FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Reflections from Mandalay

Posted in Mandalay, Myanmar by folkestonejack on November 12, 2017

After our relatively short stay in Myanmar it was time to head home on a routing via Bangkok and Abu Dhabi that involved three changes of plane – starting with a short flight on Bangkok Airways into Bangkok. The contrast between the relatively deserted Mandalay International Airport and the perpetually busy Suvarnabhumi Airport was quite something! A couple of hours in the lounge gave me plenty of time to relax and reflect on our trip.

Our Bangkok Airways Airbus A320 arrives at Mandalay International Airport

I was pleased to have been able to get to see Bagan and Mingun on this visit, the places I most wanted to check out after getting my first taste of Myanmar in January. I haven’t exhausted the long list of places that look interesting (including big sights such as Inle Lake, Mrauk U and Pindaya Caves) but I’m more than satisfied with what I’ve seen on my two trips to the country.

On this trip I saw a different side to life in Myanmar than on my first trip, which was mostly off the tourist trail. Visiting the most touristy places in the country, such as Bagan and Mingun, I saw just how much the local economy has become heavily dependent on this trade. That applies to everyone from the ox cart drivers on the shore to the small stallholders selling cold drinks on the street.

Once again I was overwhelmed by the warm welcome wherever we went and the many kind folk that we met along the way, including helpful taxi drivers, generous monks and cheeky street sellers. I hope that charm is not lost as the tourist industry develops here as it makes a refreshing change from other places that I have been.

Arriving at Bangkok

For us the adventure was almost over. Thankfully, our trip home was pretty uneventful and we reached London a little earlier than expected. The only minor blip came when we discovered that we should have visited a transfer counter at Bangkok so that the ground staff could confirm the transfer of our baggage to the second of the three flights (even though our baggage had been checked all the way through to London at Mandalay). In the end they held us at the gate whilst they checked this.

Although we live in London it still took us a good three hours to make the trek from the door of the plane to our front door, but not long afterwards we were back out and heading round to join the family for a traditional Sunday roast!

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