Up Ayeyarwady River to Mingun

A perfect day trip from Mandalay! You get out on the water for an hour, before you explore the small village of Mingun and the many sights it has to offer. If you go on the government boat, you’ll have 2.5 hours to walk around (returned at 12.30pm), which I found to be enough. When you leave for the ticket office at the pier in Mandalay, remember to bring your passport! Just pure luck I had mine with me. The dock is filled with boats, so we had to walk planks from one boat to another to get to the right boat. Onboard there are chairs placed out on the top deck, which provides a nice, airy ride. You can sit down below too, but I imagine it will be hot and not much fresh air. It might not be the most to see up this part of the Ayeyarwady River, but it was nice to be out on the “sea”. When we arrived at Mingun we were met by locals. This boy ended up attaching himself to me on the short walk from where the boat docked to the village centre. After a while I realized I wasn’t going to be able to shake him, so I just gave in, and he became my guide for the day. It was pretty convenient as I didn’t have to figure out myself where to go, as the area kind of needs exploring, since there are a lot of things here and there, sort of. My two favorites were Mingun Pagoda and Hsinbyume Pagoda. Mingun Pagoda is not much to look at as it was never finished. What’s fun is to climb the thing. My guide told me the tourists are only allowed to go as far as the steps go, but once at the end we ended up climbing the rest, which meant crossing a fairly big, deep crack, where my concern was more about how to get back down… The views from top of the pagoda are worth it though. Hsinbyume Pagoda is just a striking white beauty! There is an entrance fee to be paid upon arrival. Everybody that came on the boat with me (all foreigners) looked just as bewildered as me when we were asked to pay for tickets – so not just me who hadn’t read the small print 🙂

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