The ‘new’ road to Mandalay Part 1

The ‘new’ road to Mandalay  Part 1

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 . . .

“Rudyard Kipling”

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….


Share This

About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more then fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on

View all articles by Thomas Gennaro