Naypyitaw & The Golden Rock, Myanmar

Naypyitaw

After the night of drinking, conversation, and just staying up much later than I had originally planned, 4AM came way too quickly. I took a shower after I got back to my room and maybe snuck in an hour of sleep before we had to meet up with an open covered bus/truck. It looked like we were the first pickup, so we got to freeze our butts off for about an hour as the driver went from stop to stop loading more and more passengers. We were the only non-Burmese on the shuttle which was a pretty good indicator we would probably not meet any other travelers along the way. I was right too because it would be at least two days before running into another backpacker.

The bus ride was pretty comfortable and we just chilled out as we made our way to this strange city others have talked about. As the bus made its way into town, we only noticed a little bit of the grandness the capital was supposed to have.

When we got to the bus stop, Helen and I were planning to head to the Golden Rock and Sabine to the West coast beaches. But, Sabine decided to stick with us a little longer. We booked our night bus tickets to the Golden Rock, and then found a driver to take us around the capital for a little private tour. Now, the capital is pretty expensive and thankfully we were not staying there the night. There really is nothing going on there anyways. The “new” capital area reminded me of the overkill you may find in old Communist countries, in terms of infrastructure and grand buildings. The road leading to the Parliament buildings consisted of 10-lane roads going in both directions, with no traffic. We were able to get a photo in from the closest possible point. As it was, our photo taking seemed to piss of the guard.

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Before this picture, we had just come from the Uppatasanti Pagoda. This nearly the same size at the pagoda in Yagon, the only difference was that this place was even more guarded and there were hardly any people there. We basically had the place to ourselves. Across the street they even had some White Elephants that I personally felt were not being taken care of very well. Made us a bit sad.

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After the pagoda and parliament attempt, we stopped at the Gem Museum which was not really worth going to and the Naypyitaw Water Fountain Park. Not sure how old the place was, but it felt like something out of Eastern Europe, again from a more Communist era. We also had an entire family run us down to take a number of family photos. I’m guessing we are in a picture frame on a table or mantel in their home now!

That pretty much summed up Naypytaw. There was a lot of new infrastructure put into place to make the new capital and knowbody lives there. It’s simmular to the ghost cities that are talked about in China. Now off fora crappy night bus ride!

The Golden Rock

We arrived around 7AM to the place we decided to stay. Fortunately, the resort allowed us to check in and we were able to get some much needed sleep. After waking up from our slumber, we got some lunch and made plans to head to the Golden Rock. We ended up getting there by motorbike. I road with one driver while the two girls squished on the back of the other bike.

At the base of the mountain, there are these trucks designed to fit as many people as possible in to then cruise up a very windee road. It felt like a rollercoaster at times. The Golden Rock was something I wanted to see because for the Burmese it is a pilgrimage site. There are people who help those who have traveled long distances to carry their things up to the site and men with chair stretchers to carry up the elderly or immobile. Many people stay the night and watch the sunset and sunrise. For the three of us, we had to leave before the last transport down by 6 PM.

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The next day I would leave the girls and head back to Yangon to catch a flight to Phuket for a few days to see a couple people I know that teach there. Then I’ll head to Korea for my final two weeks of living there. Lots of emotions going on, but I know all will work out.

Recap

The last two weeks were amazing and I had such a good time traveling with Helen and Sabine. I truly wish I could have continued on with them, but our time had to come to an end at some point. Hopefully I’ll catch up with them down the road in another part of the world. One things for sure, we will be enjoying each others continued travel on Facebook!!

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