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Pahtodawgyi pagoda, Mingun
Pahtodawgyi Pagoda, Mingun

  Only an hour's boat trip from Mandalay, Mingun is noted for its 90-ton bell, which is the largest ringing bell in the world and its unfinished huge pagoda, the world's largest piece of bricks with 50 meter in height, obscuring life along the river banks.

Since one must go bare-footed in all pagodas, it is quite a climb to the top - finished or unfinished - but the views over the village and the river are spectacular.


Padamyar Sedi, Sagaing Hill
Padamyar Sedi, Sagaing Hill

Situated 21 km southwest of Mandalay, Sagaing Hills is known as the heart of the Buddhist religion with over 400 monasteries for monks and nuns. The sunsets over the Ayeyarwaddy River, viewed from Son Oo Ponyashin Pagoda, are breathtaking.

Ava is situated on a small island, between the Ayeyarwaddy and Myittha rivers, was first founded as a capital by King Thado Minbya in 1364 A.D. It was destroyed by the earthquake of 1838. The ruins of the palace, the massive fort walls and moat can still be seen of the splendour of the past when it had been the capital for more than four and half centuries.

The best way to explore this island is by horse cart. The king palace at that time does not exist any longer, however still the “Leaning Tower” of Inwa, 27 meter (90 feet) high masonry Watch Tower. The Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery, a brick-and-stucco monastery built by the Chief Queen of King Bagyidaw for her royal abbot (Nyaung Gan Sayadaw) in 1818 and the Bagayar Monastery, famous for its impressive ornate woodcarvings and teak posts are the high lights.

"Clackety-clack, clackety-clack" you hear while strolling through Amarapura, nowadays famous for silk and cotton weaving, but in ancient times known as the "City of Immortals".

U Bein Bridge,Amarapura
  The former capital of Upper Burma (until 1850) is located idyllically at the Thaungthaman Lake which is crossed by the


a teak footbridge spanning 1.2 km, the world's longest of its kind. Why not having a Chinese tea at the banks of the Thaungthaman Lake before you walk accross the bridge to the

which houses an excellent seated Buddha image and has wonderful well-preserved frescoes in the four entrance porches..
You will find here over 400 Buddha statues and the oldest Buddhist scriptures which are written on palm leaves.
also known as Maymyo, when it was a British hill station. The old stagecoaches are still operating as local taxi service. There is plenty to see, such as the wonderful Botanical Garden, Pwe Kauk Waterfall, the busy market and the newly built Pye Lone Chan Tha Pagoda, which houses a mysterious Buddha image. Why not taking a train one early morning which takes a winding curcuitous route up through the hills at sunrise!

Botanical Garden in Maymyo

Horse carriage, pyin oo lwin (maymyo)
Horse Carriage in Maymyo


Shwebo is a rice-collecting centre on the railway about 50 miles (80 km) north-northwest of Mandalay and 17 miles west of Kyauk Myaung, a river-side town on the Ayeyarwady, which is famous for glazed pottery works from toys, cups, letters, bowls, pots to huge water jars that are tied in hundreds and floated down the river as rafts. These are widely used throughout the country.

Shwebo was the birthplace of Alaungpaya, founder of the Alaungpaya dynasty (1752–1885), and is the site of his tomb. The palace and other royal parks, lakes, moats and watch tower have been neglected, disrepaired, ravaged and ruined in the last two centuries. With the promotion of the tourism industry, the government has launched upon the reconstruction of the palace buildings, parks and dredged the royal lake for the benefit of the visitors and locals.


Thanbuddhay Temple in Monywa

136 km to the west, is the commercial center of Chindwin Valley. 95 km to the northwest of Monywa, a 17 km bumpy ride including trekking and continuing on the back of an elephant will make your excursion to a National Park quite a bit of an adventure.

En route encounter wonderful markets for rice, beans, peanuts and corn. Highlights are the

with over 500,000 Buddha images,

where over 806 stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures are inscribed,

which means 'One Thousand Bo Trees', and, not to forget,

the Reclining Buddha, over 70 meters in length and - again - the largest one in the world.


It is said that the
land of Mogoke existed about 1-thousand million years ago…  after a 5 and a half hours drive north of Mandalay you will arrive to the City of Gem Mines . Located at 3,800 ft, picturesquely and naturally surrounded by chains of high mountains, Mogoke also enjoys a temperate climate. Observe the mining techniques by which these precious stones are taken from the alluvial limestone gravel!

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1999 Myriam Grest Thein