JOURNEY TO MYSTERIOUS HOLY LAND – MYANMAR

  26/07/2016

         JOURNEY TO MYSTERIOUS HOLY LAND – MYANMAR

         Last year, from 6-10th july 2015, I took a trip 5 days 4 nights around 3 main cities / regions in Burma/ Myanmar (Yangon – Bagan – Mandalay). I would like to share my experiences and my feelings  there for any people who are planning to travel this country.

           Journey to Yangon

          Before flight, I booked ticket of Vietnam Airline (promotion) only 3,200,000 (143US$) for 2 ways tickets. Depart from Noibai airport (Hanoi) at 17:00 and arrived in Yangon (old capital) at 18:45. My recommended myanmar friend (suggested by Mrs Phan, who is manager of Anise hotel 22 Quan Thanh street), was a good man, with easy - call name: Kosoe, who picked me up at Yangon airtport and helped me for the whole trips in Myanmar...  2 weeks before the tour, I had booked 1 first night in a hostel at Yangon (10$US/1 bed).. and that night, Kosoe took me to the street restaurant (I requested) for traditional foods of the local... actually, taste of food there, I felt not as good as I had expected before, however, I felt Myanmar people were so friendly... That night, I slept in a bed in a medium room (maximum for 6, but only 3 men, I, one man from South Korea and another one from California).. the next morning, I woke up and had a box of food (some cakes) together with some other tourists.. At 8:00 Kosoe drove his taxi to take me around Yangon city (Yangon city tour).. I had the whole day for many relics, sacred pagodas in Yangon, in which, Shwedagon is buddhist symbol of Myanmar, its apperance was really impressive with exquisite relics and covered by a thin layer of gold, encrusted with precious stones (sapphire, ruby, diamond).. hand-made artists created such a spectacular architecture and I thought in my mind "oh, no another place in this world, I could see a pagoda like this... ). Until afternoon, I asked Kosoe whether I could visit his home or not? Kose felt quite embarrassed a while for what I said to, but when hearing my hear-felt words, he also nodded and took me to his home. Countryside in Myanmar has lots of similarities with rural areas in Vietnam.. his home's 20 kms away Yangon centre, it's a part of Yangon subburban, what I felt the strangest between Myanmar and Vietnam was that in Yangon there was no mortobike, and on the way visiting Kosoe's home just had some.. while in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi, crowded streets for millions of mortobikes... I was suprised but it probably was true.. I did'nt care about it anymore..  After 30 minutes, finally, we arrived in Kosoe's home, his old parents, a young wife and a little son welcomed me by warm hearts.. I recognized that they lived in a  simple style but open-kind hearted to every people around.. Most of Myanmar citizens (80% of population) follow Buddhism, therefore, they always pray for and do all the good things.. 

          Experiences on the way to  and in Bagan

          By the late afternoon, Kosoe drove me to Luxury bus for a new destination (from Yangon to Bagan)... he helped me buy a ticket then waited me for a long time before going home.. On bus, full of foreigner tourists, luckily, I found out 2 Vietnamese women (daugher and her mother), I myself spoke some words to them, we then became friends by accident, and when bus arriving in Bagan, was time all of us felt quite exshauted after a long time moving..  We decided to hire a taxi for a Bagan city tour (Bagan was an ancient capitol of the Burma empires in the past). The driver was a young guy, wearing traditional costume (longy, very simple, just with a cloth, wrapped around the lower body) and always smiled..  It took 5 minutes we reached the land of thousands of thousands erupted temples - the virtual land deeply imprinted by Theravada Buddhism. Never before had I seen a "heaven like that"... It took us nearly 1 hour to discover some well-known relics, many of them were ruined by time.. and the glum sound of crows reminded us of a forgotten empire in morden times. Finally, we hired a horse-cart , one kind of popular vehicle for transportation in Myanmar (version for tourism, more luxury and well-decorated). Sitting on it, the horse moved slowly step by step on the old, dusty road.. everything was reflexed in clean blue sky, a wonderland for fairy tales written for kids.. then 10 minutes on horse cart, we came into the former palace where the former royal families ever lived and the kings controlled over their nation by powerful mornarch, now, all belongs to the pass forever..  After a half day, experienced lots of activities, We came back the hotel (the mother and her daught booked), I get their room shared for a short sleeping in 1 and a half hour before going out for dinner..  At 20:00, time for a new destination, I had to leave them and say goodbye, a sense of nostalgia welled up in my mind, "peut être" I had deep love for them and felt regret by goodby words.

          Mandalay – an interesting style for strange senses

          Again, a long bus from Bagan to Mandalay took me along on the dusty road, many local people shared on an very old passenger bus...though the whole night I could not sleep anymore while the bus was moving in the dark-fade light.. At about 3:00 morning the next day, the bus stopped at station, finally, I reached where I wished, once time again, I hire a taxi ( 7US$ fee) for hotel I had booked in Mandalay centre (* I booked rooms on Booking.com), although, I came so soon, staff in hotel was polite and gave me the key, so I slept well for several hours before the check-in time, but I paid no extra charge. Dreaming on, suddenly, a young man in longy rang me on phone and urged me to wake up for breakfast. Morning in Malay was tranquil, jully in Mandalay is rainny season, mild weather and a little bit of sunshine. The guy drove me tour around Mandalay, we visited pagodas, temples and a bridge over Irawaddy river (tourist can go there, graze at dawn and dust in every nice days). On the way back Mandalay centre, we countered hundred of monks walking on roads.. they are always well respected in society, many families agree to leave their children on Buddhist schools in order to maintain the next generations of monks. For the first time to Myanmar, the new land in my travel diary, I never forget memories what Myanmar people, its landcapes and cultures left in me .. That night I joined a birth day party of a receptionist in hotel, who helped me a lot for my flight back to Yangon, only more 1 day, we became close friends and something happened to us, a love from the first sight brought us in a close relationship.. a dinner with her and her 2 other girl friends, we all had a good memory, we talked too much about cultures, traditions and jugs.. then going out, walking along road and visting museum of royal family, the ancient royal citadel in Mandalay. When the night being, we said goodbye, and the next morning, I took a taxi to Mandalay airport, an old, outdated facility (I met troubles to get the full instructions from the staff and technical support there).

            Back to Yangon, travel around historic places

        After awaiting for nearly 2 hourse, I finally came back Yangon, I and Kosoe met again, he helped me find a chinese restaurant for our lunch, he also did drive us on way to Yangon university (closed since 1988, from 8888 campaign in Yangon) and crossed over the headquarter of NLD (National League for Democracy) where I saw a portrait of General Aung San - the father of madame Aung San Suu Kyi..  I also asked him to visit a big project (signed by Vietnam & Myanmar government) of real estate invested by Hoang Anh Gia Lai – a Vietnamese corporation in Yangon centre, but regretably, our car exceeded that place...  .....   a coffee and a farewell, Kosoe and beautiful Myanmar were gradually behind my back.. I flew to Noibai airport by late night... My biggest gifts from Myanmar were thousands of pics.. an "invaluable asset". If you are planning to visit Myanmar, do not worry and do not hesitate to do what you like.

                     DAVIDSON’S DIARY  (Writen on 26th jully, 2016) 

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