Blogs from Bagan, Mandalay Region, Burma, Asia


Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan March 2nd 2014

The river is a main thoroughfare in Burma flowing from north of Mandalay down through Yangon to the delta...2170 km. As it is winter (?) there and the dry season the water levels are down significantly and that impacts travel . People who choose to travel from Yangon north have to catch a bus for part of the journey . It will get drier still as the rains won't come until May . Bagan is an ancient citystate that was founded in the 800's but it's glory days began in the early 11C and continued for 250yrs . What is left is the remnants of 13000 religious structures ... 2200 remain in various states of repair , reconstuction and piles of brick vaguely resembling a (?) ... A fascinating place which is THE tourist locale in ... read more
Dry Season
Ananda Market

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 3rd 2014

Before coming into Burma I had discovered a place called the Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary which was home to a large wild population of Eld's deer as well as other ungulates. Eld's deer used to be widespread across most of the southeast Asian mainland, from India across Burma and Thailand to southern China,but now it is extinct almost everywhere. The Indian subspecies was reduced to 14 animals in 1975 and with protection has built up to almost 200 today. The natural Thailand, Chinese and Vietnamese deer are probably completely gone (there are some introduced populations) and in Laos there are only one or two surviving groups. Cambodia still has some good numbers and Burma is the last stronghold. The Burmese subspecies is called the thamin or “golden deer”. I couldn't find out much about Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 1st 2014

Bagan in central Burma is one of the world’s greatest archeological sites, a sight to rival Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat but without the visitors. The setting is sublime – a verdant 26 square-mile plain, part-covered in stands of palm and tamarind caught in a bend of the lazy-flowing Irrawaddy river and framed by the hazy silver-grey of distant mountains. Rising from the plain’s canopy of green are temples, dozens of them, hundreds of them, beautiful, other-worldly silhouettes that were built by the kings of Bagan between 1057 and 1287, when their kingdom was swept away by earthquakes and Kublai Khan and his invading Mongols. Some 2,230 of an original 4,450 temples survive, a legacy of the Buddhist belief that to build a temple was to earn merit. Most are superbly preserved or have been ... read more
Thatbyinnyu Temple
Temples of Bagan
Temples near Bulethi Pagoda

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan December 29th 2013

My first port of call after Yangon was a place called Bagan in central Burma where I would be looking for dry-country birds. There are night buses and day buses from Yangon to Bagan. Night buses can be good because they are your accommodation and transport all rolled into one, but I had heard from a few people how terrible this particular night bus was – it wasn't a bus where you could actually get any sleep. I knew it couldn't be any worse than the 20-hour nightmare-bus I took in northern Sulawesi one time with blaring dance music, stops every twenty minutes to let passengers on and off, people and freight packed in like sardines, chicken-pox-infected children rubbing themselves against everything and everybody they could – but nevertheless I decided the day bus would ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan November 17th 2013

It's Wednesday, Nov 13 and we are leaving Yangon. First, we need to change some more money and then we are going to our favorite restaurant, Swel for a goodbye lunch. The waiters at Swel have been very attentive and looked after us for the past three days. On our way to the restaurant I am almost bowled over by a 10 year old on a giant bike with no brakes. It could have been seriously nasty, but even though he hit me there is no damage. We again have fried prawn and a sweet and sour chicken. The prawn is amazing there are 10 giant prawn and the whole meal cost us around $15.00. After this we wander back to the hotel and read our kindles, while we wait for our taxi to take us ... read more
Bagan Bullock Cart
Bagan Sunset
Burma, Bagan  Day  4 , Nov 2013 018


Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan October 22nd 2013

Thanks to Mum and Ohnmar’s inside knowledge we timed our visit to Bagan to coincide with the full moon. The place was a buzz with festivities, weddings, and pilgrims paying homage at pagodas. The town of Nyuang U was alight with candles and lanterns, the sound of fire crackers could be heard everywhere. The festivities would continue for the next 3 or 4 days, the children had school holidays and the workers also had time off to enjoy themselves as well. One thing we noticed was that anywhere a large crowd was gathered everyone was so peaceful and happy, in Sydney in any large crowd there are always problems fuelled by alcohol, but not here, there was a pervading air of loving-kindness everywhere we went. We spent four nights here and had an interesting time enjoying ... read more
night 1
night 1
4 Tooth Relic Pagodas

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan September 22nd 2013

It's no surprise that Aung San Suu Kyi is treated with great reverence here, but I have been surprised by how openly she is idolised. Her portrait - almost always alongside that of her father, Aung San - appears on walls in shops, cafes, houses, tourist offices. Her image is for sale everywhere (I saw her likeness embroidered in sparkly thread on a black velvet wall hanging yesterday, for sale at a temple), as are DVDs of her life and speeches, and everyone speaks openly of how wonderful she is. Really it amounts to a personality cult, but it means a lot to the Myanmese to have someone on an international stage who they feel they can be proud of, and, I guess, a symbol of hope for the future. I am sure that Aung San ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan September 15th 2013

Bagan is the number one tourist destination in Myanmar, so the main town is dotted with Western-style shops, bars and cafes aimed at tourists - very welcome after the difficult journey to get here. The draw in Bagan is the ancient temples. Across an area a few miles square there are hundreds of these temples and pagodas, most in a similar architectural style, and mostly well-preserved (or, rather, well-renovated, though apparently some of the renovation is considered insensitive). Some are individually spectacular but it is the effect of seeing hundreds of them across the landscape that make the trip here worthwhile. We did not enjoy the main large temples as we were mobbed by sellers and touts the moment we arrived, but it is easy to get away from these and just as enjoyable to explore ... read more
Bagan temples
Farming with oxen and cart
View over Bagan

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan September 14th 2013

Today we planned to travel from Pyay to Bagan, but things did not quite go to plan. The first choice was to go by train - the station is outside the town, but we managed to find a pick-up to take us there. On arrival the station was unmanned, but after discussions amongst the station vendors, the station master materialised. He explained that there should be a train every night to Bagan, but unfortunately there was last night an accident on the line - the train "might" run tonight and "probably" tomorrow, but he could not be sure. So we then took a scooter taxi (two of us crammed on the back) to the bus station, where they explained that the only coach leaving today for Bagan is a very basic, non air-conditioned rickety old bus, ... read more
Transport to the station
The bus station

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan August 9th 2013

"On August 9th we flew to Bagan, Myanmar. When we got there we took a horse ride to the temples. One of them had bats. I can prove it because I stepped in bat poop because we cannot wear socks and shoes in the temples. My dad downloaded an app on my ipod and we had to find these pictures or buddhas. In Bagan, there were 100s of temples. Then we ate at 'Be kind to the animals on the moon'. It was a vegetarian restaurant, but I am not a vegetarian and neither is my dad. It was good though. Then we went to other temples. What I liked about the temples was that the Buddhas had different poses. Some sit, some stand, and some lye down. Most of them sit. Then we went back ... read more
Taking it all in
My fish with lots of bones
Looking Cool in my Poncho

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