Yangon (Rangoon) is Burma's largest city and former capital.  Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda contained an enormous

reclining Buddha, our hotel was luxurious and Chinatown was vibrantly alive (click here).  

Shwedagon Pagoda is Burma's most sacred Buddhist site.  Its gold-draped, gem-studded pagoda is 30 stories high,

while its golden surface shimmers alive at sunset  (click here).

An "Out and About Day" in Rangoon included a trip across Rangoon's bay, riding in a pedicab, and taking a local

train (click here).

We next flew to Bagan, the number one tourist destination in this nation.   It contains 2,000 pagodas within a 26-

square mile area, built mostly in the 11th century (UNESCO World Heritage site).  After a horse-drawn tour of

these ancient Buddhist monuments, we finished up on the Irrawaddy River (click here).

The following day we stumbled across a novitiates ceremony, visited a palm sugar farm, and journeyed to Mount

Popa Monastery to see some colorful Burmese Buddhist "Nats" (click here).

Our next stop was the city of Inwa (est. 1364) near Mandalay.  Despite the many famous Buddhist sites, the facial

art work (using bark paste that Burmese women apply) got our attention (click here). 

Artisans hammer gold leaf, which is then applied to the body of the Buddha at Mahamuni Paya.   We visited

Myawaddy Nunnery, home and school to over 200 Buddhist girls.  The day ended with a sunset visit to Mandalay

Hill Monastery, which had magnificent views of the city. (click here

Our next day was filled with visits to artisan and crafts shops.  We visited the village of Mingun, home to the

world's largest uncracked, fully-functioning bell (200 tons!).  At Umin Thonz (Thirty Caves Temple) there were

many aligned Buddhas (click here).

Our last day in Mandalay included a visit to the famous U Bein footbridge (200 years old) and a heart-warming

stop at an orphanage for girls run by Buddhist nuns.  The girls infected us with their happiness and joy of living!  

(click here

For week 2 of my Burma trip, go here.