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Burma

Mount Popa and its magic

Mount Popa and its magic

I was not so impressed by this site, actually I find quite annoying climb the steps without shoes among macaque monkey excrement all over. The view is amazing but the place itself was not that much for me, definitely I do not consider it a “must see” of Myanmar.

Mt. Popa geologically is a volcano composed of basalt and basaltic andesite lava flows, along with pyroclastic deposits.

A Buddhist monastery is located at the summit of the mountain and Buddhist hermit maintained the stairway of 777 steps to the summit.

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Bagan and the huge plain of pagodas

Bagan and the huge plain of pagodas

Bagan, called at that time Pagan, is an ancient city of Myanmar located in the region of Mandalay. It was the capital of several ancient Burmese kingdoms and is located in the dry central plain, on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, 140 kilometers southwest of Mandalay.

Once in Bagan there are only bicycles or horse-drawn carts to get around and visit the hundreds of pagodas, the choice is yours. Personally I have used both options, and both are wonderful experiences, but the really spectacular thing in Myanmar former Burma, Bagan, probably the best of the whole trip, 2011, was my first sunset seen from the Pagoda Shwesandaw.

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On the Irrawaddy river

On the Irrawaddy river

My travel along the mighty Irrawaddy river, on my way to Myanmar former Burma, Bagan, started at five in the morning. I spent on a slow boat all day and got definitely time to catch some interesting photos of people and life along the river.

I was in Bagan at nine in the evening, more than 15 hours on the river stopping by on every village between Mandalay and Bagan.

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Amarapura and U Bein bridge, the long teak bridge

Amarapura and U Bein bridge, the long teak bridge

Myanmar former Burma, Mandalay, if possible, is worst then Yangon, more crowded, more polluted, more chaotic, full of noisy motorbikes and honking cars. Of course nice golden pagodas are all over like everywhere in Myanmar. Outside the city instead the countryside is really beautiful. The motorbike ride to visit surroundings of Mandalay in Amarapura, U Bein Bridge and the nearby monastery was exceptional.

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Mingun and the huge pagoda

Mingun and the huge pagoda

Mingun is an ancient town located 11 km from Mandalay along Irrawaddy river west bank. I arrived at the end of the day in Mingun, after a ride all over Mandalay surroundings.

I was just in time to get some great shot with my camera before sunset, I was so excited to see the huge ruin of the largest stupa in the world. Definitely one of the best day in Myanmar.

I have not seen yet Bagan at that time but Mingun is definitely in the top list of Myanmar sites to visit.

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Mandalay the ancient royal capital

Mandalay the ancient royal capital

I arrived in Mandalay after a 10 hours bus night ride from Myanmar former Burma, Inle lake, despite it was just 5 in the morning the bus station was crowded.

The main first notable difference from Yangon was the thousands of motorbike all around horning and beeping all the time coming in every direction. The city is a complete polluted chaotic mess that only Burmese can manage.

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Inle lake and its life

Inle lake and its life

Inle lake is located near Nyaungshwe and Taunggyi area in Shan State of Myanmar.

I spent a few days to decide if the long bus ride from Yangon to Inle lake was a good idea. Despite being one of the best attractions in Myanmar roads are quite bad, we’re talking over 13 hours of night bus.

Once there I quickly realized that the trip was worth it, the place is truly amazing, unique, and I’m not just thinking about the landscape but also of culture, people and traditional crafts.

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Bago the old

Bago the old

I arrived in Bago, the former capital of Burma, during a daily trip by taxi from Yangon. I expected to find out in Bago ancient ruins, but nothing was so far from reality and made me think a lot of Burmese and their attitude, the way to restore and repaint all the religious structures and statues. It does not matter if an ancient statue of Buddha is more than 1000 years old, it must be white and clean, it’s a matter of respect.

So, beside the chaotic intersection of two main roads and the bustling market town, it was very interesting to wander through temples thousands of years old, yet shiny and covered with fresh paint.

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Yangon

Yangon

With a population of over four million people Yangon is the largest city and the most important center in Burma.

Yangon also known as Rangoon, is the former capital of Burma, and does not matter if officially the military government since March 2006 has relocated the administrative capital to Naypyidaw, 322 km north of Yangon.

In 2010 a U.S. State Department estimate the Yangon population at 5.5 million, despite of this Yangon’s infrastructures are really undeveloped compared with other similar cities in Asia.

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