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  1. #1
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    Mingalabar! Myawaddy, Mawlamyine & Yangon 2016

    Hi all, earlier this month I went on a short backpacking trip to some parts of SEA. My route was Manila -> Kuala Lumpur -> Vientiane -> Udon Thani -> Mae Sot -> Myawaddy -> Mawlamyine -> Yangon -> KL -> MNL. It was quite hectic, as I made the trip in less than 2 weeks, since I had limited vacation time. I knew that my trip would coincide with the Water Festival (Pi Mai in Laos, Songkran in Thailand & Thingyan in Myanmar). I didn't initially want to travel during the festival as I knew that it would be chaotic, but it was the only time that I could get a break from work.

    I'll include a few highlights from the other countries that I visited before crossing over to Myanmar, since I may not be able to make separate threads for them (pic threads are time-consuming), so please bear with me. Cheers!

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    I've visited KL a few years ago, and since there was no direct flight from MNL to Vientiane or Yangon, I thought of including KL in my itinerary to visit some of the places that I wasn't able to.

    One of the places that I went to this year was Batu Caves. It's ~30 min from KL Sentral station by commuter train. There's a Hindu temple carved out of the limestone rocks and there are 207(?) steps leading up to the temple. When going up to the temple, shorts are not allowed for women (but sleeveless shirts & tank tops were permitted). Fortunately, I was properly attired and didn't encounter problems with the fashion police. lol. I went up the stairs, looked around & took pics, then went down again. The Indian women who visited there were dressed in their best sari or salwar kameez. Kinda like wearing Sunday's best for church, which was nice (for me), as I like seeing people wearing their native costumes. Anyway, here's Batu Caves.




  3. #3
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    I went around a few places in KL. My last stop was Central Market, to look at native products and other knick-knacks. I didn't buy anything, just window-shopped. I still had many days of traveling ahead of me and I didn't want to overstuff my backpack with touristy souvenirs. So here's Central Market - to go there, get off at Pasar Seni station and walk a bit.




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    After 2N in KL, I took an early flight to Vientiane, Laos. I met BLD, his lovely wife & cute kids. We had lunch at a Lao-Viet resto (Viet food but Lao style). Then we went to That Luang temple, among other places. The next day, I went to Buddha park which is a few km away from the city center and is past the Lao-Thai friendship bridge.




  5. #5
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    Here's the BLD and his lovely family. (BLD, if you don't want your pic here, let me know & I'll delete it from PB.)



    Here's one pic from Buddha Park. It's a tourist spot with a lot of Buddhas and figures from other religions (Hinduism and there were Christian statues too, which I felt was weird in that place).


    That's my handbag. Since I can't be in the pic, I placed my handbag there.

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    To get out of Vientiane, I went to the bus station near Talat Sao mall. I took the International Bus, which goes to Udon Thani in Thailand. Some of my busmates were: a German backpacking couple, 2 TEFLer ladies (American), some Filipinos (teachers in Laos & were on the way to Phuket for a beach holiday during Songkran) and others were Lao or Thai. I arrived in Udon Thani, dropped off my stuff at my hotel (with my own bathroom, so that I could wash my clothes! lol), then went off to look for something to eat.

    I had the option to eat at Central Plaza mall, which was near my hotel, or at some umbrella-type stalls. I chose the latter, since from previous experience, street food in Thailand is good and I haven't experienced any tummy aches (yet).

    I decided to try my luck at this stall, which didn't have any English subtitles for the names of food. So I just pointed at the pic in the tarp. I ordered the topmost entry.



    This was my lunch: beef with basil leaves. What is this dish called?

  7. #7
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    This pic is for withnall and/or baldrick. She's a good cook.



    These were my lunch buddies. I saw a lot of people (men & women) wearing those floral shirts. Are they commonly used during Songkran?


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    I looked around Central Plaza mall a bit.



    I walked around the city center, and came across another mall, UD Town mall.



    As I've said in my other thread, I found Udon Thani to be similar to other small provincial cities back home.
    "Same-same but different" feeling.

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    As I've said in the other thread, I saw some "silver foxes" in Udon Thani. I saw some younguns too, maybe they're TEFLers? I hope whoever these ppl are, they're not members of this forum!

    Time for a selfie!


    Here, look at our selfie! (girl in black showing pic to girl in red)

    Girl in the backgrd is for withnall or baldrick. lol

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    Saw these ladies enjoying their Songkran moments

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    The next day, I was up bright & early to make my way to Phitsanulok, then Mae Sot. I passed by many sleepy towns (Nakhon Nowhere) and had my first experience (in this trip) of the dreaded... squat toilet!




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    Where (which town) is this? Does anyone know?



    When I saw this signboard, I was glad because I knew that the end (of traveling for that day) was near.


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23
    This was my lunch: beef with basil leaves. What is this dish called?
    Pad krapow nua.

    Very nice too.

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    I was seated on the front seat of the minibus, so I had good views. This shot reminds me of the song, Take Me Home Country Road. It also reminded me of a drive in the US - I rode in the car of a friend and we were headed toward the mountains. Again, the feeling of "same same but different".



    It was a nice sunset...

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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    I decided to try my luck at this stall, which didn't have any English subtitles for the names of food. So I just pointed at the pic in the tarp. I ordered the topmost entry.



    This was my lunch: beef with basil leaves. What is this dish called?
    In Thai: ผัดกะเพราเนื้อ - Pat gaprao neua. Stir fried beef with basil leaves.

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    The next day, I took an early morning walk around the Mae Sot neighborhood, before having breakfast at the guesthouse.



    Breakfast at the GH, included in the room price, which was ~550 baht for a spacious room with double bed, A/C, toilet & shower. Good price, I think.


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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    These were my lunch buddies. I saw a lot of people (men & women) wearing those floral shirts. Are they commonly used during Songkran?

    Yes, very much so.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the replies, somtamslap & neverna. The beef with basil was delish, and freshly cooked too! The owner cooked it after I pointed out my choice. She also asked me if I wanted chili in the beef, and I said no. I was able to make it through the pointing & calculator system. Point what you like (including my need for Coca Cola, which turned out to be Est Cola - but it was okay, since it was my first time to encounter Est Cola). After the meal, I approached the owner, asked how much, then the owner punched some numbers on the calculator. I took out some money, problem solved and belly filled with good & cheap food.

    Btw, thanks for all the greens! I have a gold cabbage now! Yay! Can I exchange it for cash? I'd like to have a liposuction. lol. On second thought, I'll save the cash for my next trip.

  19. #19
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    I'll backtrack a bit, and show a few more pics of pre-Myanmar. I might not be able to make separate threads for Vientiane (but it deserves a thread of its own) or KL or UT due to time constraints - I have work & a life too. lol.

    So anyway, here are some pics of the Patuxay Victory Monument in Vientiane.

    These ladies were pretty and wore native costumes (which I always like to photograph).

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    Patuxay Park at twilight


    with some Chinese ladies

  21. #21
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    thanks for taking the time to post your pics up. looking forward to the Myanmar
    portion

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    Good job, Katie. Thanks for making the effort!

  23. #23
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    Thanks for the luv, barrylad & davis.

    So to continue, back in Vientiane it was getting dark & I was getting hungry, so I walked back to the direction of the riverside (Mekong). I chose a guesthouse near the river, since from past travels, that's where the action is. There's a night market selling all kinds of night markety stuff, plus some food stalls.

    This was my dinner at a food stall - Lao style fried noodles, grilled squid & Beerlao.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    Here's the BLD and his lovely family. (BLD, if you don't want your pic here, let me know & I'll delete it from PB.)



    Here's one pic from Buddha Park. It's a tourist spot with a lot of Buddhas and figures from other religions (Hinduism and there were Christian statues too, which I felt was weird in that place).


    That's my handbag. Since I can't be in the pic, I placed my handbag there.
    You've had a haircut mate.

    Great thread as usual Katie. Good to see you you caught up with BLD and the family.

  25. #25
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    ^And slimmed down too.....

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