The next day we got up later than usual to have a good breakfast and we headed to the starting point of the tour. We found we were using mountain bikes to help us with the rough terrain. We also found out that my mother had never ridden a bike with gears before and had no idea how to operate them. It proved to be a challenging day for all of us. The first point on the bike tour was a little hut in the village which made lacer bowls for the monks to collect food. The main base of the bowl is made from old oil drums which is first cleaned, then cut, then covered in clay then painted in the lacer finish. The next stop on the bike tour was a hut making and selling traditional Myanmarese cigarettes. After this we rode for a considerable distance and stopped at different archaeological sites. I felt like a cross between Nathan Drake, the video game character from the uncharted series and Lara Croft, the video game and movie character from the games and movies.
Theres something about these old sites which I find fascinating. Theres a certain allure to these places which really draws me in. Most of the time its the stories behind the creation of such places and how it is survived the test of time. At one point we also took the bikes on a river crossing and biked about 7 km off road and through towns to get to our lunch stop. After lunch my brother and mother elected not to continue the bike tour but I decided to try. After about 20km I couldn’t handle it, my knees were aching and the bumpiness of the road almost broke me. I do have to say, I got to bike on some amazing riverside roads which were hilly and windy, it made for some amazing photo opportunities.
After the bike tour we went to a temple which was not fully completed. Only the base of the pagoda was completed and it was over 100 ft tall and if they finished the stupa it would’ve been over 500 feet tall. It was never completed as earthquakes damaged the main foundations. We also went to a nearby pagoda where some children were very persistent to sell us offerings to give to the Buddha statue. After the pagoda visits we took a boat back to Mandalay and enjoyed a beer whilst cruising back to the city. Then for dinner our guide took us to an Indian area of the city where they had an Indian vegetarian place. The restaurant reminded me of some of the small stores in Singapore and India and the food was very tasty.