Asia Trip 2015, Myanmar: 1-Day Mandalay Tour

This is not a drill. I'm on a blogging roll! Haha. Actually, I am just super excited to share with you guys our extremely unique adventure in the beautiful country of Myanmar. It's not really a popular travel destination especially sa list of friends ko, but it's truly a place worth discovering and visiting. I am confident (ly beautiful with a heart) that it will soon become one of Asia's top destinations as more and more people share their wonderful experiences online and offline. So, tara! Here are photos and stories from our first day...

Waiting for our plane


Our plane to Mandalay

AirAsia has no direct flights to Bagan, so I booked nalang a flight going to Mandalay from BKK using our Asean Pass credits. Used 1 credit for this. O db? 1 credit lang! Actually sa 10 credits, I just used 7. May natira pang 3 na d ko na naavail. Sayang! Oh well, experience din. :) If you want to know more about this booking & Asean Pass, read my post below:

After almost 2 hours, we're finally in Mandalay, Myanmar!!!

After getting our bags, we headed straight to this money changer inside the airport. There's quite a lot of currency exchange kiosks, but AGD offers the most competitive rates:)

They don't accept bills that are slightly crumpled or have ink stains:( So we transferred to another money changer. :(

Had our USDs changed here nalang! They're more forgiving haha. 

AirAsia has a free shuttle going to the city! It's there until 1pm, so don't be late. Hehe.

Dami niyang pera o! Haha. 1 USD = 1,200 Kyats

Bye, airport!

On our way to Mandalay, saw this monk walking on the side of the road.

probinsya vibes talaga

our conductor offering tours:) he's also a freelance tour guide!

After 45 minutes, we're in the city na!

Uy, they have a mall! And it started to rain.

The shuttle's last stop is at this bus station where a million cab drivers were waiting for us. They would block your way and convince you to avail their service, but don't get intimidated! Just politely, say no. We decided to just walk from there to our hotel. It was super near!

Our home for 1 night!

Booked a standard double room in Hotel Sahara via Agoda for just P1,100 a night. :)

Time to check-in! They also helped us book our bus tickets going to Bagan :)

Dining area

Here's a guide for tourists!

our floor:)

Our room!

Tight space but beds are okay:)

Pinagtabi namin our 2 single beds:)


outfit (didn't know the dress code in Myanmar pa nito)


After we've settled, we headed out again to tour around the city!
Asked the hotel to book a guide/driver who could take us around:)

Our hotel from the other side

Our nice tour guide/driver!

Let the tour begin!

1st Stop: Mandalay Palace 
Mandalay Palace with its fortress & moat. Entrance is 10,000 kyats (with access to other tourist sites)

Did not go inside na 'coz it was already 3pm and we were chasing the U Bein Bridge sunset. I also read on TripAdvisor that the inside is quite disappointing.  

...and then we were off to our next destination!

Mejo thug life na walang helmet yung baby noh?

Before anything else, I just would like to say that it was my first time in Myanmar and I had no idea that this country and its people are pretty conservative. I wish I read more blogs or threads especially about proper "attire" because I swear, the only thing I had in mind was it's extremely hot over there (more than Manila) so I brought comfortable clothes like sleeveless tops and shorts. Very wrong. :( While we were going around, I noticed that almost everyone's all covered up. Even guys! They still wear their traditional longyis (or sarong) to cover their legs. I only saw a few people wearing "modern" clothes. OOTD pa more. Haha! But, now I know! Lesson learned. :) I also wish I brought scarf while touring Mandalay para nagawa kong skirt. Just like what I did in Bagan. 

In advance, I just would like to say I'm sorry for my shortcomings, and I have no intention of offending anyone ha. Just want to get it out there bago majudge ng judgers. Haha. 

2nd Stop: Kuthodaw Pagoda
Was welcome by this lovely lady:) Girls(and boys too) in Myanmar often put paint on their face called "Thanaka". It's a yellowish paste made from ground bark.

bought flowers to offer inside

visitors are required to leave their shoes outside

Kuthodaw Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa that contains the world's largest book. It lies at the foot of Mandalay Hill and was built during the reign of King Mindon.

Ayan na si Nico may escort pang monk! Hehe

200+ year old Star Flower Tree! There are plenty in the compound.

In the grounds of the pagoda are 729 stone-inscription caves 

Each of them contains a marble slab inscribed on both sides with a page of text from the Tipitaka, the entire Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism.

Kuthodaw Pagoda

Everyone is required to walk barefoot in the temples of Myanmar. No socks.

Diorama of the whole complex!

Cute baby playing with Thanaka.:)

2nd Stop:  Shwenandaw Kyaung (Teak Temple) & Atumashi Monastery
Chill lang si Kuya


Atumashi Monastery

Not sure what these are but d ko inavail. Haha.

Didn't go inside coz.. wrong attire:(

It was soooo hot

Before you reach the monastery, you'd see this beautiful teak temple first...

Took this photo from the outside though! It's gated and there's an entrance fee of 10,000 kyats or almost $8. If you pay the entrance, you get access to other sites like the Atumashi monastery and Mandalay Palace.

The historic Shwenandaw or Golden Palace monastery is a significant building in Mandalay because it remains the sole major survivor of the former wooden Royal Palace built by King Mindon in the mid-nineteenth century. It may look fragile yet it is a grand example of 19th century Myanmar teak architecture and a masterpiece of the wood-carver’s art. It's famous for its beautiful wood carvings which I would love to see in person next time. :)

vendors outside the temple

3rd stop: Mahamuni Buddha Temple
you have to take off your shoes before the gate:) 

Upon entry, I asked the people there if I can rent some cover-up. Not sure if they understood me, but they motioned for me to just proceed inside. So, I did! 
there was a mini market inside

temple grounds

I didn't even attempt to go near the Buddha because of my outfit and there were a lot of people praying. 

ring my bell

Saw a sign saying ladies can't go inside sa area ng Buddha, only men. It made me sad. :(

The Mahamuni Pagoda is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Burma. The temple houses the Mahamuni Buddha image, the most highly revered Buddha image in the country. The pagoda was built in 1785 by King Bodawpaya of the Konbaung dynasty after the Mahamuni image was captured during the invasion of the Arakan Kingdom. 

We didn't go around that much because i felt (well, I know haha) like I was being judged because of my outfit. Haha. Sareeeeh naaa.

Would love to come back next time! 

After our temple visits, we decided to take a break and try authentic Mandalay food. We asked Kuya driver for recos and he brought us to Unique Myanmar resto! :)

they served us cold towels

We were the only customers that time! 4pm naman kasi. 

Chose the 9,000 kyats set meal! 

So many choices!

#1 Tofu Crackers. Loved this.

Gourd with Vermacelli soup (okay), Tomato salad (loved it), Beef curry (okay but chicken was better), Potatoes w/ bamboo shoots (nope nope), Stir fried veggies (loved this)

Fried banana with honey which I partnered with green tea! Loved this.

Verdict: Overall, our food was okay for the price. It was still a little expensive for almost $7 or P300+ but the serving was more than fair. Service was great too. The waiters were attentive and nice. As for the taste, it was okay. Not my favorite, but okay. 
It was my first time to taste Myanmar food and it was a little foreign to me. I don't hate it, but I don't really like it either. Their curry's different din pala. 

Finally on our way to U Bein Bridge!

It was 20 minutes & 11 kms away from downtown. This is where our driver parked his car.

Oooh, nice

Scene outside:)

Myanmar fashion:)

Lots of eateries around:) Observe how the locals dress:)

their version of street food

Let's go check out the famous bridge!

Mejo crowded

But may quiet moments din naman

mix of locals and tourists:)

U Bein Bridge is 1.2 kms long and built from teak planks. It is said to be the longest of its type in the world. The local mayor, U Bein, salvaged the wood from pieces of the dismantled teak palace at Amarapura when the capital moved to Mandalay in 1857.

The bridge remains a central part of the community, with hundreds of locals and saffron-robed monks walking their bicycles home along it, and fishermen going about their daily work in its shadow (although there are increasing numbers of tourists, too). The best time to see the bridge is at sunset, and the best photo opportunities are afforded by hiring a boat to get a close up view of the bridge from the water. (http://www.go-myanmar.com/)

Zara top, Forever 21 shorts, Bangkok hat, Primadonna sandals

Tumabi yung monk. So cute.


boats you can rent

hi kuya

Kung may Netflix & chill, meron din Bridge-ing & chill. Lol.

nagfifishing si Kuya!

Sunset na mejo gloomy:)

Way of life:)

We spent almost 2 hours on the bridge, just sitting there while chatting, enjoying the fresh air, people watching, observing and smiling at locals (who I'm sure were judging my outfit haha) and just taking all its raw beauty in. :) 

Saw this Catholic churh on our way home

And Chinese temple:)

Total tour cost was just 25000 kyats or $20 (2 na kami dun) which was the amount we paid our guide/driver. Pwede na!:) We were back in our hotel by 7pm! I suddenly craved for a burger, so we went to this resto near our hotel that serves Western food. The burger tasted weird but it was bearable. Wasn't able to finish it though. We also went to this cellphone shop across our hotel and bought an Iphone charger (since 1 lang pala nadala namin huhu). Once back in our room, I charged my phone agad. After a few minutes, the damn thing exploded! As in nawalan ng kuryente sa hotel ng very light. :( The adapter got destroyed, but the socket turned out okay. I panicked a little because it was a pretty close call! Good thing I was not holding my phone that time. Eeeeergh.

Anyway, this ends my post! Hope you learned something from this trip of ours. Take note of the dress code and some of my other tips. :) Bagan na next! Eto naaaa! Highlight of our trip. Abangan:)

 Asia Trip Links:

For hotel bookings, click here:

Our Cambodia hotel:

Our Thailand hotel:

1 comment :

  1. Medyo ramdam ko ang mga judging stares! Haha. Excited for your Bagan post.


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