- Day 1 – Yangon’s Circular Railway
- Day 2 – Touring Yangon
- Day 3 – On the Irrawaddy River – Bhamo & the 2nd Defile
- Day 4 – Kyun Daw & Katha
- Day 5 – Katha & Tigyang
- Day 6 – Kya Hnyat & Kottet Orphanage
- Day 7 – Kyauk Myaung
- Day 8 – Mingun & the U-Bein Bridge
- Day 9 – Mandalay
- Day 10 – Sagaing
- Day 11 – Shwe Pyi Thar & a Puppet Show
- Day 12 – Magical Bagan
- Day 13 & 14 – Back in Yangon
- Heading home – a layover trip to the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu
Up early again for sunrise. Every morning they’d see me out there and without my asking would bring me a ginger tea. One morning I was up top and they still found me! Amazing service.
At first light, we set sail for the small village of Shwe Pyi Thar.
Some scenes from the riverbank…
We arrived in Shwe Pyi Thar and once again our arrival interrupted the ladies doing their laundry. I’m going to print this picture and hang it in my laundry room as a reminder that, as much as I hate doing laundry, it’s just not that bad.
I love these big trees at the river’s edge…
The village of Shwe Pyi Thar is known for it’s palm candy, which is made from the sap of the tall toddy (Asian Palmyra) palm. The first step is to collect the sap by climbing the tree on a ladder made of bamboo.
It’s a long way up, these palm trees can reach a height of just under 100 feet.
Once at the top, the bucket placed there the night before is removed, a new “branch” is cut and an empty pot to collect the sap is hung.
He’d done this before!
This pig wasn’t bothered by any of it…
This village was very small and it felt like we were far away from civilization once again.
This little one wasn’t sure what to make of us…
These are the pots that the sap is cooked in…
The fire is build inside this fire pit and the pots are placed over the holes. Once the liquid thickens it’s cooled and formed by hand into small pieces of palm candy. It’s very sweet and a the texture is reminiscent of maple candy.
As always, we were being “watched” by the locals…
These ladies were making their loan payments to the “banker”. A lot of cash sitting around, again, you wouldn’t see that at home.
This is the game of carrom. The object of the game is to sink all 9 of your disks followed by the red one (the queen). The larger white disk acts as the cue ball (the striker); instead of a cue the finger is used to hit the striker. Looks like this game was almost over…
It was a continual surprise to me that some of these boats actually float…
Back on the river, we passed under the Pakokku Bridge. Opened in January 2012 the 3.4km long bridge is the longest over the Irrawaddy and in Myanmar. This rail and road bridge is part of the 1360 km long India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway which will ultimately connect the three countries by road.
Late in the afternoon we were approaching our final destination of Bagan. The 50 square km “Bagan Archaeological Zone” contains remnants of around 2,000 monasteries, stupas, temples and shrines, most of which date back to the 11th to 13th centuries when Bagan was the capital of Burma.
These tour boats were heading out on the river to watch the sunset.
This lot were all being taken out from the Scenic Aura. In the background you can see one of Bagan’s largest temples, the Gawdawpalin Temple, which was built from 1138 to 1211.
These next two pictures demonstrate the tenacity of the Burmese people. As he was lifting the full pails of water, the bamboo pole snapped in half.
Less than 2 minutes later, a new piece of bamboo was found and put into use, and he was on his way…
We didn’t need to leave our boat to go out to see the sunset. We had a pretty good view of it from our top deck.
After the sunset, the sky took on a beautiful colour with a few clouds for added effect.
After dinner we were treated to a traditional puppet show. The Burmese marionettes are complex, with many strings, and each is controlled by one puppeteer.
These 2 ladies were our puppeteers and this gives you an idea of the size of the puppets. They’re made from solid wood weigh up to 10 pounds! Just look at the forearm of the lady in blue!
And after the show, a backstage shot of the marionettes just hanging around…