Destination Mandalay – Culture Shock Included!

We hopped on a flight from Kunming in Southwest China to Mandalay, Myanmar’s 2nd largest city. A one hour flight and you are in a completely new world!

You thought China is chaotic? Well, check out Mandalay! πŸ˜„ Crazy traffic on the street, a lot of garbage everywhere, people who live in shacks next to the Irrawady river… And yet, the atmosphere is amazing! The first day we arrived we rented bikes and just biked around the city. We felt really tired after just a few hours because we were simply overwhelmed with all the different impressions. Especially Christoph was blown away since this was his first day in Sout-East Asia! πŸ™‚

With this post we want to share some of our impressions regarding the atmosphere, the people and the markets in Mandalay.

The atmosphere

We mainly biked around the Northwestern part of Mandalay and this seems to be a rather poor area. The atmosphere was incredible here! Sooo much life going on everywhere and we got the impression that a lot of public and also private life is happening on the streets. Everywhere you look there were people busy with something and there was just a great energy in the air!

 

The people

The people in Mandalay are really, really friendly and so often someone shouted a friendly and curios “hello!” to us. Sometimes it took us a while to identify the small kid on the other side of a river who greeted us. While certainly not true, it felt for some we were the first foreigner they had ever seen… Our first day here was a Sunday so we were probably lucky to see many kids out playing on the street.

 

The markets

Another highlight for us were the markets. Very soon after leaving the hostel we stumbled upon a small but amazing fruit and vegetable market with women sitting on the floor selling their produce. Equally interesting was the Jade market where people are still barganing and haggling – like in the “good old times”… πŸ™‚ Everything is done offline, people are inspecting the quality of the stones with special torches and are then agreeing on deals. We also saw people cutting the stones with special machines. The atmosphere at the Jade market was very special – so much activitiy everywhere, everybody searching for the best deal!

 

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