BRIDGE CLUB Myanmar(BCMM) members traveled around upper Myanmar during the summer holidays where 17 BC members participated in 2016 common activity – Travel Lookouts’. The journey was four days of new experiences, memories, and FUN! For the first two days, the team wandered around the cities of Pyin Oo Lwin and Naung Cho. BCMM members spent the third day in Sagaing region and the fourth in Mandalay region. It takes 8 hours to travel by bus from Yangon to Pyin Oo Lwin; the bus fare is 18 USD per person. There are a number of good hotels in the cities, each costing around 23 USD per night. There are various traditional restaurants in all regions and each meal costs about 3-5 USD per person. The best time to travel there would be in December when the weather is much cooler than in any other time of the year. Tourists can simply contact a tour company to plan a trip; a four-night five-day trip would cost approximately 250 USD.
Pyin Oo Lwin, known as the land of flowers is a must-visit when you are in the Mandalay Region. It is just a ninety-minute drive from Mandalay city and the weather is better than anywhere else in Myanmar, in all seasons. B.E Falls is the most popular natural waterfall, followed by Paik Chin Myaung Waterfall. Anyone can enjoy playing in the flowing water or enter the limestone caves. The National Kandawgyi Botanical Garden (founded in 1915) is a 435-acre garden filled with over 500 species of flowers, fauna, endangered species and trees. The orchid garden with over 300 species of indigenous orchids is sure to leave visitors in wonder. The Botanical Gardens has three museums: the Fossils Museum, Petrified Wood Museum, and Butterfly Museum where amazing collections from all over the world are displayed. Tourists can enjoy the beauty of nature in a grand display of over 7 million flowers during the five-day Flower Festival held in December.
Goteik Viaduct which is over 110 years old bridge, built by the British is one of the world’s most incredible train rides transfer and sightseeing from Pyin Oo Lwin to Hsipaw. It is currently the highest bridge in Myanmar and when it was completed in 1900, was the largest railway trestle in the world. The train passes through the hills of Shan state along the famous Goteik viaduct, from which adventurers can see breathtaking views of flowing rivers, elegant mountains, and refreshing green sceneries. Local hawkers can be found with colourful food baskets at each stops every few stations. It costs only 10 USD for each passenger and the train ride takes around 90 minutes. In 1900, the bridge was at considered as a world masterpiece.
The Mingun Bell in Sagaing Region is the world’s second largest ringing bell and weighs 55555 visses (90 tons). Near the bell is Mingun Pahtodawgyi, the remains of a massive construction project begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790. Interestingly, this project was intentionally left unfinished due to a prophecy claiming that the country would fall into ruin as soon as the construction of the pagoda was completed. It is well-known in Myanmar history how thousands of prisoners and slaves were forced to participate in the construction of the stupa. The stupa, originally intended to be 150 metres high, was 50 metres high by the time its construction was halted. Nonetheless, it holds the record for being the biggest pile of bricks in the world today.
Sagaing Hill is another religious center, famous for its numerous ancient pagodas and Buddhist monasteries. Sagaing City, the capital of Sagaing Kingdom, is famous for Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, U Min Thonze Cave and Pagodas, and the breathtaking view of the Ayeyarwaddy river. Werawsana Pagoda in Amarapura Township, Mandalay region is the world’s first jade pagoda. It is entirely built from jade and is 75 feet 6 inches high. Thirty thousand jade Buddha statues, each 2 inches in circumference, adorn the entire Pagoda body.A day trip can be ended in Amarapura’s U Bein Bridge where one can enjoy the sunset of Mandalay. The 1.2-kilometer long U Bein Bridge is the world’s oldest and longest teakwood bridge.Travelers can either walk across the bridge or rent a bike to reach the village at the other side of the Taung Ta Mann lake, which the bridge crosses.
The Great Golden Royal Palace of Mandalay was the primary royal residence of the last two kings of Myanmar. Today, it is the symbol of the city’s unique cultural heritage.The palace walls are surrounded by a moat and the inner palace grounds contain a number of different buildings intricately designed for the royal family, such as the audience hall, glass palace, throne halls, monastery, watch tower, mausoleums for queens and a library. This palace is opened daily and the entrance fees is 5 USD per person.
The Shwenandaw Monastery is known as one of the finest examples of 19th century Myanmar wooden architecture.Built completely from teak,it is decorated with incredibly detailed and intricate wood carvings.It is a must-place in Mandalay for architecture enthusiasts.The next destination is Ku Tho Taw pagoda, which houses the world’s largest book. This book consists of 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. The entrance fee is US$ 5 per person.In the evening, visitors can take a bus back to Yangon, which would take about 8 hours.
The joys of this trip are not only about seeing new things but also about getting to interact with and understand local communities. On the second day of our trip, BCMM members went to a monastery on the top in the Naung Cho region, where 320 orphans are being taken care by a monk. Our BC donated necessities and money to feed the orphans for 3 meals; this brought smiles upon all of us!Taking our private train across the Goteik Bridge was a great adventure. Walking across the world’s longest teakwood bridge was very exciting. Unfortunately, we were too tired to reach the village on the other side! Each and every experience was memorable and our team’s laughter and smiles filled the whole bus when we went back to Yangon.
A short introduction of APCC, BC, and BCIO
The Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention in Fukuoka, Japan (APCC) is an NPO which aims to foster global citizens who will be able to achieve peace and co-existence by promoting the spirit of respect and understanding. The APCC was founded by the Fukuoka Junior Chamber in 1989 as part of the Asian-Pacific Exposition, an event to celebrate Fukuoka City’s 100th anniversary. Every year, selected children from over 50 countries gather together in Fukuoka as ‘Junior Ambassadors (JAs)’ and participate in homestay and cultural exchange programs, thus developing mutual understanding of different people and cultures. In 1998, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the APCC, a number of former JAs came back to Fukuoka as Peace Ambassadors (PAs) and built an international network that led to the establishment of BRIDGE CLUBs(BCs). The BRIDGE CLUB International Organization (BCIO) was established during the 20th APCC with the aim of further accelerating the establishment of BCs in currently non-BC countries and regions and enhancing the building of networks between existing BCs. BRIDGE CLUB Myanmar (BCMM) was established in August 2012 and has since been actively participating in various projects assigned by the APCC and BCIO.
For further information about APCC, BCIO and BCMM, please visit the following websites: