting antique looking stuff.  We are given a paper/menu order form to mark what we want to order.  We both order fried rice with chicken, coke, and Mandalay beer.  The rice had carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cashews, and Chinese flat beans.  The chicken was very tender.  A delicious meal.  Bill 11000.   Cost for the taxi round trip plus waiting 12000k.  The taxi was more than the meal!!

Thai cuisine in Myanmar/Burma!

Restaurant upstairs

Fried rice with chicken-yummy and hit the spot!

Our order form

Store downstairs

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