In 1981, I flew from Bangkok to Rangoon on Biman Bangladeshi Airlines. In May, we flew Air Asia from Bangkok to Mandalay.
The first time, only one week visas were issued. I just stayed in Rangoon as it took a lot of hard travel to make Mandalay and back in a week. This time we spent three weeks working our way south by bus. After Mandalay, we explored the temple city of Bagan and then to Yangon (current name of Rangoon). It is hard to know whether Myanmar or Burma is the more politically correct.
There are way, way too many photos for me to post. I started this post with about thirty but finally reduced to some significant experiences.
Kipling’s poem, Mandalay, is neither about Mandalay nor the road, but even today I think it captures an old soldier’s nostalgia for youth and adventure. We stayed just across from the fortress. The Kuthodaw Pagoda complex on the East side has a shrine for each tablet of the Tripitaka Buddhist Scriptures. We walked over to the Irrawaddy river, the principal river of Myanmar.
Some two thousand temples standing of the original twenty thousand. After several earthquakes, access to the upper levels has been prohibited. We still found many inspiring panoramas and interesting artefacts.
We spent an entire afternoon at the Shwe Dagon Temple complex, avoiding thunderstorms and watching both tourists and locals. Compared to 35 years ago, it is much better organized, cleaner, and worthwhile spending extra time to see the exhibits. Another day, we spent four hours riding around the city on the local circular commuter train, seeing both countryside and the hectic pace of city markets. Finally, we wandered along the lake at Inya park coming to the house where Aung San Suu Kyi was kept under house arrest for many years.