Blogs from Bagan, Mandalay Region, Burma, Asia

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Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan December 17th 2018

We are both exhausted after a fantastic day. We woke up at 440am in order to be ready for a 515 pick up by ‘Golden Eagles’, a ballooning company. Our hostel does free flow tea & coffee so we could at least enjoy a hot drink whilst waiting for our minibus. Once picked up we were taken, in the pitch dark, to some fields where there were multiple balloons being prepared for flight. All 3 companies in the area take off from here, the other 2 being ‘balloons over bagan’ and ‘oriental ballooning’. This meant we were met with fields of burners being checked - suddenly seeing huge flames lighting up the sky from different parts of the fields. Our group was ushered towards a table where we sat down and were given tea and pastries ... read more
Inflating the balloons with cold air
Inflating the balloons with cold air
Warming the air

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan December 16th 2018

Despite having been woken up overnight to torrential rain when our alarm went off at 520am it was fortunately dry. By the time we left the hostel the clouds were clearing and we could see the stars. Walking along the dusty track towards the viewpoint in the dark the sun started to tinge the sky red and we could soon pick out temples across the plain. Soon after walking past the temples people used to watch the sunrise from (now shut), we started to see other people arriving. At first a few e-bikes and tuktuks passed us, then a couple of cars, then some coaches. Coaches, along a single lane dirt track. This was not what we were expecting. By the time we rounded the corner and saw the viewpoint we weren’t surprised to see hundreds ... read more
Balloons above Bagan
Balloons above Bagan
Arched doorways and murals

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan December 15th 2018

Today was long, hot and tiring but very enjoyable. We woke late and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on the rooftop of our hostel. There were finally beautiful blue skies and even at 9am it was very warm in the sun. Last night we finally had good enough WiFi to download the app ‘Map.me’. We first came across this trekking in Nepal where Robin had it on his phone and it helped us out on a number of occasions (unfortunately we still had to use compass bearings at other times). We found it recommended on a blog for Bagan as unlike google maps it had all of the paths and tracks marked out. I cannot recommend this enough if you are travelling - it’s been ace today and even has annotations about some of the temples on. ... read more
Ananda
Ananda
Thabyinyu

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan December 14th 2018

Firstly, yes, a day bus from inle lake to bagan exists, and it’s a coach not a mini bus. Googling it I couldn’t find any evidence of it’s existence so I was pleased to find it. It does make for a slightly dull day to report though... We woke up early to more rain so we could grab breakfast and pack before catching the bus to Bagan. I hope it stops raining soon! Most of the buses on offer seem to be night buses but arrive at about 4am which is rather miserable when hotel check in isn’t until 2pm. Unlike the bus between Yangon and Mandalay there isn’t a new highway across the country between inle lake and bagan which means it’s very bumpy and windy and I suspect not conducive to sleep. The other ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 25th 2018

A relaxing 2 day cruise on the RV Kindat Pandaw downstream on the Ayeyarwady River transported us from Mandalay to Bagan - famous for the 3800 Buddhist Temples and Stupas in the area. On arriving in Bagan the vistas were amazing with numerous brick-built Stupas, with many different shapes, tall and thin, short and squat, bell-shaped or pointed, scattered apparently randomly across the countryside. As we slowly made our way along narrow sandy tracks on a horse and carriage we watched Stupa after Stupa pass serenely by and occasionally a special dazzling golden pagoda would be spotted in the distance. We would stop at occasional temples where 13th Century Buddha Statues would be found within small central chambers. In addition to the culture we also visited a local village, colourful markets, a lacquerware workshop, watched hot-air ... read more
Market trader with Thanaka on her face
RV - Kindat Pandaw - Our boat for the Ayeyarwady River Cruise
Boat activity on the Ayeyarwady River

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 17th 2018

Wednesday 17th January 2018 Alarm goes off at 5:30am and by 6:15am we were sat in the breakfast room having some tea and toast whilst awaiting our transport to the bus station. At exactly 6:30am our taxi arrived and we loaded up and headed off out of the city to the Aung Mingalar Bus Station. It’s rush hour so you can never tell how long a journey may take, fortunately it was a traffic flowing day. Arriving at the bus station we were so pleased we asked to be dropped off at our bus companies office....it is a massive place and we would never have found it on our own. Retrieved our tickets and went to the check in counter - that’s when things got a little bit concerning. 😮 It seems that our company JJ ... read more
“Fresh Meat!”😂
Fish for sale.
Pork with 20 or 30 flies sir!

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 13th 2018

Leaving Bagan we were taken almost 50km away to the magnificent setting of Mount Popa. Without Joe'staxi service (!) we would never had gone there but we are so pleased that we did. Day trips go from Bagan which for many people is the only way of getting there. Our first stop was the stunning Popa Mountain Resort where we sat on their wooden deck and drank ridiculously expensive coffee admiring the view over the plains, and the nearby volcanic peak topped by Taung Kalat monastery, our post-coffee destination. The coffee was most welcome because we had been up so early to see the sun rise over Bagan's temples. It also gave us the necessary kick to begin our climb! Back down the hill we began our ascent of Taung Kalat. As ... read more
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Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 12th 2018

Bagan is truly breathtaking. There's no doubting what an amazing place it is. However, the problem with an amazing place is the crowds it attracts, and Bagan is no exception. It's not difficult to escape them though, and we managed to do so with remarkable ease. Our journey from Mandalay took three and a half hours thanks to our lovely lady driver. I wish she had given me a card so that I could share her details! The alternatives were a long day on a boat or a long day on a bus, and we just wanted to get there. The big advantages of a private transfer were being able to stop whenever we wanted, being dropped off directly at our hotel, and avoiding the US$25 tourist entry ticket (read tax!) which you'll pay if you ... read more
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Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan October 25th 2017

After some extra sleep following another early wake up (I was up 5 till 7) I debated whether to aim for Old Bagan, a couple of hours pedalling, or just hang about the hotel till the sunset boat. Win, the taxi driver who took me to see sunrise, was outside. We’d agreed to leave at 4:30 to use his friend's boat, now we are going an hour earlier to see the temples in Old Bagan first. Win and the hotel staff have been asking around but we can't find others to share the cost. About 11 I took the bike just 10 minutes along the main road (less traffic, go figure!). The main temple was Gubyaukgyi with no photos allowed inside. It was damaged in the earthquake last year. There were many people including a tour ... read more
Group of temples
Keeper of Gubyauk Nge
Gubyauk Nge

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan October 24th 2017

I started my morning at 4:30 having booked a taxi to take me to Ko Mauk Lake where they have built one of the new viewing platforms. It actually faced West hence we were the only ones there. First views were of temples illuminated in the dark but getting into the area was rather disorientating and I’m unable to name which they were. Of course it was dark and best for me, full of wildlife, a squirrel insects and many birds. Win, the driver knew the names, Later my guide Nang told me that books on these are very expensive. It was amazing to see how close all the temples are although it is not easy to go between them as there are areas of scrub and the tracks / paths twist and turn and end ... read more
Sunrise on the plain
The sun rises next to Pythador
Sulamani at sunrise




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