Greetings from Myanmar, land of giant golden stupas.

I came in overland from Thailand through Mawlamyine, where there is an ancient stupa visited by Kipling and referenced in his poem Mandalay:  “By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ eastward to the sea …”

Neither the temple nor Mawlamyine/Moulmein seem to have changed much since Kipling’s day.

Here in Yangon (Rangoon), I visited the giant Shwedagon Paya complex, which has a 326 ft tall central golden stupa. It sits atop a hill, looking like a great golden mountain from afar, aglow in the early morning sun. It is truly a wonder to behold! Stupendous!

According to the temple authorities, backed up by photos, the very topmost tip of the Shwedagon Paya stupa has various golden ornaments and gems, topped by a 76 carat diamond. If I put a gem like that so high up, I’d be very nervous of magpies…

Tomorrow I’m off on the road to Mandalay and then to Bagan, for many more stupas!