Blogs from Bagan, Mandalay Region, Burma, Asia - page 8


Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 20th 2013

12 January 2013 After a long day on the Irrawaddy river with a boat full of older package tourists, we arrive in Bagan, to a fanfare of taxis, busses, horse carts and begging children. The first thing we notice is the dust. It is as fine as talcum powder, pink talcum powder; and is all pervasive. Sinuses ho!! The second thing we notice is the beggars - always a sign that someone has been there before you. Bagan is firmly on the Burma tourist trail. It must be the top contender for most visited of the big 4 (Yangon, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Bagan). It is a bit of a shock to us after our gentle introduction to the country. Fortunately (in hindsight) we didn't manage to get a hotel room in any of the towns ... read more
Forest that was
Teak and temples
bridges over the river

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan December 22nd 2012

For two days we had been constantly on the go, climbing pagodas, walking through the bush, and in and out of either a car or horse cart. Even though we had in no way seen anywhere near the three thousand pagodas remaining in Bagan our legs certainly thought different. For the next two days we decided to look around Bagan town itself. Over these two days we explored the local markets, bargaining half-heartedly for local produce and generally having a great time interacting with the locals. Many times they ask such a small price for things it is impossible to bargain for a lower price. We had quite a few interesting conversations with horse cart drivers who were concerned because they were not visit and having difficulty getting customers. They told us many people thought it ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan December 20th 2012

Instead of writing two separate stories of these two days it is easy to write one large one. On the first day we used a car and driver to visit the pagodas further out of NyaungShwe and New Bagan. On the second day we saw many pagodas by horse and cart. It was very hard to keep a record of all the places we visited so I will just talk about some of the more impressive and the Pagodas of Bagan overall. The only word that I can think of to describe the whole experience is awesome. We had previously seen the temples of Angkor Wat that were so impressive. I think the pagodas of Bagan are truly as impressive. The earthquake of 1975 had caused much damage much of it still evident and due to ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan November 29th 2012

Another early start kicked off our final day in the ancient city of Bagan, with the alarm ringing off at the ungodly hour of 4.30am. I don’t do early starts, and this is the earliest one in a long time, but it was all for a good cause, the sun was due to rise over the temples within the next hour and a half. Half awake and barely coherent, we mounted our trusty bicycles, our derrières aching after consecutive rides on hard seats and with our legs screaming in agony. This was our last day, and witnessing sunrise over 800 year old temples isn’t something one gets to see everyday. With that notion our fatigue gave way to inspiration and determination. During our agonizing ride to the temple we visited the previous day, it began to ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan November 28th 2012

This day has an interesting start; it begins with a faceoff between me and the communal squat or what I prefer to call the fetal-position toilet. It’s essentially a toilet without a seat—a ceramic hole in the ground. I’ve come across these toilets many times before in Thailand, however back then I had always managed to avoid using it for anything other than number one. This time was different. I don’t feel it necessary to elaborate much further. First on the list of today’s itinerary is a visit to Mount Popa, a steep piece of rock on the side of an ancient volcano with exactly 777 steps that lead to a temple with a great view. The past couple of days contained rigorous cycling, our muscles are exhausted. Liam seems unfazed by the mountain that lay ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan November 27th 2012

Bagan, the eighth wonder of the world. Arrival began as it had with our arrival at Inle lake, with a bus trek you’d rather forget, but can’t. I look at Liam sitting next to me, his eyes wide and face white. Every few minutes he pokes me, points out the window at a group of kids running along the edge of a cliff, strange packs of animals grazing dusty fields. The A/C is so cold we steal someone’s blanket to keep ourselves warm. So after an eternity, we pull into Bagan in the early hours of the morning, and are greeted by a hoard of friendly horse-carriage drivers that almost maul each other for our business. We pre-arranged what we thought would be a taxi, but turned out to be a wooden carriage being pulled by ... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan November 27th 2012

In Burma, they love their temples. In fact, that's probably the understatement of the year. It's like saying that McDonalds sell the odd burger or two. The golden stupas are EVERYWHERE. On tops of hills, deep in caves, perched on rocks. Anywhere is fair game, and it's rare to find a hill or mountain without a temple on top. Imagine a conversation between a group of Buddhist architects: "quick lads, I've found an empty hill over here. Let's get a stupa built before someone else does". Some of the stupas are easy to reach. Some of them require hours of strenuous hiking, as a means of proving you're a dedicated Buddhist. I'd like to see the same principle applied to a restaurant in the UK. A Michelin-starred restaurant on top of a mountain like Snowdon. Instead ... read more
Count the temples
HMS Unsinkable
Temples Galore

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan November 21st 2012

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan November 18th 2012

Burma has really captured our attention. We’ve spent 16 nights and 17 days exploring and feel like we have seen a good bit of the country. We are told it has grown leaps and bounds politically, with the country starting to move away from 50 years of strict military rule. This may be reflected in the recent visit by President Obama and earlier in the year by Hillary Clinton, sure signs that things are changing. Life has also changed for the people, albeit slowly, but if you come for a visit soon you will still have the pleasure of experiencing a nation and culture that is relatively untouched by the outside world. The people of Burma are friendly and have a good sense of humor. We feel you will get to see a raw and unspoiled ... read more
A cool monk
Sunset on the river
Burmese Nurses

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan October 17th 2012

My dream came true!!! I saw Mt. POPA! Arrival in Bagan was really tricky because it took about 20min. and 5guest houses to find available room but luck stuck and I had lovely single in the Motel. I set the alarm at 7 (2,5hours more) and went to sleep. But before I started to think about how very tired of travelling (great news for my mum and friends who want to have me closer) I am and how long can I go for. Well the alarm didn’t really work cos I overslept. I took shower, put on fresh clothes and went to the reception area to find out about Popa because I was not very keen in paying 50000 for a taxi to get there. My lucky star struck again - Austrian couple wanted to go ... read more
Mt. Popa
Getting to Bagan
My ultimate picture

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