How do you describe Mandalay, Myanmar? After writing and writing on Myanmar (the place makes words pour out of you), Mandalay is the one I can’t seem to sum up. Yangon is beautiful, dilapidated, clustered, diverse. Inle is peaceful, slow, graceful. Kalaw is tucked in, inviting, slow…Every village has its own set of adjectives, but there’s a recurring theme of color, tradition, smiling faces and little hands waving from doorways of bamboo homes.

 

Mandalay Photo Journal, Myanmar

 

When I start to try and put Mandalay into such straightforward terms, to give a one-second verbal snapshot, I can’t. Because they all contradict. The first words to mind are bustling, tranquil, Old-World, modern…A city of so many different dialogues alongside one another, it’s hard to pinpoint which is speaking the loudest. It feels as though Mandalay is telling an entirely different story from block to block, each trapped in a unique moment, so that walking through the city feels like an oscillating journey through time and space. It’s hard to know what life around each new corner holds.
Luckily, I don’t have to sum it up in a couple of words. I can tell Mandalay’s stories, our stories of being there, through the few snapshots we left with, and let them do the talking. So here’s our story of this city, Mandalay, Myanmar.

 

Woman in Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Chilis in Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Zeygo Local Market in Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Cats in Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Kid on a Motorbike in Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Rice Salad in Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar: The best street food we had in Myanmar! --- The Borderless Project
Rice Salad in Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Women Selling Flowers at Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Zegyo Market, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

U-Bein Bridge in Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
U-Bein Bridge, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Buddhist Monks on U-Bein Bridge in Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
U-Bein Bridge, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Dusk near U-Bein Bridge in Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
U-Bein Bridge, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Southeast Asia on a Shoestring at the U-Bein Bridge from the cover! Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
U-Bein Bridge, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Sunset View from the U-Bein Bridge in Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
U-Bein Bridge, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

The Borderless Project at U-Bein Bridge, Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
U-Bein Bridge, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Monks in Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Thinga Yazar Channel, Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Monk's sandals outside a local monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Nuns Doing Morning Alms in Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Mandalay, Myanmar

 

Mandalay Palace and Fort, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Mandalay Palace and Fort, Myanmar

 

Burmese Wedding Photos at the Mandalay Fort and Palace, Mandalay, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Mandalay Palace and Fort, Myanmar

 

Mandalay Palace and Fort, Myanmar --- The Borderless Project
Mandalay Palace and Fort, Myanmar

 

Mandalay remains an indescribable spectrum of Myanmar; A place where contradicting extremes manage to harmoniously co-exist. We may have left, but we’re still fumbling for the right words to capture it. How do you begin to describe Mandalay in one word?

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