Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Road to Mandalay (part 3)

Let me continue here.....

So after lunch, we will start our excursion tour to the Mandalay city.   First, we need to take a small boat that will take us to the shore where the van has been waiting for us.  It is quite challenging for some of us, as the boat is really small wooden boat and we need to "jump" into it.

Here is the picture of the boat that takes us off-shore.   The process is quite challenging for transferring the passengers from/to the main boat to small boat.  It is quite a labor intensive activities.  Kudos to the crews that make this happen.

When we arrive on the shore, we have to walk on the wooden plank and you can notice the staffs purposely holding a pole for us to hold on it while we are walking on the plank.

Through out the journey, you can see the local make use of the river to do their daily bathing and washing.

Our first stop is the Golden Monastery (Shwenandaw Monastery) which is located nearby the State Paritatti Sasana University (Mandalay) which I found has a very beautiful main gate.

You can read the details in the link I put above.  This Monastery has been around for hundreds years and it was built on Teakwood.  It is very magnificent building with very great details of the crafting.  Through out the journey, it shows that Teakwood is really use to build buildings as there are abundant of Teakwood in Myanmar.

From Golden Monastery, we then visit Kuthodaw Pagoda where you can find the world's largest book.  Each page of the book is crafted in the stone and each page is hosted in a small pagoda.  So there you go, the largest book in the world.  I was told that the monk needs to study each page every day.  Not really sure how long it will take the monk to complete the study.

Here is the page of the book

And this is where the page of the book is being stored inside a pagoda

And this is the whole complex of the books look like

And some views in the Pagoda compound

From this place, we make a short stop in the Golden Leaf factory to see the process on how the golden leaf is made.  They are still using manual labor to do it, which is very labor intensive and I am not really sure how much the workers are being paid for this hard works.  Here are some pictures you can see and I found this interesting youtube to clearly show the real process.

From the factory, we visited the Mahamuni Buddha Temple, which is considered 1 out of 3 most holiest place that must visit by the Myanmarese.  The other 2 are Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and Golden Rock Pagoda in  Kyaito, which you can read in my other post.


So the final stop for the day before we go back to the boat is U Bein Bridge, which is the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world.  We supposed to see a sunset on the bridge.  However, the weather was not so kind to us, as it was cloudy and we cannot see the sunset.  There are many restaurant and people selling souvenir around the bridge as this is one of the tourist destination.   Interestingly, the restaurant seems to be submerged under water if there is a tight.

So we went back to the boat which is docking at the station for a night.  After dinner, a local folk dance was performed.  If I remember correctly the story was about the Ramayana epic.  Beautiful and colorful dance.

This conclude the first day of the trip.