Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mawlamyine & GIANT Buddha, Myanmar (Burma)

We arrived to Yangon bus terminal at around 4AM, we just change the bus and continue another 8 hours to Mawlamyne. So pretty long journey from Bagan almost 18hours. It was rainy almost all way so to be in bus wasn't so bad. Mawlamyine is Myanmar's third city but looks small. There is couple of things to see around like the world biggest reclining Buddha.. and to go to him, can easily changed into unexpected and adventurous trek.
3m high monk statues showing the way..

We found quite OK hostel, and went to town. Quite nice, especially thanks to huge river and something like promenade which was so slippy than it was almost not possible to walk on it. Soon it was raining again so we went to room. In the evening we went to night food market where they prepared delicious barbecue. Gosia was on diet again but Michal enjoyed it. We met lonely Australian traveler Chloe and make some plans for another day.

BBQ at night market
In the morning we decided to go to see the worlds biggest reclining Buddha somewhere in mountains about an hour from the town. It was a bit challenge to get a place in full booked bus but in the end we get three small plastic chairs in corridor of bus. It actually doesn't matter because the bus was so full that we had to stay anyway.
New monks showing the shorter way
That kicked us out on some crossroad and we went in diction to Buddha. The way was marked by many almost identical monk statues. Soon the road continue strait but the monk turn to right, so we followed them latter the monks statues split into two ways so we chose the smaller path and fallow the monks to forest and farther to mountains. Sometimes it was a bit creepy to fallow this hundreds of identical statues. Specially when the path lost in vegetation and our trip behind the town changed into serious trek in mountains. We in sandals Chloe in flip flaps, no path just monk statues, aggressive ants and huge storm coming.. But after some time we found a path which took us to big standing Buddha than a road to huge sitting Buddha and finally a street to the biggest reclining Buddha.
Following monks acros mountains
Finally on a road
We took of our shoes like in front of every holly place here and we went inside. This Buddha was finished just few years ago and its more like a building than statue. Inside there is four floor exposition of hundreds of statues about Buddhas lives which is still not finished. Buddha from inside looks like huge military bunker or some construction place. Definitely its not very nice to walk there with bare feet.
Another even bigger statue construction place
Inside of Buddha

On the way out Michal fall down from stairs and almost destroyed our anyway already broken camera. (autofocus is not working, we have to focus manually, so sorry for not so sharp photos) We realized that the right way to Buddha was on the road and no one is following the monks. And we went to find some transport back from the main road. 
Infront of Buddha
Worker next to Buddhas head
We were lucky because some local people took us for free with their pick-up. Pick ups are normal small trucks who transport people. It worked like a shared taxi so we expected to pay something but this one just wanted to help us. We had some nice food from Squids and we went to make a siesta. In the evening the barbecue and sleep. Biggest Buddha was much more interesting than we expected. Its not nice peaceful place for meditation like another temples but If you in Burma its definitely recommended.    

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