On the road to Mandalay

On the road to Mandalay

I’m not so convinced but perhaps Rudyard Kipling had some influence why Mandalay is famous all over the world. In 1890 when he was 24 years old, he wrote the poem Mandalay. The poem colourfully illustrates the nostalgia and longing of a British Empire soldier for the exotic Asia.

Mandalay is the second largest city and the last royal capital of Myanmar. Located around 700 km north of Rangoon on the East bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of over a million. It is considered the centre of Burmese culture.

Personally, the most attractive feature of Mandalay is not the numerous religious sites to visit or the Mandalay Hill for a spectacular spot to watch the sunset but the friendliness of the city. While walking on the road, people will take the time to stop and ask if they could be of help, if direction is needed for a certain place. I haven’t seen so friendly and helpful hotel staff such as in Mandalay that it was so spontaneous and contagious. Hotel guests coming from different parts of the world were so much friendlier than usual that it was quite hard to not engage in conversations. So it’s not really the place if you would rather have some peace and quiet.

(Photo taken at the Mandalay Central Train Station)

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