Marble Mountain

Myanmar (Burma)

The best marble in the country comes from Marble Mountain (otherwise known by the village name of Sakyin), 36 miles north of Mandalay (on the way to the jade mines at Mogok). You can see the most prominent of the three hillocks, a greyish-white ridge covered in a hazy, chalky cloud, from some spots on the Ayeyarwady River. Armies of buddha statues (plus dragons and other figures meant for export to China), are produced in the town at the mountain's foot.

Many of the statues are unfinished and sent to craftspeople in the workshops in Mandalay for finishing. Not surprisingly, it can be challenging to breathe, especially for those with any respiratory issues. Buy a mask from any Mandalay pharmacy before making the trip. During the rainy season, the area turns into a freshwater inland ocean that you can tour by boat.