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hieronyma Mandalay - A travel report by Christl
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Mandalay,  Burma - flag Burma -  Mandalay
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hieronyma's travel reports

Journey to Myanmar, a forgotten World

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The geopolitical situation of Myanmar is characterized by the facts of its borders with India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand, its access to the Indian Ocean, its riches of mineral resources. Isolated, it is proof of the ethic concept of Buddhism. report of the month contest
Feb 2010

Mandalay, Advertisement
Mandalay, Advertisement
Buddhism is expressed in the behaviour of the people, who follow basic rules as they are demanded e.g. in the monastery Mahagandayon: The monk should have a friendly disposition, observe the monastic code of discipline, keep in good health, keep clean, know how to behave, how to speak, how to walk around, obey the rules, be literate. The Buddhist way of life also shows in the donations to achieve merit for the life after death, e.g. to the monastery, for the gilding of a Buddha image, the foundation of an old people’s home, the caretaking of the poor (1/3 of the population live under poverty level) etc. This prevents slums and people living and starving on the streets. This world is connected socially and politically with the one of the monks. Demonstrating monks who demand political rights show a new dimension of monkshood. The chief monks in the villages see to it that outstanding, but poor children get a free education. The monasteries maintain primary schools free of charge for poor children. 90% of the population are literate. The system is pervious and gives a lot of people, especially orphans, protection, education, and security. The monks have contact to the outside world. The government seems to be afraid of the monks, trying after all to place obligations on them. To infringe on the monasteries the government wouldn’t dare because of its survival instinct. Beside these worlds there is the one of the military. It forms a state above the state. It intervenes in the life of the citizens, but doesn’t have a complete control. It has its own system of education, academies, and research institutes. Every applicant for the Military and Civil Service has to give precise information about his family. There is no residents’ registration office, no permanent name, except the name in the horoscope of the newborn child. For fear of student revolts the universities are decentralized. No student, no foreigner is allowed on the university campus, except me. I smiled.

Favourite spots:
Sagaing, Nunnery Zayertheingi, Young Nuns
Sagaing, Nunnery Zayertheingi, Young Nuns
To walk at sunset the old teak bridge U Bein in Amarapura with the monks, the hawkers, the women and children I will not forget, going by horse cart, when the shadows were falling, through the religious landscape of ruins in Bagan, I entered a magic world. Hundreds of golden and white pagodas and stupas testify of bygone times, when kings built them in honour of Buddha. I will remember the world’s biggest book in the Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay, the quiet hours in the old monastery at Salay, and Mt. Popa and the spirits for all ways of life. I walked through the Thidagu monastery in Amarapura, and through the nunnery Zayertheingi in Sagaing, led by a ninety years old, famous nun, to see the simple living and learning conditions of the young monks and nuns, to listen to their plans for the future. I stood with the necessary respect in front of Buddha’s tooth, and the chief monk of the monastery of the diamond princess in Mawlamyine was delighted, because I came, and gave me a present.

What's really great:
Inle Lake, Pauk Par Village (poor)
Inle Lake, Pauk Par Village (poor)
Inle Lake, a world of its own: Villages, pagodas, schools with football fields, a silk- and lotus weaving with a 100 weavers, hotels, stand on stilts in the lake. The harvest was in full swing. The tomatoes were glowing red on the floating gardens. Rice bundles dried on racks in the lake. At the banks the smiths worked. Old, abandoned, dreamlike monasteries as the Takhaung Pagoda are shrouded in silence. Sagar told stories of fire and flooding. But the new time has come by. The well has a generator, and in the pagoda grown-ups and children watched television, for the monks a possibility of a not to underestimate political influence. Accompanied by parents and relatives the little kings travelled to the admission into monastic life as the young girls to the ear piercing ceremony which as the lightening festival of the thirteen years old in Pindaya marks the entrance into adult life. The chief monk of the Indein monastery invited the monks and the people to bring the thanksgiving.

Kyaiktiyo, Golden Rock
Kyaiktiyo, Golden Rock
My tour plan: Yangon: Shwedagon Pagoda, the eighth wonder of the world, Pindaya cave with the thousands of Buddha images, Inle Lake, Mandalay, Mingun, besides the Big Bell and other sights, the Home for the Aged, who like to get tea and sweeties, Amarapura, Sagaing, the centre of Buddhist learning, Pyin U Lwin, the British town, the National Kandawgyi Gardens and the Chinese winery, Bagan, the magic place, Mt. Popa, I didn’t walk up the 777 steps, but looked at it from a distance, Salay, precious with its old wooden monastery, Bago with its wonderful pagoda and the largest reclining Buddha, supported by a plantation of rubber trees, Mawlamyine, the Golden Rock, not to forget Shampoo Island, the place for meditation. This is only a selection. Independent women manage businesses as the silk-, lotus- and cotton weaving places in the Inle Lake, the Mon village, the lacquer ware factory in Amarapura, the bamboo hat, parasol and paper making places in Pindaya.

Inle Lake, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda  Festival, Young Woman
Inle Lake, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival, Young Woman
Summit Parkview

350 Ahlone4 Road, Dagon Township, Yangon, Myanmar

95-1/211 966,

View of the Shwedagon Pagoda

Myanmar Treasure Resort

Khayay Road, Anawratha Quarter, Bagan, Manadalay Division, Myanmar


The best hotel I had on this trip, possibly expensive.

Popa Mountain Resort

Mt. Popa, Kyaulpadoung Township, Mandalay Division, Myanmar


Good Restaurant with the view onto Mt. Popa

Mountain Top Hotel

Adjacent to Foreigners’ Registration Office

Kyaikto Township, Mon State Myanmar


Very good, 5 minutes walk to the Golden Rock

Mandalay City Hotel

26th St between 82nd &83rd St, Chanayetharzan Township, Mandalay


I had a look at it, situated in the midst of town, very quiet, perfectly clean

Inn Mann Myanmar

27th St, between 65th& 66th St, Mandalay, Myanmar


Clean, well situated, § 30 per night, the room I saw, quite dark.

Mandalay, Kuthodaw Pagoda, the biggest Book of the World
Mandalay, Kuthodaw Pagoda, the biggest Book of the World

Hu Pin Hotel

No. 66, Kan Tha Quarter, West of the Bazaar (Boat Stand, Inle Lake), Nyaung Shwe Township, Southern Shan Sate, Union of Myanmar


Very clean, very good restaurant

A little Bit of Mandalay

413/(B), 65th Street, between 17th & 28th Streets, Aungdawmu Quarter, Mandalay


Very good, quiet restaurant

One can’t transfer money. In the country side there are no banks.

The government demands clean banknotes when one wants to view something.

Internet: A Little Bit of Bagan Restaurant, Near Law Office, Thiripyitsaya No (5)Qr, Nyaung Oo (Bagan), Myanmar

95-61 60674,

Internet: 1 hour = $1, electricity is scarce, therefore you have to wait for the connection.

Internet in the hotels is expensive.

Mingun, Home for the Aged, Nurse Thwe Thwe Aye
Mingun, Home for the Aged, Nurse Thwe Thwe Aye

Nurse Thwe Thwe Aye

Home for the Aged, near the Big Bell, Mingun, Myanmar

The nurse depends on donations, especially medicine, see: Lonely Planet, Myanmar

King Galon, Gold Leaf Workshop

No. (143), 26thSt, Bet: 77th & 78th St,

Myet – Parr - Yart, Mandalay, Myanmar

Tel: 02/32135

On the Way to Pindaya, Pa-Oo House
On the Way to Pindaya, Pa-Oo House
Hu Pin Hotel

No. 66, Kan Tha Quarter, West of the Bazaar (Boat Stand, Inle Lake), Nyaung Shwe Township, Southern Shan Sate, Union of Myanmar


Very clean, very good restaurant

A little Bit of Mandalay

413/(B), 65th Street, between 17th & 28th Streets, Aungdawmu Quarter, Mandalay


Very good, quiet restaurant

Other recommendations:
Pindaya Cave, Buddha
Pindaya Cave, Buddha
To add to the Buddhist ethic concept are the rules how to play the game in this country: “Smile and you get what you want.” “If you can’t go straight on, take a detour.” “Don’t attract attention.” “Keep in with the authorities!” „Better don’t work fort the government.“ “Don’t ask a high placed civil servant for help. You don’t know how long he will stay in office.” People learnt to circumvent the government. They shrug their shoulders about their daily conditions of poverty, isolation, and corruption. They don’t tend to aggressive behaviour. They don’t plan for the future. But it is apparent that they have their own way to ventilate their opinion. They become ironic, use a gesture or say directly, what they think. “I never thought that they would kill monks.“ A visitor on Mandalay Hill points at a large, semicircular building, the prison, then on a multi-storeyed, white building just beside it, the university. Comment superfluous.

Published on Wednesday March 3th, 2010

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Thu, Apr 08 2010 - 06:17 PM rating by bootlegga

As Jay Peterman once said, you may know it as Myanmar, but I'll always know it as Burma! ;)

Fantastic report!

Tue, Apr 06 2010 - 06:39 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Another of your obras maestras! Congratulations!

Fri, Mar 12 2010 - 11:40 AM rating by rangutan

A lot of effort and time put into this, we are so lucky to have you at GLOBO. Currently, such an important place to report on, excellent!

Wed, Mar 10 2010 - 07:17 PM rating by el2995

Fantastic report, Christl! With your descriptions, photos and insight, you have really captured the essence of Burma. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip, and were treated to some blue skies while at Inle Lake (unlike us!). I have not made it to Mawlamyine or Pindaya yet, but have seen much of what you have seen, and experience the same sense of magic whenever I travel in Burma. I will be heading back to Burma (5th trip) in the near future and look forward to returning to the Inle area to trek to some Pa-Oo villages in the hills east of the lake (hopefully with better weather) and briefly visit Taunggyi. Thanks again so much for a wonderful report!

Mon, Mar 08 2010 - 12:33 PM rating by krisek

A wonderful report, Christl. Very unusual, insightful with some excellent practical information! Thank you very much for finding time to share your observations with us.

Fri, Mar 05 2010 - 07:17 AM rating by louis

Wonderful report Christl, with great info provided I also liked the part about geopolitical information.

Fri, Mar 05 2010 - 05:53 AM rating by bineba

I really loved your very insightful report. You must of 100's of amazing memories.

Wed, Mar 03 2010 - 05:49 PM rating by mistybleu

An excellent report, it has really provided a great insight to the country. I was told that it is very difficult to get into the country, did you find so?

Wed, Mar 03 2010 - 12:43 PM rating by pesu

Christl, again: Your memoranda about Mynamar are real presents. You have the talent not only to give so many details about the life there but also to arouse a special atmosphere by your words giving us the chance to feel a bit of the described magic. Great pictures, too! Thank you very much. :)

Wed, Mar 03 2010 - 12:06 PM rating by jacko1

An excellent report, full of detail and info, very well compiled! after recently watching a programme on the aftermath of the 2007 tsunami, this paints another picture with no political agenda.

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