One of my rituals when in Mandalay is taking a group of kids from a neighborhood on 90th Street, near one of the teashops I patronize, on a field trip somewhere in the area. In the past two years we’ve gone to Mingun, Amarapura, Pyin U Lwin, Paleik, Inwa, and Monywa. This time around we stuck closer to town, going to Yankin Hill, which is located only about 30 minutes from Mandalay.
Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot to see at Yankin Hill, but it provided enough diversions to entertain the 16 children and yours truly for a half day. In addition to the scenic views at the top of the big hill/mountain, there is a petting zoo with several deer, a monastery where a monk tends to a few hundred frisky monkeys, several pagodas with Buddha statues, a few caves, and supposedly a waterfall. There was even a colorful ogre statue that little Zin Ko took a fancy to, insisting that I take a photo of him posing in front of it.
After determining that visiting the waterfall would require too lengthy a walk — and with the oppressive heat on this day that wasn’t an enticing prospect — the kids opted to cool off by swimming at the huge public pool back in Mandalay afterwards. Following that, we had a late lunch and then headed back to 90th Street to recuperate from the brief but exhausting excursion. Except for one semi-scary accident — one of the boys took a nasty tumble on a stairway at Yankin Hill that ended with a big lump on his forehead and a sprained arm — the day went smoothly. The children were their usual polite, playful, and delightful selves.