The Slow Road to Bagan from Mandalay
Most tourists who visit the ancient city of Bagan in the middle of Myanmar’s ‘dry zone’, prefer to fly into the city after visiting Mandalay, but by doing this, your clients will miss out on several unique attractions along the way that we think are really worth seeing.
Khiri Travel Myanmar’s alternative road trip from Mandalay to Bagan begins with a visit to Ta Moke Shwe Gu Gyi located west of Kyaukse, about 40 km south of Mandalay. This enormous temple complex in a remote area of Mrauk-U is one the best archaeological sites in the country.
The two-story temple is a solid brickwork construction with some magnificent stucco reliefs that include scenes from the life of Buddha, as well as representations of animals, plants and mythological beings. There is also an intriguing Buddha statue consisting of three statuettes built inside one another – like a Russian doll.
Our next stop on the road to Bagan is the Minzontaung Wildlife Sanctuary, which aims to protect the star tortoise, an endangered species that is endemic to Myanmar’s dry zone. The ultimate objective of the sanctuary is to restore viable populations of star tortoises in every protected area of the dry zone.
Khiri Travel Myanmar has developed an excursion that allows your clients to visit the Sanctuary’s ranger station and learn more about the Burmese star tortoise. A unique part of this visit is a walk with the rangers through the forest, carrying a tracking device to locate some of the tortoises in their natural habitat.
The walk then continues on to the breeding center where visitors can also help feed the tortoises and see how they are kept, before their reintroduction into the wild. To complete the tour and understand how the whole system works, visitors are then taken to the baby tortoise pens for a glimpse of these tiny creatures.
After visiting Minzontaung Wildlife Sanctuary we drive to Pakkoku on the Irrawaddy River, where a private boat is waiting. We then take a leisurely cruise down river while lunch is served on board. The boat stops at Kyauk Gu Ohnmin cave temple, which is rarely seen by foreign visitors. We then sail on for another leisurely 1.5 hours to Bagan with an open bar on board, while watching the golden orb of the sun going down behind the hills to the west.
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