So we flew to Myanmar yesterday, epitomising the efficient backpacker as we saved both time and money in deciding to do so.
The airport was 45km outside of Mandalay, and so as we came in to land, our first impression was ‘god this looks more like Africa’, which is strange as neither of us have ever been to Africa. Anyhow, after taking out 250,000 Kyat and feeling baller, we grabbed a cab into Mandalay to find a place to stay. The roads into the main city were wide and open, and so stimulated us to flirt with the idea of motorbikes….don’t worry mum and dad, it was nothing more than a flirtation.
Mandalay at first sight is not a hugely attractive city, low-rise, dilapidated and hugely busy, it felt like India. We found a place to stay, which we later realised had a Burmese equivalent of the ‘star movies’ channel that kept us alive on previous trips…..in the money. Heading out for a bite of lunch, we sampled the local beer ‘Myanmar’, and had some pretty decent food that was great value.
The guidebook wasn’t too enthusiastic about Mandalay and so we figured we’d give ourselves another whole day before moving on to Bagan by bus on the evening of the 23rd. If you haven’t heard of Bagan, google it.
We spent the rest of the evening walking along the south wall of the grand palace, which was pretty impressive at 2km long. After attending a happy hour that wasn’t particularly happy; Mandalay not being as cheap as expected, we sought out a local Burmese restaurant. We got there, felt full, didn’t like the look of it and thought it too pricey, but in usual Tiernan and Joe fashion, we just said yes.
We ended the evening feeling bloated, while watching a Jason Stratham film on a TV virtually on the ceiling.