From Mandalay to Luang Prabang
passing by Chiang Mai,
three times proved
27 November 2017
Myanmar, Lanna, Lao, TAT invited Latitudes to discover authentic but lesser-known destinations, while easy to access from Bangkok.
Thailand, gateway on South-East Asia, constitutes nowadays a major crossroad in terms of tourism. In order to promote ASEAN’s connectivity and for its 50th anniversary, TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) and Amazing Thailand joined their forces to organize a series of press trips. Thus, Latitudes had the opportunity to travel to Myanmar, Thailand and Lao.
The journey started on Burmese lands, in the heart of Mandalay, Konbaung Dynasty’s last capital between 1860 and 1885 century. Nicknamed as “The City of Jewels”, it offers timeless culture and landscapes. With its unique character, between authenticity and simplicity, Mandalay possesses one thousand charms, but, the Irrawaddy bewhiches us first with a boat trip to join Mingun Island where the immaculate Myatheindan pagoda emits purity and serenity.
In addition to the sublime architecture, Burmese beliefs and cult disclose themselves, from the holy ritual of Buddha’s washing face, to the distribution of monks’ meals, passing through the discovering of places filled with history.
To end the day, we climb Mandalay Hills, situated at 240 meters above the sea level, where the view stretches down on the plain with Palace’s walls and moats and stupas. At sunset time Su Taung Pyai Pagoda offers an exceptional sight: the sky decaying from blue to orange and reflecting delicately on mirror pieces that cover the pagoda.
Then, we let ourselves carried away to Chiang Mai, a famous city in the North of Thailand, and old Lanna’s capital. At the heart of the province, close to Chiang Dao, we went out to meet Hua Tung community, to discover their traditions and skills such as waving bamboo baskets. After walking through waterfalls and bamboo forest, we joined the talented chief of Meena Riced based Cuisine in order to learn how to realize his Khao Yum Dish and 5 colour rice, signature dishes of the restaurant.
Replete, we went in the direction of the MAIIAM, a recent contemporary art Museum which proposes different collections curated with a touching personal gaze. The stunning silver temple, Wat Srisupan, constituted our final stop in the radiant, lively and refreshing “North’s Rose”, which natural beauty literally shines.
Finally, we landed in Lao, in the charming Luang Prabang, the last royal capital of Lan Xang (title fighted with Vientiane all along History). A getaway to Phousi Mount offered us a breathtaking panorama of the city, nestled between majestic mountains and Mekong, mythic Asian’s river. Throughout a cruise on the Khong River, we discovered the holy area represented by the Pak Ou Cave, dubbed “the one thousand Buddhas cave”: an impressive treasure hidden in two dark caves.
An intense journey, if somewhat short, offering an overview of authentic destinations that invite us to discover these touchy people with their extreme sensibility and kindness.