After having explored the amazing temples of Bagan, I was bound for Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city. Mandalay is the economical hub of upper Myanmar and considered the center of Burmese culture. There are several ways from Bagan to Mandalay nowadays, buses, boats and even domestic flights. I originally planned on taking the boat upriver but the irregular boat schedule collided with my own schedule. I decided to take the bus which would only take about 5 hours and was actually the cheapest option. With a lot of things to do in and out of the city, I was looking forward to a few exciting days in the city. Read more
Categories: Myanmar / Burma, Uncategorized
Tags: Aranapura, Backpacking, Burma, Inwa, Mandalay, Mingun, Mingun Bell, Myanmar, photography, Sagaing, Sagaing Hill, Travel Blog, U Bein Bridge
View from Sagaing Hill, outside of Mandalay.
I was out on a day trip with one of the many motorbike riders offering their services in Mandalay. Since the legal situation of renting yourself in Myanmar is still not clear, going with one of these guys seemed like a good idea. We had left Mandalay City and made it across the Ayeyarwady River over to the city of Sagaing. Sagaing is one of the main Buddhist centers of Myanmar and one of the three ancient cities of the area. Sagaing Hill and its surrounding are home of about 600 stupas and monasteries, 100 meditation centers and more than 6.000 monks and nuns.
I had climbed the steep stairs up the hill where the majestic Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda is located. From up there the surrounding views were marvelous. With a cool breeze going and a blues sky dotted with white clouds, it was so nice and serene. There were only a handful of tourists who had also made it up the hill and it was quiet and relaxed.
Mandalay is hot, dusty and busy but yet so charming and authentic. The city itself is very interesting with a lot of things to do and explore. But the true highlights are just outside the city. More on that will follow soon …
Categories: Myanmar / Burma, Pic of the Week
Tags: Mandalay, Myanmar, Myanmar Highlights, Myanmar Reisen, photography, Reiseblog, Sagaing, Sagaing Hill, Travel Blog, Travel Myanmar, Travel Photography
This might come surprising and sudden for most of you. I am already back in Germany having arrived last weekend. It was a rather spontaneous decision – I had booked the flight just a week before my departure from Bangkok. There were several reasons for this seemingly abrupt return which in the end wasn’t even that abrupt. Let me explain… Read more
I was bound for Bagan, a place of mystery, magic and many rumors. A place that ranks among the world’s finest cultural heritage sites such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Machu Pichu in Peru. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city also known as Pagan, was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day. A must see for every Myanmar tourist, I just hoped that it would not bee to crowded. After a long overnight bus ride I arrived before dawn. Still half asleep, I stumbled out of the bus to board a horse cart into town. My adventure was about to begin. Read more
As you all have heard, the Philippines have been hit hard by the recent super typhoon Haiyan. Large parts of Samar and Leyte have been completely leveled, leaving thousands of people cut off from food supplies, fresh water and medical supplies. A lot of people have died already and more will do so if we just stay passive now. People are in desperate need of help – your help.
I have traveled the affected areas intensively with my two friends Chris and Dolph earlier this year. We will always remember the beauty of the country and the hospitality and warmth of their people. We have traveled through Tacloban, a city which has almost completely destroyed. We have made many friends and following the current flow of their updates on Facebook is heartbreaking. It hurts to see the country in such an agony and struggling to get back on their feet. This is the time to stand together as global citizens and act. Please join me and contribute to the ongoing relief efforts of the international community. Read more
So my Myanmar trip was finally about to start. An adventure which I actually planned to do right at the beginning of my trip and which I then postponed due to a lot of uncertainties. Uncertainties in terms of planning, necessary budget and availability of accommodation due to high season. All the greater was my excitement about finally getting there – I had already heard so many good reports about it. I couldn’t wait to finally explore this supposedly still raw gem of South East Asia.
I had booked a cheap flight from Kuala Lumpur from where I had also lined up my visa. This was actually done within only one day via the local Myanmar Embassy and cost only 150 Ringgit or 35 Euros. Very easy and convenient. The flight was short and I was picked up by an employee of the hotel I had reserved for the first couple of nights. Good service and the hotel itself was alright as well. However, for 22 Dollars a night for a fan room it wasn’t cheap in terms of Asian standards. I conveniently arrived at around midday which allowed me to venture out right away and explore the city.
The Shwedagon Pagoda by night. Just magical…
Camera stolen and a lot of great pictures lost… I am still frustrated and depressed but as people have been telling me, I have to keep going. It is hard right now but I want to start writing about one of the highlight countries I have recently visited – Myanmar. And a good way to do so is to start of with another Pic of the Week. I know this category actually doesn’t deserve its name anymore since updates have been coming rather regularly. But I still like it and don’t want to abandon it. Maybe one day I find the time and concentration to actually post on a truly weekly basis.
Anyhow, the image above has been taken in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital where I started my journey of this amazing country. Pictured is part of the famous Shwedagon Pagoda. It is Myanmar’s most important sacral building and represents the religious center of the Myanmar. It is regarded as landmark of the entire country and represents one of the world’s most famous stupas. It is a sacred place and every Burmese should do the pilgrimage to the pagoda at least once in their lifetime. I went there during the evening and stayed until it was dark. The atmosphere was magical with candles lit around the stupa and the sites around illuminated by warm lights. I could sense, that this place is special to the Burmese Buddhists sharing that moment with me. People wandered around it devoutly, silent and respectful only accompanied by chanting coming from some of the surrounding halls. Magical is what describes it best and magical is what the whole country would present itself to me during trip.
Yesterday in Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City the nightmare of every traveler and photographer came true for me. I was in the park to work out a little bit. The plan was to go for some night and street photography afterwards so I brought my backpack with me. Inside my camera with both lenses and my tripod. I had put my backpack on the ground right in front of me. I turned around to stretch at a tree only about 2 metres away from my pack and this moment only lasted 20 or so seconds. I turned back around and was shocked. No backpack anymore. It seemed like it has just disappeared. The locals around haven’t seen anything either. Whoever stole my backpack, must have been watching me for a while already and just waited for this brief moment. I was in total shock. Some local girls helped me looking around and also brought me to the police station nearby. But I realized straight away that this was it. I was devastated and I still am. Read more
Overall I spent about three weeks in Malaysia, a country which wasn’t even on my list when I started my journey. Another stopover in Kuala Lumpur before heading to Myanmar / Burma made me decide to at least explore a little bit of that country. I mean, I was there already so why not take advantage of it? Since I had only a few weeks, I decided to travel the Malaysian Peninsula and not Borneo. Maybe a mistake after all looking at it now. But first things first… Read more
This post is a rather unusual one as I usually just write about my experiences and adventures while traveling here in South East Asia. Apparently my trip has sparked some interest and this time others have been writing about me and my journey. That is awesome and I am happy to share with you guys that ESCapology has just been covered in the newspaper of my hometown. Having grown up with “Die Glocke”, it makes me proud to see my picture in the paper that has been subscribed by my family as far as I can remember. I would have never expected anything like this to happen.
At the same time, the article was also published on www. auslandsjob.de, an independent German portal on work & travel and traveling in general.
It is great to get that kind of exposure and since my feature on WordPress’ “Freshly Pressed”, this is probably the best publicity I have received so far. I think this is a good chance to thank all the people that have supported me until now. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks to my subscribers and avid readers here, your support and feedback keeps me going. Thanks to Simone, who has edited the articles mentioned above. And of course thanks to my family and friends for supporting me and what I do. You are the best.
If you can read German, here are the resources for both articles:
Escapology in local German Newspaper “Die Glocke”
Escapology on www. auslandsjob.de