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1st day: Yangon
Notice: This item was based on our 9-day Myanmar Highlights itinerary. Myanmar was almost as impervious as North Korea and the country was a ruin. Here is one way to satisfy Myanmar in just seven working nights. Noisy Buddhist prayers by speeches outside a crescendo.
I' d dare anyone to be dull with Yangon. If you want to enjoy an unspoilt panorama of the town, we recommend taking the Kreiszug, a kind of above-ground subway. Walking the inner cities of Yangon is a nice way to start your journey, but if you want to see a place, visit the maze of Bogyoke markets and finish your souvenirs early.
Early at night you drive to the Botataung Jetty and see the Botataung Cave. Walk a few hundred metres along the waterside to the Vintage Luxury Yacht Hôtel and enjoy a cool Myanmar beer. The 99-metre high golden silhouette will be difficult to miss, no mater where you put it, but Yangon is still a town without a skyscraper.
You will see your eye turning out of the golden and you will get a feel for the spirit of the Myanmarpeans. On your second afternoons you can either go to the Vista Bar near the pagoda and watch the sun set from its chilly roof. Or if you are in the spirit of adventures, go to the railway and get a night trains to Mandalay.
But when the light is fading, the verdant squares become darkness, the peasants approach their cabins and the gold glint of the coupons flashes on the sash. Established in 1857, Mandalay is almost transient in comparison to the declining colorful size of Yangon. The Mandalay Palace, the home of the last two Myanmar royalty, is what makes the town so special.
One of the thorns in the eye of Myanmar's former army dictatorships were the entertainers U Par Par Par Lay and U Lu Maw, a favourite of Aung San Su Kyi and other National League for Democracy campaigners. In the north-east of Mandalay there is the mound that gives the town its name. Take a cab to the camp and go up to enjoy breathtaking vistas of the old ramparts, the Irrawaddy and its hilly surroundings with marshes and holy places.
On top is of course another pitot. Take off your boots, buy your admission and breathe in the view from the patio while sharing your personal history with one of the friars approaching the tourist to practise their English. At night we go back to the town and for supper to the Daung Lan Gyi Dining House.
There are great happenings and a wonderful view of the Mandalay Hill and the Mandalay Hill from their roofbars. While in Southeast Asia, you could call it the Angkor Wat of Myanmar. More than 2000 coup és - some small, some broken, others enormous and perfectly renovated -- are spread over a vast expanse that was once the old Pagan Empire.
In contrast to strictly regulated Angkor, the playgrounds here are the playgrounds of the Pagoda. Probably the trip from Mandalay has taken you most of the time and you feel a little upset. Awaken before sunrise, rent a motorcycle - there are stalls all over town open at this time of the night and waiting for you - and make your way to one of the many matching pages for the night.
I' ve chosen the Shwesandaw Puagoda, it's easy to climb and usually not too overcrowded. There' s competitive views about which is the ideal coupé, but what counts is that you're there. It is dawning, and old cougars are rising from the dark. If you see a spaghetti, stop and take a look inside - just think about taking off your sneakers!
Sunset Garden Riverside Restuarant has beautiful vistas and good dining, but be aware that the price will be higher than you are used to in Yangon or Mandalay. Soak up the time and say goodbye to the last days of the year. Drink your last Myanmar beer and think about what must have been one of the most intensive and prominent winters of your time.
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