28 December 2017 Myanmar National Airlines UB 2 Yangon (RGN) - Mandalay (MDL) B737-800 XY-ALG Economy Class Flight Time: 51M
Aircraft being refuelled during the transit stop.
While the front cabin was being cleaned, the kind crew members offered as Mandalay-bound pax at the rear cups of water.
Interestingly, while initially we were attached to the aerobridge, we were disconnected and pushed back slightly, all the time while the aircraft was being cleaned and aircraft doors opened. Apparently it was to allow the boarding of Yangon-originating passengers who would be bussed from the domestic terminal and board via stairs.
MH arriving from KUL.
Domestic passengers started boarding. The flight ended up nearly full on the short domestic sector. Quite a lucrative route for the airline, considering the airfare between RGN-MDL is almost similar to SIN-MDL.
As per previous sector, refreshing towels were distributed after boarding was completed. The crew pictured was, I must say, very dedicated, caring and kind, with sincere smiles to all. During boarding, she was observed patiently assisting two seperate elderly passengers to their seats towards the rear of the aircraft, and ensuring that they were comfortably seated. Seldom do we find such genuine service, care and concern shown by cabin crew onboard.
Pushed back slightly behind schedule due to the long boarding process of the domestic passengers.
Burmese safety video with chinese subtitles was played.
This was followed by the English version as we started our taxi.
Lining up on the runway.
Departure from Yangon Rwy21 for the short flight to Mandalay.
Climbing out of Yangon.
Above the dense cloud cover, which remained so for most of the flight till we were approaching Mandalay.
Flight map on the streaming IFE. We were at 32000ft.
Refreshment service immediately started and the crew rushed down the aisle to distribute snack boxes.
Each passenger was given a snack box containing pastry items and a cup for hot beverages. The cake provided was delicious! For some reason, the snack boxes were all labeled "Premium Economy".
After the snack boxes were distributed, crew came down the aisle with the drink carts, offering a range of soft drinks, water and coffee/tea. I had a tea. Service by this set of rather junior crew was efficient and very friendly as compared to the previous sector.
Clouds cleared when we were nearing Mandalay.
Descending into Mandalay.
Spot the runway while we were turning for finals.
Landing in Mandalay Intl Airport Rwy17 and taxied to the gate.
View of the aircraft after disembarking. A China Eastern B738 was spotted departing for Kunming.
Both SIN and RGN originated passengers disembarked into the same terminal area. At immigration, there were signages for SIN-originated pax to proceed to the immigration counters while RGN domestic pax can exit through a separate hallway (not sure if boarding passes/documents were checked). However both domestic and international flights uses the same baggage belts.
The arrival hall.
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Mandalay City is almost 40km away from the airport and it was almost an hour's airport taxi ride into the city. Our accomodation was at Home Hotel, a rather popular 3-stars hotel in the city. Rooms were large and tastefully furnished.
After checking in, we headed to a popular local dinner place, Shan Ma Ma Restaurant, for our first dinner. This eatery is popular with both locals and foreigners, and offers Burmese Shan cuisine. For the amount of food that we ordered, the price came up to be very affordable!
Called it a night as there is barely any night life in Mandalay. The next day, it was an early start to join a day-tour. Breakfast was included in the hotel rate. The choices, though limited, was sufficient to start the day. The item I liked most was the traditional Burmese breakfast dish, Mohinga, which is a slightly spicy and flavourful soup noodles.
Morning city view from room.
First stop of the day is Mahamuni Buddha Temple Maha Myat Muni Paya is Myanmar's second holiest pilgrimage site. It is a 4-metre high Buddha statue, made of gold and decorated with precious jewels. The image was brought from Rakhine State, southeast of Mandalay. Only men are allowed to approach the Mahamuni. For 1600kyat, you can get a small pack of gold leaves to partake in the ceremonial tradition of decorating the buddha statue. Over the past century a layer of gold over 6" deep has been pressed into the body of Mahamuni. (wiki)
Next stop is U-Bein bridge, the world's longest teak bridge.
Followed by an alms receiving ceremony at a monastary.
We passed by a grand procession, which is a ceremony to inaugurate young novice monks and nuns. According to the guide, such a grand ceremony is only affordable by the wealthy.
Visit to a handicraft workshop.
Having a traditional Burmese meal. Lots of tasty side dishes, and an interesting savoury 'tea salad' as dessert.
A local temple.
Gold leaves making
Mandalay Hill ahead.
Visit to the Royal Palace. It was built in 1861 by King Mindon, to fulfil a prophecy. The palace, although destroyed in World War II, was rebuilt, and was renovated recently. In addition, while the design of the reconstruction was fairly faithful to the original, the materials used were not (metal was use instead of the original teak wood). The palace contains several pavilions and chambers. Replicas of throne rooms and chairs and Madame Tussaud style images of Kings Mindon and Thibaw with their chief consorts are on display. (Wiki)
Shwenandaw Monastery It is a monastery made entire out of teak wood with beautiful intricate carvings. It was originally part of the royal palace built by King Mindon and moved to its current location by his son, King Thibaw in the late 19th century. It is the only major building from the original wooden royal palace to have survived the bombing during World War II, and thus is the only authentic part of the royal palace which can still be seen today. (Wiki)
Kuthodaw Paya is site of the world's largest book, located at the foot of Mandalay Hill. Built by King Mingdon in the 1800s, 729 white stupas within the complex contain the complete text of the Tripitaka, Theravada Buddhism's most sacred text. (Wiki)
Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda Contains an image of the Buddha carved out of a single block of marble from the Sagyin Hill. The figures of 80 arahats or the disciples of the Buddha, are arranged around the central shrine, 20 on each side. The carving of the image was completed in 1865. (Wiki)
At the peak of Mandalay Hill for sunset.
One of the shopping centers in Mandalay, which was sadly, not very busy with many empty shops.
Dinner at Mogok Daw Shan Noodle. Its Shan noodles is amazing, as well as the very tasty dumplings.
Myanmar National Airlines
Yangon - RGN
Mandalay - MDL
It was a very pleasant short flight on Myanmar National Airlines on the RGN-MDL sector with very pleasant service and good inflight offerings. I woud have to qualms flying with MNA again if I have the chance in the future.
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