Sunday, August 16, 2009


Inle Lake

A wonderful watery world of floating gardens, stilted villages and crumbling stupas, Inle Lake is an absolute must. Mountains tumble down towards the lakeshore, blurring the distinction between heaven and earth. For many travellers, Inle is heaven on earth, a place to while away the days canoeing, cycling and walking through the lush countryside. The Intha people are famous for their leg rowing, although these days many just turn it on for the tourists. There is even a monastery where meditating monks have taught the cats to jump – that’s enlightenment for you. Inle deserves to be savoured, not rushed, and many travellers end up staying for longer than they expected.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Kuthodaw Pagoda

literally Royal Merit, and formally titled Mahalawka Marazein is a Buddhist stupa, located in Mandalay, Burma (Myanmar), that contains the world's largest book. It lies at the foot of Mandalay Hill and was built during the reign of King Mindon. The stupa itself, which is gilded above its terraces, is 188 feet (57 m) high, and is modelled after the Shwezigon Pagoda at Nyaung-U near Bagan. In the grounds of the pagoda are 729 kyauksa gu or stone-inscription caves, each containing a marble slab inscribed on both sides with a page of text from the Tipitaka, the entire Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism.

Royal merit

Mindon Min had the pagoda built as part of the traditional foundations of the new royal city of Mandalay in 1857. He was later to convene the Fifth Buddhist Synod in 1871, but wanted to leave a great work of merit by having the Tipitaka set in stone for posterity, meant to last five millennia after the Buddha. Construction began in 1860, its hti (umbrella or crown) mounted on 19 July 1862, and the inscriptions were laid open to the public on 4 May 1868. They were arranged in neat rows within three enclosures, 42 in the first, 168 in the middle and 519 in the third. One more stands at the southeast corner of the first enclosure making it 730, and this stone records how it all came into being. Thirty four brick zayats (rest houses) stood all around except on the east side of the pagoda.

A late Konbaung period frieze at the southern approach

The main entrance is from the south through massive but open teak doors ornately carved with floral designs, scrolls, and Deva Nats. It is a covered approach or saungdan as in most Burmese pagodas with frieze paintings under the roof. Between the rows of stone-inscription stupas grow mature star flower trees (Mimusops elengi) that emanate a jasmine-like fragrance to the entire complex. Burmese families may be seen having a picnic in the cool shade under these trees, picking the flowers to make star flower chains for the Buddha or to wear in their hair, or the children playing hide and seek among the rows of stupas. On the southwest inner terrace is one very old tree believed to be 250 years old, its low spreading boughs propped up by supports.

Annexation and desecration

One of the stone inscriptions, originally in gold letters and borders, at Kuthodaw

After the annexation of Mandalay by the British in 1885, the walled city with Mandalay Palace became Fort Dufferin, and troops were billeted all around Mandalay Hill in the monasteries, temples and pagodas. They became off-limits to the public and Burmese were no longer allowed to visit their religious sites. One revenue surveyor called U Aung Ban then came up with the idea of appealing direct to Queen Victoria since she had promised to respect all religions practised by her subjects. To their amazement and great joy the British queen promptly ordered the withdrawal of all her troops from religious precincts in 1890. This however turned to great sadness when they found that the pagoda had been looted from the hti, left lying on the ground stripped of its bells, gold, silver, diamonds, rubies and other precious stones, down to the Italian marble tiles from its terraces. The zayats lay in utter ruin and the bricks had been used to build a road for the troops. All the brass bells from all the kyauksa gu stupas were gone, 9 on each making it 6570 in total. The gold ink from the letters as well as the sides and top of each marble slab had also disappeared. All the biloos along the corridors had lost their heads, and the marble eyes and claws from the masonry chinthes gone.

Saturday, July 25, 2009



Naypyidaw also spelled Nay Pyi Taw; pronounced [nèpjìdɔ̀]) is the capital of Burma. Nay pyi daw means "Great City of the Sun", but is also translated as "abode of kings". On 6 November 2005, the administrative capital of Burma was officially moved to a greenfield site 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Pyinmana, and approximately 200 miles (320 km) north of Yangon. The capital's official name was announced on 27 March 2006, Burmese Armed Forces Day.

During World War II, Pyinmana was the base of the Burma Independence Army (later renamed and reorganized into the Burma Defence Army by the Japanese). It was in Pyinmana that the army and its officers were trained. Later the Burma National Army changed sides, aiding the Allies with guerrilla warfare, and the operations were seen as a victory by the Burmese. Pyinmana became an icon in the Burmese Army where it was seen as the place where 'superior invaders' were defeated by the Burmese.

Naypyidaw itself has a short history, having been founded in late 2005. The military government began moving government ministries from Yangon to Naypyidaw on 6 November 2005 at the astrologically auspicious time of 6:37 a.m.[5] Five days later, on 11 November at 11 a.m., a second convoy of 1,100 military trucks carrying 11 military battalions and 11 government ministries left Yangon. The ministries were expected to be mostly in place by the end of February 2006; however, the hasty move led to a lack of schools and other amenities which separated the government employees from their families for the time being. Military headquarters were located in a separate compound from the government ministries, and civilians have been banned from entering either. Vendors are restricted to a commercial zone near the government offices. For official works, officers use "NPT" as a synonym.

Naypyidaw is more centrally, and strategically, located than the old capital Yangon. It is also a transportation hub located adjacent to the Shan, Kayah and Karen states. It was felt that a stronger military and governmental presence nearby might provide stability to those chronically turbulent regions.[citation needed] The official explanation for moving the capital was that Yangon had become too congested and crowded with little room for future expansion of government offices.

However, this explanation seems illogical and unreasonable to most of Myanmar (aka Myanmar people). The moving of the capital has rather been considered a tricky political tactic by the government, possibly also a superstitious move as predicted by some monk. The move is also considered as one of the worst urban planning projects of the century. Indian journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, who visited Naypyidaw in January 2007, described the vastness of the new capital as "the ultimate insurance against regime change, a masterpiece of urban planning designed to defeat any putative ‘colour revolution’ – not by tanks and water cannons, but by geometry and cartography".

On 27 March 2006, more than 12,000 troops marched in the new capital in its first public event: a massive military parade to mark Armed Forces Day—which is the anniversary of Burma's 1945 uprising against Japanese occupation. Filming was restricted to the concrete parade ground which contains three enormous sculptures—depictions of the Burmese kings Anawrahta, Bayinnaung and Alaungpaya who are considered the three most important kings in Burmese history. The city was officially named Naypyidaw during the ceremonies.[

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Myanmar Currency

The currency of burma is called Kyat. The currency is somehow volatile. Jumping up and down in rather big steps, changing the value within 1 week for 10% and more is not seldom. The Myanmar currency is not convertible and problem prone anyway.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Andaman sea

There is a archipelago in the Andaman Sea - in the eastern part of the Indian Ocean- with about 800 pristine islands, beaches, jungle, lush tropical vegetation inhabited by sea - gipsy turned into fisherman, pearl diver and amber collector. A similar situation with islands in the archipelago in Thailand is at Trang Archipelago, Surin Islands and Tarutao Islands.

It's the territory of the Salon or Sea Gypsies. What has happened amongst these islands since men first came to live and move amongst them, there is no record, and there never will be any now. Here and there only the curtain of the unknown is lifted for a passing moment. Their main, and it would seem their earliest, human interest centre in the colony of the Salon, which has made of these islands its last refuge.

To enjoy this adventure trip in real time you have to book a scuba diving live aboard trip at Phuket Thailand.

When or whence they came to the Andaman Sea, one can only guess ; and whether they had any human predecessors it is difficult even to conjecture.

But it is probable that they are an extremely ancient people,

kindred of that aboriginal stock which peopled the mainland before the advent of the Htai. The main body of these aborigines drifted away under the pressure of the Htai to the south, there to develop into the Malay race. A

fragment of them retreated to the shelter of the islands further down like Phuket island in Thailand ; others cut off from civilizing influences, they have made no progress, and too weak to face their adversaries, they have developed the nomadic life, the habit of few possessions, of flight at the sight of a stranger.

The attrition of time and the cruelty of man have worn away the race to its present proportions. It has too long bowed down its head, too long ceased to make any effort after greater things to have any future before it. The Malay who is of kin will acknowledge no relationship, and in times that are past he has been its most cruel oppressor. Myanmar or Burma and Malaysia have a long time common history from the colonial area, very close was the relation between Myanmar islands and Penang island in Malaysia.

The fire of Islam, which has molten the Malay into a people, has never warmed the aboriginal Salon. A great gulf of time must therefore separate them and these islands must have known the Salon for far more than a thousand years. Also the
Phi Phi islands in neighboring Thailand have a big sea gypsies community, in Thailand they call them Moken.

ISLAND VILLAGE THE MERGUI - MYEIK ARCHIPELAGO  MYANMAR BURMAAlmost the first account of the archipelago, written by a European traveler, is that of Caesar Frederick the Venetian. It has all the charm and interest of early travel ; and is best told in the language of his time.

" From the port of Pechinco," he says, " I went to Cochin, and from Cochin to Malaca, whence I departed for Pegu - Bago eight hundred miles distant, that voyage was to be made in twenty five or thirty days, but we were for months, and at the end of three months our Ship was without victual’s. The Pilot told us that wee were by his altitude from a city called Tenassiry - Tenasserim, a city in the Kingdome of Pegu - Bago, -today its around Ranong- and these his words were not true, but we were (as it were) in the middle of many Islands, and many uninhabited rocks, and there were also some Portuguese that affirmed that they knew the land. I say being amongst these rocks, and from the land which is over against Tenassary - Tenasserim, with great scarcities of victual’s, and that by the saying of the pylate and two Portugalles holding them firm that we were in front of the aforesaid harbor, we determined to go thither with our boat and
Islands Salon Sea Gypsy Lving on the Boat MyanmarIslands Salon Sea Gypsy Living on the Boat Myanmar movingfetch victual’s, and that the ship should stay for us in a place assigned ; we were twenty and eight persons in the boat that went for victual’s, and on a day about twelve of the clock we went from the Ship, assuring ourselves to be in the harbor before night in the afore said port ; wee rowed all that day, and a .

great part of the next night, and all the next day without finding harbor, or any sign of good landing, and this came to pass through the evil counsel of the two Portuguese that were with us

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Ayeyarwady River

The Ayeyarwady River or Irrawaddy River is a river that flows from north to south of Burma (Myanmar). It is the country's largest river (about 1350 miles or 2170 km long) and its most important commercial waterway, with a drainage area of about 158,700 square miles (411,000 km²).


The Myanmarese name of Ayeyarwady (formerly transliterated as Irrawaddy) is derived from the ancient name of the river Ravi, Airavati, in the Punjab region, but through it's Pali, rather than its Sanskrit form. Airavati in turn is the name of the elephant mount of Indra, a minor Indian goddess. Elephants were in Indian mythology often a symbol for water

When transliterated literally from Myanmar spelling, the modern rivername comes down to Erawati. Due to the spreading of Buddhism in South-East Asia, some names in Myanmar, and to a lesser extent in other South-East Asian countries, are adaptations of Indian place names associated with Buddhism, e.g. Myawaddy (originated from Amaravati), Dvaravati, Ayuthia (originated from Ayoddhya or Ayujjha), Cambodia (originated from Kamboja). Erawati also belongs to this category, as it is also the ancient name of the river Ravi in Punjab". The ancient name was Airavati, in Sanskrit meaning

  1. ira -any drinkable fluid; a draught (especially of milk),...food, refreshment, ..vat...granting drink or refreshment,...name of a river in Panjab now called Ravi..
  2. Airavata (fr.ira-vat), a descendant of Ira-vat;....,N. of Indra’s elephant...(i) the female of Indra’s elephant; N. of a river,...;lightning...."

This is incompatible with Erawati, as it does not start with the vowel e. When the ancient name of the Ravi is rendered in Romanised Pali though, it is Eravati, which is compatible with the modern transliteration of the rivername, Erawati. The above means that not influence by Arabic (via Wadi), or Sanskrit (via Airavati) but Pali (via Eravati) has determined the name of the Irrawaddy.

The Irrawaddy gives its name to a dolphin, the Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris), which is found in the upper reaches of the river and known to help fishermen who practice cast-net fishing. Though sometimes called the Irrawaddy River Dolphin, it is not a true river dolphin, since it is also found at sea.

[edit] Physiography

The Ayeyarwaddy River bisects the country from north to south and empties through a nine-armed Irrawaddy Delta into the Indian Ocean.

[edit] Source

It arises by the confluence of the N'mai and Mali Rivers in Kachin State Kachin. Both the N'mai and Mali Rivers find their sources in the Himalaya glaciers of Northern Myanmar, in the vicinity of 28° N . The eastern branch of the two, N'mai river, is the larger stream, but it is unnavigable because of the strong current whereas the smaller western branch, the Mali river, is navigable, despite a few rapids.

The town of Bhamo, about 150 miles (240 km) south of the Mali and N'mai river confluence, is the northernmost city reachable by boat all the year round although during the monsoons most of the river cannot be used by boats. The city of Myitkyina however lies 30 miles (48 km) south of the confluence and can be reached during the dry season.


Between Myitkyina and Mandalay, the Irrawaddy flows through three well-marked defiles[11] :

  • About 40 miles (65 km) downstream from Myitkyinā is the first defile.
  • Below Bhamo the river makes a sharp westward swing, leaving the Bhamo alluvial basin to cut through the limestone rocks of the second defile. This defile is about 300 feet (90 m) wide at its narrowest and is flanked by vertical cliffs about 200 to 300 feet (60 to 90 metres) high.
  • About 60 miles (100 km) north of Mandalay, at Mogok, the river enters the third defile. Between Katha and Mandalay, the course of the river is remarkably straight, flowing almost due south, except near Kabwet[12], where a sheet of lava has caused the river to bend sharply westward.

This sheet of lava is the Singu Plateau, a volcanic field from the Holocene. This field exists of magma from the fissure vents and cover an area of about 62 km². The plateau is also known as Letha Taung.

Leaving this plateau at Kyaukmyaung, the river follows a broad, open course through the central dry zone - the ancient cultural heartland — where large areas consist of alluvium flats. From Mandalay (the former capital of the kingdom of Myanmar), the river makes an abrupt westward turn before curving southwest to unite with the Chindwin River, after which it continues in a southwestern direction. It is probable that the upper Irrawaddy originally flowed south from Mandalay, discharging its water through the present Sittoung River to the Gulf of Martaban, and that its present westward course is geologically recent. Below its confluence with the Chindwin, the Irrawaddy continues to meander through the petroleum producing city of Yenangyaung, below which it flows generally southward. In its lower course, between Minbu and Prome, it flows through a narrow valley between forest-covered mountain ranges—the ridge of the Rakhine Yoma Mountains to the west and that of the Pegu Yoma Mountains to the east

The Irrawaddy Delta

The delta of the Irrawaddy begins about 58 miles (93 km) above Hinthada (Henzada) and about 180 miles (290 km) from its curved base, which faces the Andaman Sea. The westernmost distributary of the delta is the Pathein (Bassein) River, while the easternmost stream is the Yangon River, on the left bank of which stands Myanmar’s capital city, Yangon (Rangoon). Because the Yangon River is only a minor channel, the flow of water is insufficient to prevent Yangon Harbour from silting up, and dredging is necessary. The relief of the delta’s landscape is low but not flat. The soils consist of fine silt, which is replenished continuously by fertile alluvium carried downstream by the river. As a result of heavy rainfall varying from 80 to 120 inches (3,000 mm) a year in the delta, and the motion and sediment load of the river, the delta surface extends into the Andaman Sea at a rate of about 165 feet (50 m) per year.


Sagaing is the chief city and capital of Sagaing Division in Myanmar. It is located on the Ayeyarwady River, 20 km to the southwest of Mandalay on the opposite bank of the river.

Sagaing is a religious and monastic center, with numerous Buddhist monasteries. It briefly held position as a royal capital of Burma from 1760-1764.

The British-built 16 span Ava Bridge connects Sagaing with Mandalay, and tourists frequently visit Sagaing as a day trip. One tourist favorite located near the city is the Mingun Bell, claimed to be the world's largest ringing bell. Its weight of 55555 viss (approximately 90 metric tons) is engraved into the front side.

The city is home to the Sagaing Institute of Education and the Sagaing Education College.