14.01 Mingun / Amarapura, Hsinbyume Pagoda and U-Bein bridge
The 11-kilometre boat trip up the famous Ayeyarwady river from Mandalay to Mingun is a pleasant ride of about one hour. At the end of this picturesque journey, one comes face to face with the “World’s Biggest Ringing Bell” – the Mingun Bell and the colossal ruined base of the Mingun pagoda- an unfinished work of King Bodawpaya, which if it had been completed, would have supported the largest pagoda in the world.
Mingun has many impressive examples of fine Myanmar masonry, art and architecture, especially the outstanding Maha Aung Mye Bonzan monastery. At the completely white Hsinbyume Pagoda 2 young monks acted as models for us for quite a long time. A young lady, Sandar, whom the guide knew from previous trips, escorted us everywhere in Mandalay and so we were able to communicate well with them and other locals.
Amarapura is an ancient capital of the Myanmar Monarchy, south of Mandalay, its attractions include the Patodawgyi Pagoda, U-Bein’s bridge and the silk weaving industry. The U-Bein bridge is a famous very long (1200m) and high footbridge which is ideal for taking pictures against the sunset with silhouettes of figures, hopefully monks, walking across it with the sun showing between the pillars. We were there in the afternoon and took some pictures but the sun disappeared behind a cloud before the sunset was complete. Also the intended boat trip could not take place because all the boats had been reserved in advance, unknown to our guide.