journey to the north Day-5 Part-2 to MaLe and SanPaeNaGo

dear all

you would be thinking why MaLe and SanPeNaGo has been taken as a cutting point of this part of my journey from Tagaung to Mandalay

most Bamars would have heard of SanPeNaGo but few would have heard of MaLae

both are historical places: MaLae, since the Pyu period, whereas, SanPaeNaGo would be an early Bamar settlement in the northernmost place of the Bagan nation and furthest from the capital so that it has been included in the well known saying: NyaungOo KaBarr Pyo….SanPeNaGo Ga. NaO PaungKyoe….

SanPaeNaGo is referred to because it is the furthest place of the Bamar nation at the time the saying was first invented; the border town, beyond which is not Bamar territory until Anawratha extended the nation

most Bamars have heard of Tagaung, but few about MaLae, which too is part of our early history and cultural heritage. All know that the first Tagaung dynasty was founded by AbiYarZar, who arrived from northern India. It was in the pre Buddha period. He had 2 sons, KanYarZar Gyee and Kan YarZar Nge. After KanYarZar Gyee lost in building a ManDat overnight, he went off with his followers and settled finally in Rakhine, at Dhanyawaddy. The current northern Rakhines are their descendents.

KanYarZar Nge ruled Tagaung and during the reign of the 33rd king Beindaka, the Tayokes (not Chinese, because the Chinese have not settled in Yunnan at the time yet; they would be Nanchaos or others who lived there in those early times) attacked Tagaung and the king Beindaka had to escape Tagaung and and settled in MaLae. There, he died and the Pyus divided into 3 groups. Queen NargaHsein continued to stay in Malae until an Indian prince who escaped from northern India reached MaLae. It was during the time of Buddha. On finding that both are of TharKeWin MinnMyos, they married and then established the 2nd Tagaung dynasty.

This is the history of MaLae, which most do not know.

During the Tagaung 33rd king Beindaka‘s rule, chinese invaded and destroyed 1st Tagaung. Beindaka retreated to MaLe chaung and died there

when the former King died in exile at MaLe, the Pyus divide into 3 groups

one stayed on at MaLe with the queen

another went upriver

and the third went down south, to settle near middle Myanmar, Yamethin, KyaukHse,

2nd Tagaung. Built during Buddha’s time by DazaYarzar who came from India, married Nargasein queen of last king of 1st Tagaung dynasty. 17kings. The 17th king ThadoeMahaRaza had 2 sons MahaThambawa and SulaThambawa

The Chinese that invaded and destroyed 1st Tagaung during the Tagaung 33rd king Beindaka‘s rule are not the Chinese in the current concept, but the Nanchaos / Shan / or the earlier tribes of current day Yunnan: Tayokes (as they were called since then) as you will see below that the Shan (Nanchao) were the ones who ruled the area even in the 8th century A.D.; the Chinese not yet conquered the Nanchao and settled in Yunnan till the 13th century when Nanchao was destroyed.

749 A.D._ Shans (Nanchao) invaded and occupied Rakhine. Ko Lo Fend (749-779) overran Upper Ayeyarwaddy.

757 A.D._King Ko-lo-feng began invasion of upper Burma, a process that would continue until 763. As a result of the invasion, the Mon kingdom of Pyu began to collapse. In subsequent years, Nanchao formed an alliance with Tibet, and in concert with that ally, incorporated territories in southern Sichuan

I have read of MaLae and heard of SanPaeNaGo, but it was only when we reached there that I came to know that they are face to face on the opposite banks of the AyeYarWaddy and just north of the beginning of the 3rd MyitKyinn. It came to me as a surprise


lunch at Tagaung foreshore

Near 11:00, I felt we should have lunch as the boat can arrive anytime. I observed the shop owner serving rice and curry so I ordered rice with pork. Ako had HtaMin HseHsann. He had lived in Magway for 2 years and is used to AhNyar HtaMin thokes which are entirely different from AukPyay HtaMin thokes and not actual HtaMin thokes at all


lunch at Tagaung foreshore

Our lunch at Tagaung foreshore was a memorable event, as with many unforgettable things we met at Tagaung. We got there at the usual time when boats arrive from Katha, 10:00. We stayed at the Htamin Hsaing. It served AhThokes but we already had KaukHnyin Paung and Ah.Kyaw breakfast where we stayed (not served, but bought from a vendor of course). The shop owners were preparing food. I ordered instant coffee but they do not stock it and instead told me that it can be obtained in the shop nearby. But I did not want to have coffee and I ordered it just to patronize them.

Near 11:00, I felt we should have lunch as the boat could arrive anytime. I observed the shop owner serving rice and curry to others so I ordered rice with pork. Ako had HtaMin HseHsann. he had lived in Magway for 2 years and is used to AhNyar HtaMin thokes which are entirely different from AukPyay HtaMin thokes and not really HtaMin thokes at all as they do not mix (MaNae Buu) up properly

Pyone, a very choosy person also had rice and curry after tasting what I was having, which means a lot as to the quality of the food served


while we were having lunch, we heard a shout saying that a boat is coming. It is the Inland Waterway boat which should have arrived the evening before. A few moments later, there is another shout that the ShutPyay is coming. We were told to take our time eating as it will be some time before it arrives.

We went down to the riverside with our luggage and waited. The HtaMin The, having prepared a tray of curry and rice also came down. The ShutPyay arrived first, having overtaken the IWT boat. Someone waved to the ShutPyay and it slowed down and turned towards us. Apparently, Tagaung is not a regular stop and it is only when there is someone wanting to get down at Tagaung or someone from Tagaung wanting to catch a ride that the ShutPyay stops. As its fore touched the bank, I asked whether they would bring down the plank (KoneBaung) or whether we would have to climb up. They placed the KoneBaung and we went up with others. The ShutPyay immediately drew up the KoneBaung and we left Tagaung in no time. Maybe it took 3 minutes or so. That’s all. Everything was in a hurried state and we had to go along the side to the front entrance, enter and then go over everything to get to the middle passage of the 2 rows of double benches. We found places and settled down. I had anticipated such a state and limited the luggage to the maximum we 3 could carry in one time, the minimum we had on all our travels.


The ShutPyay went ahead and it was only then that I realized that the HtaMin The’s customers are to be the ones on the IWT boat. Not the ShutPyay passengers. The boat ride is easy and smooth unlike the Bhamo Tagaung bus ride.

You will see the IWT boat still coming in at Tagaung as we went off and Tagaung foreshore in the distance.


the opposite bank of Tagaung



the ShutPyay went ahead in a fast pace


on the Shut Pyay

We had to stay at separate places as all double benches were taken by a person each. My place was  behind Pyone.  Many prefer to travel lying down instead of sitting in seats, as in the rear of the boat or in the front. They travel with blankets or huge towels to be used as blankets, sleep on the way, making use of time in the best possible way.


boats on the Ayeyarwaddy, modern and traditional


a convoy of boats


life on the Ayeyarwaddy


a river side village


the speed of the Shut Pyay is quite considerable


a boat came towards the shutpyay

At one place, the ShutPyay slowed down in the middle of the AyeYarWaddy and I observed a boat coming towards us.


2 people boarded the ShutPyay

It  ran alongside and 2 people boarded the ShutPyay. In some places like this, the ShutPyay does not even go to the bank even to get more passengers.


It was cold

We changed places. I was in ako’s former place and Pyone more behind where someone had taken off. The wind must have made us cold as we both were wearing warm clothes.


we grounded for the first time since we boarded.

The boat had grounded once between Katha and Tagaung. It was why it was over an hour late.


the crew tried to get the boat off with engine power


It took about half an hour to be off again after some maneuvering

the passengers has to help in getting the ShutPyay off

some pulled on the rope attached to the anchor which the crew placed some distance away

others pushed on the 2 poles

after several tries, and with the engine power, when the engine was repaired, we got off the sand bank


ako with P in the rear

we each got a bench

and many travelled lying down on the seat or on the wooden floor at the rear (there is another in front too)


Pyone on the ShutPyay

many travelled lying down at the rear, either sleeping or just lying down; they travelled with blankets or large towels



boat on dock

it would be till the next rainy season, while the owners repaired it



it dated from the time of Buddha

During the Tagaung 33rd king Beindaka’s rule, chinese invaded and destroyed 1st Tagaung. Beindaka retreated to MaLe chaung and died here


Queen NargaHsein continued to stay in Malae until an Indian prince DazaYarzar who escaped from northern India reached MaLae.


DazaYarzar and NargaHsein established the 2nd Tagaung dynasty

On finding that both are of TharKeWin MinnMyos, DazaYarzar and NargaHsein married and then established the 2nd Tagaung dynasty


the natural jetty at MaLae


the pagoda we had passed before we arrived at the jetty


vendors waiting to sell lunch

it was already 3 pm but the passengers who began from Katha and MoMeik in the morning did not have lunch yet unless they had brought it with them


I got onshore to get a look at what they were selling

business was brisk as people bought lunch packets

I bought dinner for two

P did not like what they offered

I had pork which I usually avoid at shops as they contain too much fat but the pork here does not contain fat

maybe they are boars (taw wet), not pork


soon, the vendors have nothing much left to sell


MaLae jetty has phone service

I was surprised to hear that phone service is available

a vendor was shouting that anyone who want to phone can do so with the cdma phone

Malae has come a long way from the days of Beindaka, NargaHsein and DazaYarZar and is now in the 21st centuary


bathing and washing on the riverside

life on the AyeYarWaddy is the same, people depending on it for drinking, cooking, washing, bathing and transport


SanPae NaGo on the opposide side (east) of the river

SanPae NaGo is directly on the opposide side (east) of the river with the east yoma (ah.shay. yoma) in the distance


NyaungOo KaBarr Pyo….SanPeNaGo Ga. NaO PaungKyoe….

northernmost place of the Bagan nation until the time of Anawratha


SanPae NaGo

the higher part of the eastern yoma is seen here

the boat stayed a long time at MaLae, even after all business transactions have been finished P1170335

the beginning of the 3rd MyitKyinn

just downriver from MaLae is the beginnng of the 3rd MyitKyinn

we are about to experience the only one of the 3 MyitKyinns from within the AyeYarWaddy, having missed the 1st MyitKyinn at HsinBo completely and having only to observe the 2nd MyitKyinn near ShweGu from the bus, thereby missing the famous “parrot rock”


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2 Responses to “journey to the north Day-5 Part-2 to MaLe and SanPaeNaGo”

  1. Harry Hpone Thant Says:

    thanks for sharing history of Sampanago. I had passed by it also but not landed there. Been at Malae, though only the foreshore area due to time constraints.

    • nyiwin Says:

      ko Harry, I also have not been ashore SanPaeNaGo and only been of the MaLae foreshore for about an hour while the ShutPyay stopped for late lunch at 3 pm, which most passengers who had not brought lunch had as the only meal of that day
      we had lunch at Tagaung foreshore before the late ShutPyay arrived so we bought dinner packet and had dinner at proper time
      the ShutPyay grounded near Mingun, this time for good and we had to spend the night on it, the only consolation being having saved a night’s rent at the hotel
      it was drawn off the next day by an elder sister cargo boat only after being lightened by moving us to that boat after daylight

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