Look, it's a place you've actually heard of for a change! Though that's probably just because of that unrealistic song about the emancipated elephant. Trust me, Nellie wouldn't make it more than 10 metres down the dirt road before a 1980 Toyota Corona with no headlights smashed into her. That'd give her something to trumpety-trump about. At least wait until daylight to give yourself a fighting chance, you stupid pachyderm.
There were more pristine payas and crumbling colonial constructions to see in the old capital of Mandalay, but its most striking feature is the four-square-kilometre Royal Palace, which I was already debating over buying a ticket for before a soldier told me it was off limits anyway, making the decision a lot easier. Sod it, I went up a big hill instead.
Mandalay Palace, western 'entrance.' They didn't seem keen on me approaching the fortress. Maybe don't put a convenient bridge there then
I appreciate they've tried to add some green to the city, but these trees are just worrying
Maha Atulwaiyan Kyaungdawgyi. I went to the trouble of copying that name down, but I'm no wiser about what it is, as I wasn't willing to pay the $10 ticket. Some sort of building?
Shwenadaw Monastery, famous for being made entirely out of wood.
You know, apart from all those stone and metal bits
Kuthodaw Paya, which claims to hold the world's biggest 'book'...
Carved out on 729 marble tablets housed in individual stupas, it's certainly the least practical. If you're travelling, I'd favour the Kindle
Ananda Paya looking ravishing
I was ready to call social services, but apparently they're friends
Hitchcockian pigeon nightmare at Maha Myat Muni Paya
This temple-littered lump of ground is visible for miles, but it was bizarrely difficult finding a way up, before we came across the western steps
I later found out that this is the secret way that lets you avoid paying an entrance ticket, so I accidentally saved $10. All it took was a long walk down muddy roads and climbing 500+ steep steps. Totally worth it!
Though this thrifty victory was soured a little when I saw the opposite side has a bloody lift
I am slightly knackered in this photo