On the second day I decided that whilst I was in Mandalay I must see some of the ancient cities of Sagaing, Ava and Amarapura. The most straight forward way to do this was with a guide and a tour.
We were a small group of seven people, which was a good sized group. First step to see a handicraft work shop. The work was mainly sculpture in teak wood and bronze, weaving and a specialism in marionettes. The sculptures were extremely good, so much so I went back the next day for a small purchase!!
Next stop PagPathodagyioda the largest bell-shaped pagoda, 185ft, erected in 1820. We soon moved onto Mahar Gandaryone monastery in Amarapura near to the famous U been teak bridge.
The institute is one of the largest teaching monsters in Myanmar, with up to 3.000 monks and novice monks. Founded in 1914 it became know as a centre for monastic study. At 11.00am you can watch the monks line up for their daily meal and receives offerings. An amazing sight enjoyed by many tourists, too many in fact!.
Next stop was a trek to the top of Sagaing hill to visit Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda with its fantastic view of sagaing and neighbouring Pagodas running along the hillside. One of the oldest temples, built in 1312 by minister Pon Nya. On the way to Sagaing hill we stopped off at a school for young monks and nuns. I’m so please we stopped here, the children are so natural in front of the camera, the young monks wore their burnt red robes and the nuns were dressed beautifully in pink and white.
It was a busy day, before we knew it lunch was finished and we were hurtling off to Bargaya monastery, located in Inwa and built on the south west of Incas palace. This teak wood monastarey was built in 1593. The building was reconstructed in 1992 after being severely damaged by a fire. Its is home to some lovely wood carvings.
One last visit to Mahar Aung Mye Bon San monastery, we called into a local village close to Hsin Gyon fort to see some silk weaving and village way of life.
And that the day was almost complete the only place left to visit was the U Bein teak bridge running for a 1.2km stretch and an opportunity for another sun set picture!, which are worked into all sight seeing in Myanmar, but yes they are beautiful….A packed and very enjoyable day.