Your Guide to Myanmar and Mandalay for Beginner Travelers

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Myanmar was as soon as nearly unattainable to go to—that is after I went the primary time. The 12 months was 2010, the nation was a global pariah and being there felt like a visit again in time.

Then, it opened up, and everybody was going. Bagan, with its temples and sizzling air balloons, appeared to turn out to be nearly as potential as Ayutthaya and Angkor Wat. Then, because of ethnic cleaning and the imprisonment of the girl as soon as thought to be the one hope for the nation’s democracy, the nation turn out to be a pariah once more—and all of the sudden, going there was controversial (if not as troublesome because it was).

Mandalay

Your Travel Guide to Myanmar  

I visited each of Myanmar’s important cities on my first journey to the nation—which, as I defined throughout the intro to this piece, befell in late 2010. Back then, leaded vehicles have been as frequent the roads as ones that took unleaded gasoline; you needed to go to an web cafe to entry (a really censored model of) the web and there was a profound sense of disconnection between native individuals and the surface world. I may write a paper about it (and, as you’ll have seen in case you clicked the hyperlink above, I type of did!).

Yangon was the place I arrived, and the place my journey started. If I’m trustworthy, I wasn’t an enormous fan of town as a complete, though it was troublesome to disclaim the fantastic thing about its large Shwedagon Pagoda. Mandalay, then again, was extra overtly charming, even with out excursions to look at sundown from Mandalay Hill or behind U-Bein Bridge. Oh, I additionally practically died from meals poisoning, although I’m undecided whether or not meals in Yangon or Mandalay have been responsible.

Comparing Mandalay and Yangon

Vibe

Yangon is loud, noisy and soiled—there’s simply no manner round it. While there are locations (effectively, one particularly) that you could escape this, in usually I think about it a metropolis to be endured, to not be loved. Mandalay, against this, has a walkable and charming city middle, by no means thoughts all of the tour choices.

Attractions

When it involves Mandalay vs Yangon, there may be barely extra nuance with this piece. On one hand, Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda is arguably one of many architectural gems not solely of Myanmar, however of Southeast Asia extra broadly. In Mandalay, it’s extra concerning the range of sights, with my private favourite being Mahamuni Paya temple and the Mandalay Hill sundown spot.

Natural panorama

Yangon is flatter than Mandalay, which is sensible as a result of it’s so near the coast. Mandalay, then again, options attractive, rolling hills throughout it—which, even in case you don’t head as much as Mandalay Hill to look at sundown as I counsel above, makes for gorgeous views in all instructions.

Transportation

Unsurprisingly, neither Yangon nor Mandalay has a well-developed public transportation community. You’re mainly on the mercy of pick-up truck taxis, motorbikes and tuk-tuks in case you don’t simply stroll in every single place, which is fortunately potential (although not at all times pleasurable, particularly within the case of Yangon) in each metropolis facilities.

Day Trips & Excursions

Mandalay is surrounded by a trio of gorgeous villages—Sagaing, Inwa and Amarapura, with the latter being dwelling to the long-lasting U-Bein Bridge. With Yangon, in the meantime, the one practical “day trip” you may take is to Shwedagon Pagoda—which, once more, is within the metropolis—you may’t actually name it a “day trip.”

Yangon

Other Myanmar Destinations

Have longer in Myanmar than the 3-5 days it is going to take to discover Mandalay, Yangon and the assorted sights inside day-trip distance of them? Consider visiting these different prime spots:

  • Bagan: Home to actually 1000’s of temples, it is a picturesque place the place it’s worthwhile to rise up on the daybreak for a sizzling air balloon experience.
  • Inle Lake: If you need a pure break, in the meantime, sit back right here for a number of days—clearly, there are many boat rides you may take.
  • Mergui Archipelago: These islands are, in my view, the perfect in Southeast Asia, though they’re unsurprisingly very troublesome to achieve.
  • Naypyidaw: Did you realize that Yangon shouldn’t be the capital of Myanmar? Neither did I, till comparatively just lately. Naypyidaw is…an attention-grabbing metropolis, to say the least.

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