Previously KNOT JUST PICS. Same shit, different name.

A Pagoda Festival in Mandalay

After a very early morning wake up to take a hot air balloon ride over the temples of Bagan, and a long drive to Mandalay, we were pretty pooped. As we chilled in our downtown hotel room, we began to hear some strange, almost dischordant music and karaoke style singing drift in through our windows. At the time we figured it was just one of the quirks of the new city we were in. The sun was setting, and we set out to try and track down a vegetarian restaurant for a Christmas Eve dinner. Our trusty Lonely Planet guide book had described a great one in an old colonial manor house in the heart of the city, but we got lost trying to find it.

A few years before, after a disastrous incident in Cusco where we left both our cameras at our hostel as we were just “popping out” to get a quick meal after we got back from the Inca Trail (ironically, also on Christmas Eve), we stumbled onto a massive Christmas festival with nothing but my iPhone to document it with. After that, we ALWAYS take at least one camera with us wherever we go – which on this night in Mandalay was a good call.

Getting lost in a city based on a grid plan is quite an accomplishment, but its the best thing that could have happened as we stumbled into the middle of what we would later find out to be a Pagoda Festival.

We discovered some roads closed to traffic around the local Buddhist temple which was brightly lit and covered in offerings and was surrounded by pop up food stalls, a stage with singers (and puppets!), a carousel, other fun fair rides, and a large crowd around a game being played that we found out was called “Cane Ball” and resembled “one bounce”. Once making our way through this large crowd we found ourselves enthralled my some insane acrobatics by these teams of players who bounced the ball between them while a group of old men played a cacophony on various instruments, the pace of which the players had to play to. We were enthralled by this for way longer than we expected and eventually ventured out and sampled all of the street foods we could, our quest for the restaurant long since forgotten.

Mandalay-PagodaFestival-006 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-007 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-008 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-009 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-010 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-011 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-013 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-014 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-015 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-016 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-017 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-018 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-019 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-020 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-021

This thin, crispy pancake looking thing was filled with coriander, chickpeas, tomato and chilli and is something that even months later we would kill to eat again!

Mandalay-PagodaFestival-022 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-023 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-024 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-025 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-026

Street food in Myanmar is a big deal, even when there is not a Pagoda Festival to accompany it. The Burmese have a culture of taking their meals in public, communal environments, and many people eat on the street instead of cooking at home.

Mandalay-PagodaFestival-027 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-028 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-029 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-030 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-031

These balls of doughey deliciousness is another one of those snacks we wish we could eat again! We ate them all over Myanmar from a variety of street vendors, but none were as good as those from this incredibly friendly lady, who with the help of lots of smiles and sign language between the two of us, I managed to get the veggie friendly spicy balls of amazingness.

Mandalay-PagodaFestival-032 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-033

I’m not kidding these pancake things were heavenly, we went back TWICE to get more they were so good…

Mandalay-PagodaFestival-034 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-035 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-036 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-037 Mandalay-PagodaFestival-038

One thought on “A Pagoda Festival in Mandalay”

  1. Jman says:

    Great pics guys! Such cool lighting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Andy & Szerdi on Instagram

  • It may be quite apparent from looking at our feed, but we LOVE black and white photos! Their timelessness just rocks our world! The love affair definitely start back when we both used to develop our own photos in a darkroom, and I guess that love has just grown stronger with time, just like Pippa and G right here ☺️
  • Kel and Rich did their wedding their way, and because of that, it was just too damn magical!
  • A photo you can feel and hear. The joy, overwhelming happiness and excitement on Pippa’s face is just so tangible! Plus if you’re not this happy after just marrying your human, what are you even doing?
  • A magical palette of warmth. Pippa and Graeme, your love was worth the wait 🔥
  • Just close your eyes and breathe deeply... not something you get many opportunities to do on an insanely busy and high energy wedding day - but so important to  do to re-centre yourselves!
  • Pippa and G. What a day!
  • It’s Women’s Day here, so here’s to all the incredible female relationships of building each other up and those lifelong bonds of having a sisters back 💜
  • Channeling her inner vintage Hollywood vibes 🔥
  • That winter sunset light tho 😱
  • When you just need to get a better look at what’s going on! Kids at wedding usually bring such a fun energy to things!
  • Marrying someone you can laugh with is the best thing ever 😍
  • Michelle and Kelvin. 
Could you guys be any cooler and hotter?! (That’s a trick question cuz obvs not 😍)

We Choose Adventure on Instagram

  • This weekend exceeded all expectations! 🙌 Sooo many good bands, the friendliest people, and delicious veggie food. The mud and rain even made it a proper English festival experience 🌧 This was our first @downloadfest and we WILL be back! Thank you @the_szerd for enjoying the same noisy music as me and always being my band buddy 😘
  • This summer in Europe has been epic for bands so far! Another one from our “must-see” band list. Alice in Chains 🔥 Definite highlights were this song, Them Bones, and Nutshell, which Jerry Cantrell dedicated to Layne Stayley. Totes emosch 😥 @aliceinchains
  • I played bass for a long time and this man was my bass crush 😍 #justinchancellor was worth every second of the 20 year wait to watch this man play 🙌 ... and I got his plectrum ! That’s getting framed.
  • Tool 🙌 I waited 20 years to see this band and it finally happened last night in Berlin, of all places. They were a massive influence on my own band and were actually one of the reasons @the_szerd and I started dating over 15 years ago. I even played in a Tool tribute band back in the day. Excellent times!
  • People watching from the shade.
  • Exploring the narrow streets and alleyways of Stone Town, Zanzibar. This place reminds us so much of the old part of Jeddah with the African/Arab cross culture and architecture.
  • It may be “sun’s out, guns out”, but it’s “balls out” at sunset when the heat finally let’s up.
  • Excellent vibe on what’s left of the beach at high tide.
  • Ocean and people watching from a shadey spot. The guy on the right, dressed in tradition Masai garb, is David. We had along chat about tattoos before he sold me a bracelet.
  • Dear god it’s hot. But also quite nice.
  • Hello Zanzibar 🤗 Can’t wait to get in that water!
  • We’re a hazard when we’re walking the streets cus we’re always looking up and bumping into people. Obsessed with the beautiful Dutch architecture!

These are some of the awesome blogs we've been featured on


Website designed by us and custom built by Andy. Check out his website company Andy Stent - Wordpress Website Development for more info.