Posted on 31 January 2012 by brett
The Journey Begins - 1/1/12
We started our Southeast Asia journey with mixed emotions. We felt both excitement and anxiety for the unknown in terms of daily living conditions away from the familiar comforts of home. One main focus has been maintaining our good health. Both of us hit a snag towards the end of January, but we now head into February strong and geared for the charm and adventure of Cambodia and Vietnam! Continue Reading
Posted on 30 January 2012 by brett
Queen Inn - Shan Family
Upon arrival, I tried (not for the first time) to rid myself of “damaged” USD at the airport money exchanger. They wouldn’t take any of my ten $5 bills. I slammed my hand down and took my money and left. Not the mellow way I wanted to start the Inle Lake leg of the trip. All taxi’s charge 25000 kyat ($32) to Inle Lake, so we shared a taxi with a nice Spanish couple (living in Hanoi) for 12500 ($16). The government charges a $5 entrance fee per person as you drive toward Inle lake. Again, I argued with the guy about the quality of my $5’s and wound up giving him a bunch of crappy $1’s. Continue Reading
Posted on 28 January 2012 by brett
Ava Village "Horse Cart"
Our second day in Mandalay consisted of a “short” trip south to the ancient cities of Ava & Amarapura. This trip was to be our highlight of the Mandalay stay. Ava (changed to Inwa during British Colonial rule) was the capitol between 1364 and 1555. The era followed the collapse of Sagaing and Pinya kingdoms due to the Shan raids from the north. Amarapura or “City of Immortality” served as the capitol city several times during the 18th and 19th centuries under the Konbaung Dynasty. It is now just a city within the Mandalay province. Continue Reading
Posted on 27 January 2012 by brett
Near Mahamuni Pagoda
We arrived at Mandalay airport from Bagan ($46/flight) around 9am amidst pure chaos dealing with bags and transportation. Forget baggage claim, your bags just appear in the hands of the baggage boys from the runway. Luckily, we had purchased a taxi transfer while staying in Bagan. It cost 8000 kyat ($10) vs. maybe double locally. The airport is way out from the city center, a 40 minute ride to the Royal City hotel ($30/night) near the palace. We read that Mandalay was more modern than Yangon hearing things like the palace had been rebuilt since the British invasion. In reality, the confusion left by King Thibaw’s ouster on November 28th 1885 still exists today. Late 19th century Burma had a population around 5 million. Continue Reading
Posted on 24 January 2012 by brett
Plains of Bagan (Pagan)
As we walked up the dark winding stairwell outside onto the temple’s terrace, we stared in amazement at the endless stupas, temples and pagodas across the long flat plains of Bagan. We felt like we were zapped 900 years back standing in the middle of a medieval empire. In that moment we realized what an enchanting place we had found in Burma and what an unforgettable day it would be. As we go through the ups and downs of traveling, it’s places like Bagan that make us realize why we’ve taken a year off to travel and how lucky we are to be seeing all these amazing sights. Bagan is an archaelogical dream not to be missed!
Watch our video – Ancient Temples of Bagan