Bagan – Beauty in the Desert

Bagan is a stunning site with over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries. It is incredibly vast and beautiful, and is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists all over the world. There are small pagodas that are almost falling apart, to massive temple complexes decorated with gold and precious stones!

The sunset/sunrise around Bagan is breathtaking. I checked out a sunset, and my buddy Jon got up early for a sunrise. Check out the photos below. Lots of people rent a hot air balloon to get a view from the sky – but at a price of $300US, we passed! Even without the balloon, the views are stunning!

There are lots of fun ways to check out the temples. Remember that the area is very large, so you’ll need some form of transportation. Jon rented a moto, and I hired a local horse carriage driver. He spoke some English and gave me a great overview of the area’s history and key temples. I was glad because some of the temples have paintings inside, but there are no working lights there. He lent me his flashlight and I got to enjoy the beautiful paintings!

If you’re wondering how we got to Bagan, we flew from Chiang Mai (Thailand), to Mandalay (a city in central Myanmar). We spent a couple of days in Mandalay, which was quite interesting. There are some very nice temples and bridges around the city. While visiting an old palace in Mandalay, there’s a large sign indicating where “foreigners” are allowed to go. Problem was that I really had to use the washroom, which was in the forbidden zone. I approached a soldier holding an AK-47, and with charades, asked if I could use the washroom. He nodded and I was relieved! The adventures of travelling, hehe.

It was quite easy to get a visa for Myanmar – you just apply on the government visa website and pay $50. It’s easy to get around the country via bus or train. It’s very travel friendly! Foreigners are only allowed to stay in foreigner licensed accommodations. This drives up the price a bit, but keeps the standards higher.  We’ll be spending about 3 weeks in Myanmar. Lots of adventures to look forward to!

Cheers, Shawn

Photos by Jon Lang

Asia Trip – Early 2016

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