Myanmar: Spectacular Sunset at Mandalay Hill

After we visited the Kuthodaw Pagoda, we decided to go up to the summit of Mandalay Hill to watch the sun stunningly vanish over the horizon, giving way to a thousand others.

Spectacular sunset in Mandalay Hill

This beautiful hill is popular for its superb valley views. It is situated at the corner of the moat of the Palace, northeast of the city center and about 240 meters above sea level.

From the top of Mandalay Hill

We hired a taxi to take us around Mandalay and before he drove us back to our hotel, our last stop was in Mandalay Hill. When we arrived on top, we removed our shoes, and took the elevator to go up.

at the top of Mandalay Hill

We went up 30 minutes before sunset to soak up the atmosphere, and stay until dark. It’s lovely up there! In spite of the huge crowds, we enjoyed the fresh air with spectacular 360 views of the city and the surrounding countryside. It’s a gorgeous place to witness the entire city and the palace grounds, encased by snaking rivers to one side and distant mountains to the other.

From the top of Mandalay Hill

at the top of Mandalay Hill

At the top of Mandalay Hill

Wandering around slightly at the top of the hill, we came across many nicely decorated pagodas, stupas and monasteries that have been the pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists for about two centuries. We also noticed the king of the ogres with his armies at the four corners of the top terrace, and saw many creature statues such as rabbits, cockerels, and lizards which represent Buddha experiences – his birth, suffering, death, and rebirth. The temple complex at the top is worth the journey alone – it’s wonderful with gorgeous artifacts and a cool marble floor as you go without shoes.

at the top of Mandalay Hill

Later, we found a quiet place. We sat there. Far in the distance, we watched the blazing yellow sun sinking low in the sky. Then the sky was dyed with the splash of colors. We savored the moment. It was romantic. It was magical. And, this beautiful sunset reminded us that no matter what happens things end in a beautiful way.

Spectacular sunset in Mandalay Hill

Spectacular sunset in Mandalay Hill

Spectacular sunset in Mandalay Hill

Spectacular sunset in Mandalay Hill

Spectacular sunset in Mandalay Hill

Certainly, Mandalay Hill is a fascinating historical place and watching the magnificent sunset is definitely a must see if you are in the area.

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • There is no entrance fee. But you have to pay a fee for your camera and for the shoe box.
  • A lot of tourists visit the hill for sunset.
  • It is accessible to everyone. There is a one-way motor road, an escalator and a lift for those who are unable to climb up the stairs.
  • Try to get there a while before sunset and stake your spot otherwise you’ll be knee-deep in tourists.
Advertisements

Taste of Home: Potato, pumpkin and Leek Soup

I made potato, pumpkin and leek soup several times cause my family really loves this fabulous soup! It’s really hearty – the leeks with the pumpkin and potatoes make for a really full flavor combination. Also, my son gobbled this right up and asked for more.

Potato, pumpkin and leek soup

The last time I made this soup was 2 weeks ago when some of our friends came over during the weekend. They love it very much, and I shared my recipe with them.

In my recipe, I didn’t put a lot of cream as the soup was already rich and tasty on its own. Usually I serve it with baguette as we really enjoy dipping some buttery bread in it.

Next time I make it, I’ll try to add a wee bit of ginger, I think it adds zest and fragrance to the soup.

It’s a great soup – easy, quick tasty and healthy, and a comforting cold-weather soup puree. The rave reviews from my family and friends make it all worthwhile to share my recipe with all of you.

Potato, pumpkin and leek soup

Ingredients good for 6 persons:

  • 1 small pumpkin, seeded, peeled and cut roughly
  • 1 big potato, peeled and cut roughly
  • 3 stalks leek, cut roughly
  • 25 cL fresh cooking cream
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

How to make it?

  1. Put pumpkin, potato, leek and 1 L of water in a large pot. Let it cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Blend it for 1 minute or until it becomes smooth. [If you do not have an immersion blender, you can use a blender to puree the soup. Just be careful in transferring the veges to the blender as it’s still very hot.]
  3. Add fresh cream, salt and black pepper. Stir.
  4. Let it cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Et voila! Serve, share and enjoy!

 

Myanmar: Hike up to Mount Popa

The day after temple hopping in Bagan, we set off bright and hiked up Mount Popa, a sacred site and an iconic Myanmar postcard sight.

Mount Popa

Mount Popa from afar, on our way to the base

Mount Popa, is an extinct volcano, about 1,500m above sea level, and situated about 48km south east of Bagan. It is a famous spiritual place and considered as one of the oasis in Myanmar.

Mount Popa

at the peak of Mount Popa

at the top of Mount Popa

From afar, the views of Popa are stunning, and we loved seeing it dazzling in the distance.

Mount Popa

We trailed 777 steep steps up to the peak of Mount Popa and took the same steps on the way down. There was a plethora of local market stalls set up from the base of Popa and along the stairs. As we climbed up, there were lots of monkeys cheekily adorning the passageways and dirtying the area. Personally, I did not find the hike a nice experience as we clucked up the steps bare feet through monkeys’ wee and poo which unfortunately is not properly cleaned.

Mount Popa

Mount Popa

From the top of Mount Popa

Although there was nothing much to do at the peak, to me it was still worth it. The top of Popa is a gold filled affair – monasteries, shrines, stupases, statues and bells, all covered in gold and shimmering in the sunlight. Also, from the top of the mountain, the views of green scenery of the environment and the surrounding countryside are magnificent.

From the top of Mount Popa

From the top of Mount Popa

The views from the of Mount Popa

Mount Popa

at the top of Mount Popa

at the top of Mount Popa

Overall, we enjoyed our visit to the important Burmese pilgrimage mount even though it was chaotic, noisy and dirty (rubbish and monkey droppings)! But if you have a free half-day in Bagan, popping over to Mount Popa is worth it.

From the top of Mount Popa

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • We took a private car and the cost was USD 35 for a round trip from Nyang Oo, Bagan. It was around an hour drive (one way), and we spent around 3 hours at Mount Popa.
  • Wear appropriate clothes – no shorts, no vests, no socks, no shoes, no sleeveless shirts, no hats allowed!
  • Watch out for the monkeys. They are aggressive. Some of them might steal your stuff from you, so put your things in zipped compartment.
  • No entrance fee. We only paid $1 for the shoes locker.
  • Bring wet wipes to clean your feet. bring some wipes for cleaning your feet after the climb. There are copious amounts of monkey poo and it’s impossible to avoid it completely!
  • Don’t bring any food or drink to avoid unwanted attention from the monkeys.

Taste of Home: The French toast – Savory Lost Bread

Have you ever tried or heard about Lost Bread? Personally, I hadn’t heard about it before, until very recently (2 weeks ago), Alan introduced it to us. And, since I love it, I tried making it myself.

The “Lost Bread” is a popular French toast. In France it is called pain perdu (pronounced pan pare due), a dish that rescues a dry bread that would be lost.

Lost Bread, Pan Perdu: The French toast

In this recipe, days-old bread is used not only for its thrift but also because it soaks up a lot of egg mixture without falling apart. The slices of bread are dipped in a mixture of scrambled eggs and milk or cream. Then fried in butter until browned and cooked. While frying, it smells so good that I could hardly wait to get it on my plate.

Lost Bread, Pan Perdu: The French toast

In France, pain perdu is usually eaten as a dessert or an afternoon snacks, as the cooked slices are usually served with sugar or sweet toppings such as jam, honey, fruit or maple syrup. Since we don’t really like sugar, we made it savory. I love it! It’s very rich. It’s fantastic, simple and easy. Plus, it makes a fun meal.

So, for those who would like to try, here’s a recipe of pain perdu (lost bread):

Lost Bread, Pan Perdu: The French toast

Ingredients good for 3 persons:

  • Days-old sliced bread
  • 10 eggs, scrambled
  • a cup of milk
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • grated cheese
  • 200 grams butter
  • 2 slices of ham per slice of bread

How to make it:

  • In a bowl, crack the eggs. Then mix thoroughly.
  • Add, milk, salt and black pepper. Stir.
  • Dip the sliced bread one at a time. Make sure to soak the slices of bread for at least 1 minute, and flip them over a few times in between to ensure the bread has thoroughly absorbed the egg mixture.
  • Melt butter in the frying pan.
  • Put the bread into the frying pan, turning both sides until they are browned and cooked.
  • Top it with a wee bit of cheese and ham.
  • Et viola! Serve, share and enjoy!