No! you won’t ‘eed nothin’ else
But them spicy garlic smells,
An’ the sunshine an’ the palm-trees an’ the tinkly temple-bells;
On the road to Mandalay . . .
Burma, Birmanie, Myanmar. The country conjures up serene cultural and tropical images on the traveler’s mind. My memories floated to the past for days, after a friend from Bali proposed a short trip thanks to Airasia Airline new route: Kuala Lumpur to Mandalay.
Myanmar is often on the news nowadays. Its once totalitarian regime opening up to the world has given way to unprecedented growth fuelled by both International investments and the arrival in flocks of tourists.
Mandalay in itself reminded me of the many times I have tried to imagine it as a romantic place, before I realized that Kipling never visited Mandalay, that the poem was about the nostalgia and longing of the British Empire for Asia’s exoticism, and finally that the place at the time was not romantic at all but rather small, dirty and dusty.
Located on the banks of the mighty Ayeyarwady River, Mandalay, a town of 800,000 inhabitants, the country’s second city in size after Yangoon, and the capital of the last independent Burmese kingdom, is indeed one of the main travel destinations of Myanmar. Mandalay is renowned for a rich history despite being only 150 years old in a country of a thousand years old towns, and is undeniably the cultural center of Myanmar. Attractions include stunning sunset views from Mandalay Hill, traditional music performances, skilled craftsmanship, and incredible out-of-town destinations.
I felt I had enough information for my short Burmese adventure in Mandalay….
PART 2 FOLLOWS…