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Published: March 17th 2011
I caught the bus from Mandalay to Bagan at 8am and for the first time there were more tourists on the bus than locals. After a couple of hours we stopped for a toilet stop in a small town while the driver and his assistant changed a flat tyre. Four hours later along a bumpy road we arrived at Nyaung U which is where most people stay to see the temples of Bagan. Found some accommodation for $10 a night, had something to eat, and then had a look at a large temple complex in town. On the way back to my hotel I ran into Jessie and Hilary, my Canadian friends who I had spent quite a bit of time with the previous couple of weeks. That night we caught up with each other at a tea shop and said our farewells as we are going different directions after Bagan.
The following morning my horse and cart that I booked the night before were waiting at my hotel to take me around the more popular temples of the 2000 or so dotted around the area. It was obvious right from the start that this was the most touristy place
in Myanmar with many stalls selling souvenirs, t-shirts etc at a lot of the temples. At many of the temples young people attach themselves to you and give you a bit of information about the temple hoping that you buy their paintings or something from their family’s lacquerware shop afterwards. I actually enjoyed seeing the temples more than i thought i would, the temples are very similar but the sheer number of them is amazing. I viewed the sunset from the top of a temple in a very central location with about 20 other tourists.
Next morning I hopped on a bicycle about 5.30am so I could witness the sunrise from a different temple than the night before. As soon as I started riding I noticed that my tyre was fairly flat. By the time I got close to the temple it had very little air in it. I was struggling to find the temple I was looking for, but then ran into a young local who led myself and an older Canadian to a temple where we were the only ones. After a nice sunrise the young guy took me to his family shack and pumped up my
tyre for me, so I eventually bought one of his paintings as a thank you for helping me out. I rode back to the hotel, had some breakfast, and then walked around town for the rest of the day trying to stay out of the heat.
The following day I boarded my overnight bus back to Yangon. The road wasn’t so bad so I was able to get a couple of hours sleep before eventually arriving at 4.30am in the morning. I took a shared taxi with locals from the bus station to my hotel, checked in, had breakfast and a short sleep before having another look around town. That night I had some food from a little stand on the side of the road and then packed for my flight to Thailand very early the next morning.
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