It looks like the south

On 16 February 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

After seeing the main places of Myanmar, I had a week to explore another corner. Between Mandalay and the northern region , Mrauk U at the north west or the south, I opted for the last one for reasons of feeling, transportation and money.

imageSo here I am leaving my sublime Ngapali beach, and after 20 hours of bus and a sleepless night, I get to Bago, a small town near Yangon, my first stop. I expected a small town, I am actually in a pretty town developed and expanded. After my check in at San Francisco hotel, I decided to go immediately to walk, traveling many miles around the city. I go first to the monastery Kha Khat wain kyaung to see lunch. At 11am , the gong sounds and 500 monks begin to march in silence to the refectory, collecting donations from the many pilgrims and rice at the passage. Then follows hymns until everyone arrives and finally they take their only meal of the day in silence, broken down by table of 4 or 5 monks.
I then explored the streets of the city, the messy yet organized market, various pagodas (the “snake pagoda “, where I managed to avoid seeing too close to the giant snake where pilgrims put their offerings ! ) . After 5 hours of walking, a motorcycle taxi urges me back to the monastery, not wanting me to do too much way. I finally accepted… And then a Myanmaise calls me on the street, at her shop, and follows a conversation during 30min to discuss about everything before returning to my GH .

imageThe next day, up at 5am direction Kyaik – Hti -Yo to climb tje mountain to the golden rock. After 2h bus and check in as usual, I left around 11am in the market which leads to the departure path to climb on foot to the golden pagoda. The French travel guide Routard announced 6h minimum, local people announced me between 4 to 4h30. Good… The climb is quite difficult, many steps to climb, the slope is tough. I do not meet anyone on the road that rises, only Myanmais that go down. Are the tourists and locals too lazy to climb it? Many ask me if I’m fine passing between the accumulated fatigue and my jogging two days earlier, my head must show that my body is limping :) along the path, you will find small shops selling food and drinks so no need to bring anything with you at the outset. Finally after 3:35 walk, that’s it, I came and saw the golden rock! What a great reward after the difficult 11km… You can get there by pick -up but I think that the rock does not seem as impressive and ” won ” with the rise in walking. Beware though, this is not a climb suited to everyone! Up so a large pagoda with mini pagodas within which the famous golden rock that women can not approach / touch. Indeed, only men can go stick the gold leaf.
I chose to go down by pick-up, being tired of my day. A new turn to the market, an early dinner and rest, tomorrow we go again!

imageAll my plans have changed again since I had planned two days in Bago and as the golden rock and I have finally made ​​one in each. But for a good reason: I left the next day for Hpa-an, everyone had praised me here saying that the area was beautiful. So I was kept me this option under the elbow and if it does not please me , I left for places farther south. But out there arrival, I was directly charmed! GH Soe Brothers is super nice, many travelers stay there, it is a true mark backpackers. Nature is green as I have rarely seen, mountains all around, lakes, monasteries, the area abounds with things to see. Thanks to the advice of a German who put his bags for 20 days having fallen in love with the place, I could maximize my time and enjoy everything. The first day, I focused on the city itself, it borders the river , I discovered the day market but also (and especially) the night which will be my mark every night for dinner as the food is  good and cheap, all in an ultra friendly atmosphere.
image2nd day with a group of 4 people encountered (an English couple and us / Finnish), we decided to rent motobikes to explore the surroundings. Up at 5:45 to enjoy the sunrise on the first lake. Then towards the Saddan Cave, hallucinating within which you find pagodas, Buddhas sitting or lying down and another (many caves are like that in the region / in the country) . Then to the Kyat-Kat-Monastery. Along the way we meet young people in trucks with electro music background baffles. The reason? This is the wedding day in Myanmar! Here, we do not marry any day, it depends on the moon. So this month, marriages, it’s Tuesday! And arrived at the monastery, we are witnessing the wedding ceremony with the monk who certifies wishes. The place is very beautiful in the middle of a perfectly imageround lake with the monastery on one side and a rock in the center. The 4 travelers must then go to take a bus. This feeling of freedom on the bike in the middle of magnificent spectacle around me did give me only one wish: to continue throughout the afternoon! So I leave on my bike, stopping everywhere to take pictures of rice paddies, and other Myanmese working. I arrive at the Yateak Pyan cave, then the Lumbini garden and its 1,100 Buddhas precisely aligned, then I roll without specific point in the mountains and returning the other side of the road ( great show). Then I go back to Kyat-Ka-Lat for sunset thousand colors … magical!
image3rd day , I decided to climb the mountain ZweGaBin with 3 travellers (Fancy and Fabien, German, and Pascal, switzerland). Again, the travel guide talks about 3h minimum to climb, local at least 2 hours to go up and same to go down… After an early breakfast, we leave around noon ( still bad timing with the sun but…) towards the Lumbini garden , which is the starting point for the west side mounted. At 13h so it is gone and there…only steps! No respite, it climbs all the way, some steps are very high, others a little snack mouth. Along the way we meet monks who descend with slippers… incomprehensible! Finally after all 2h mounted rough and challenging, we have come to the monastery for our imagegreatest joy. The travellers stay in the monastery this evening to sleep, for my part I leave for the east side down, having to take a bus tomorrow morning. Again, that walks is hard and my legs are shaking severely. But the more I go down, the less I think the timing of each other. And indeed, after 50min of descent, I am (already!) arrived in the village to my delight! Children are playing football, I can not resist and start to play with them, one is never tired when it comes to having fun with 4 kids! Then another small becomes intrigued by my bag and begins to dig, which will give me a serie of photo shots that I love! Then a motorcycle taxi back to my GH. Last dinner at the night market and tomorrow we go again!

imageSo here I arrived the next day in Mawlamyine, the last city of my trip to Myanmar (already!). History to enjoy this last place before what will be a long journey probably of three days combined with bus / plane / waiting around to get to Vietnam, I put my bag at Cinderella hotel, recommended by many tourists address and with correct price. Then I’m off to explore the city. Along the river, I discover the markets, my passion now you know! Then I see the prison, pagodas (in case I have not seen enough !) and all the other little points of interest of the city. In the evening, head for the docks along the river for dinner at local barbecue menu, a real treat! Grilled meat and vegetables and salad for € 1, pretty cool no?
The next day I rented a motobike again having loved my first experience to visit around the city. Going to the World largest reclining Buddha (yes Sir) , quite impressive, pagodas, temples, everything is there to end this beautiful chapter of 27 days in the country! In the evening, towards night bus to Yangon, where I spend the day with my backpack with me before leaving for the airport.

image150 days since I left all on my last day in Myanmar and still have 309 days to travel the world and already so many beautiful pages added to my life! What a crazy adventure…
Soon on this site discover of (fast but effective) Vietnam :)

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