Today we woke up at 0800, had a mediocre free breakfast at our hotel and made our way to the Mingun Ferry Terminal which was basically just a stretch of river bank. The boat left at 0900 by which time it was already 35 degrees, the top deck was a perfect place to lay out and read our books on the hour long up-river crossing, unsurprisingly the only other people on the top deck were western travellers.
On arrival there was a clamour for tuk tuks and taxis, we however opted for a cow cart, a wisened old man then drove the two cows, with us in a wooden cart, across the small town of Mingun to the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda. We spent ages taking pictures and wondering around as it was truly stunning and few other people about.
From the Hsinbyume Pagoda we walked back through town, past a 99 tonne bell and the Mingun Pagoda which is actually just the bottom third of a 150m high temple, the remaining two thirds where never built as the King who was building it died and nobody else ever wanted to take on the mammoth task.
We returned to the hotel and picked up two bicycles and went for BBQ fish which was so tasty, Harri also had a full pint to herself for the first time ever (I have slowly been weening her onto it). After a well rested lunch we decided to continue in the same vein with a relaxing massage. We arrived, discussed what we wanted (1-hour full body massage) and we taken into a joint room. What proceeded was probably the least comfortable experience I have ever had the displeasure of enduring, Harri felt the same. We were pulled and pinched in every direction, we had the young men walk on us and they elbowed us in the most uncomfortable places, I’m glad we only paid £4 each and I am sure won’t be rushing for a ‘traditional Burmese massage’ again.
We somehow managed to cycle back to our hotel with our broken backs and hired a tuk tuk to take us to U Bein Bridge. The bridge is 1.2km long and was built around 1850 and is thought to be the longest and oldest teak bridge in the world, making it one of the most popular sites in Myanmar. This time of year is dry season so the bridge stands high on its pillars however in the rainy season it sits nicely just above the water. We wandered around taking various photos, waiting for the sun to set and were treated to a number of spectacles. Firstly three men herded a few hundred ducks in front of us and when I say herded I mean the ducks were waddling along and one of them a walking stick like a Shepard. The next exciting thing was a water buffalo managed to escape and ran riot across a number of fields whilst being chased by a young boy on a motorbike, what was not so exciting was when it ran right at us, Harri says she nearly died although in reality it was a good five metres away and completely uninterested in us.
Once we had seen the sunset, we caught another tuk tuk back to our hotel and went out for yet another BBQ dinner of fish, again it was incredible.