Friday, 16 January 2015


Our time in Bagan was up though and sadly we were on a bus heading to Mandalay at midday, the tickets were $9 each and the journey took around 5 maybe 6 hours. The guy at Pyinsa Rupa had told us that the bus stops near the Garden Hotel and that’s where we ended up staying. It wasn’t too bad for $22, it had fridge, wifi, hot water, free breakfast and an ENGLISH MOVIE CHANNEL!! 

First night’s dinner was just up the road at Mann Restaurant, pretty good food and great value, they also stock assorted snacks, cigarettes, water, beer, rum etc. 

Mandalay didn’t hold a huge amount of interest for me, I like to look at old temples, but newly built ones aren’t really my thing, plus a city is generally a city.  Throw in expensive taxi fares and we didn’t really have much planned for Mandalay, just a bit of relaxation and catching up on internet!

There were a couple of things we did want to see though and the next afternoon we took a boat ride up river to Mingun, a small village on the other bank that is home to the Pantodawgyi Pagoda and the world’s largest intact bronze bell. Boat tickets were $9 each and we were the only people on board. 

“Now more of a riverside village than a bustling capital city, it is best known for Mingun Pantodawgyi - the largest pagoda in the world that never was. 

Also called the world's largest pile of bricks, Mingun Patodawgyi ( Mantara Gyi Pagoda) was commissioned by King Bodawpaya in 1790 with the intention of putting himself on the international map for having the world's holiest karma. Only a third of the pagoda was completed by thousands of prisoners of war before a prophecy halted the controversial construction, stating that with the completion of the pagoda would come the destruction of the country. 

The ambitions of the king died with him in 1819, and the 1839 earthquake's damage to the foundation only helped to annihilate any possibility it might ever be completed. Still, the 50 metre high ruins serve as an attraction and a small shrine is still used as a place for worship. 

What King Bodawpaya did complete in 1808, is the word's largest intact (no-crack) bell. close to 4 metres tall and 5 metres across, the bronze-caste Mingun Bell weighs a whopping 90 tonnes. Local lore tells of the appreciative king ordering the execution of the master craftsman in charge, so that nothing similar would ever be made and thus solidifying his supremely-holy royal karma.” 

Quote taken from

Aside from the main attractions, just wandering around the village streets was enjoyable, despite all the market stalls. The pagoda itself was awe inspiring I thought, a simply massive structure that once again seemed to have served no real purpose, the bell was less impressive but still worth a look. It was a great way to spend the afternoon and we watched the sunset from the boat as we made our way back to town. 

This night we hit Lashio Lay Restaurant, only a short stroll from our hotel and a fantastic culinary experience, with a huge array of local dishes already cooked and waiting for you to choose from at dirt cheap pricing. Some of the best food I’ve had in Asia, we went back again the next day for lunch and now are regretting not staying longer to eat there some more! Don’t miss it when in Mandalay.


Taxi anyone...?!

The spread at Lashio Lay