From Bagan to Inle Lake

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February 10th 2007
Published: February 15th 2007
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Bagan sunsetBagan sunsetBagan sunset

Staking out our spot on top of Buledi
Another long-winded blog entry for the punters. Like I mentioned previously, the internet in Myanmar is bloody hopeless, and not helped by the frequent power outages and random rainstorms.

Caught the boat from Mandalay to Bagan. As the river was really low we had to be transported 18kms downstream to board near Sagaing. Supposed to be the fast boat, but it took 11 hours meandering from one side of the river to the other. Even Ian (bugger) got to Bagan by bus before I did. Oh well, at least I got 3 seats to myself to snooze the day away.

On arrival at Old Bagan jetty, there was a desk waiting to nab a US$10 govt entrance fee on all foreigners. Managed to scoot around on the pretext that I already had a ticket. Hooray! They never ask to see it anyway.

How best to describe Bagan? Kind of like "Temple Kingdom" (same as Disney World, and flat as a tack to boot) - a huge theme park filled with wondrous temples, stupas and buddhas. Best way to temple-hop is by bicycle, even if you have to sometimes peddle through boggy sandy roads and walk through someone's paddock.
Temples as far as the eye can seeTemples as far as the eye can seeTemples as far as the eye can see

Thousands of temples on the Bagan plain. Stunning view from the top of Mi-nyein-gon looking towards Mt Popa.

Visited 8 temples on the first day, and another 7 the following day. Very dusty and hot. What I liked most was that you could discover and explore little-visited and out-of-the-way places (very peaceful), and marvel at the colourful wall murals only visible by torchlight. But 2 days is more than enough.

Then it was onto Inle Lake (Nyaungshwe town) on the most tortuous bus journey of my life. Nothing like bumping along dusty and windy roads on a thinly padded wooden bench with your legs wedged under the front seat for 12 hours.

Hired a boat to tour the lake's sights with an Aussie couple. Dirt cheap at 11000 Kyat (about A$10) for the whole day. The amazing thing is that the locals can row with one leg to give their arms a rest. But what I enjoyed the most was the Jumping Cat Monastery where some (presumably bored) monks taught their cats to jump through hoops. Hilarious! Even stayed for the next performance.

Last day was spent in Yangon watching a Bollywood movie called "Krrish", and paying respects to the National Flag of Myanmar in the movie theatre. Don't know what was funnier -
Nan PayaNan PayaNan Paya

Sandstone bas-relief on pillar
the movie itself (great over-acting & cheesy musical numbers) or the locals cracking up at the visual gags even though the movie was in Hindi with English subtitles. Great entertainment and a bargain at 500 Kyat - about 40 cents.

Additional photos below
Photos: 39, Displayed: 23



Lotus flower mural
Htilominlo PahtoHtilominlo Pahto
Htilominlo Pahto

Nice view from the top
Dhammayanggyi PahtoDhammayanggyi Pahto
Dhammayanggyi Pahto

Built in the 12th century like a step pyramid. Popular means for tourists to temple-hop is by horse & cart for 8000 kyats/day.
The hard sellThe hard sell
The hard sell

Kids are everywhere trying to sell postcards for about US$1. This boy was giving me his best sales pitch whilst I was waiting for the sunset.
Wooden figurinesWooden figurines
Wooden figurines

Lots of locals peddling their handicrafts around the temples.
Buddha's feetBuddha's feet
Buddha's feet

In Ananda Pahto temple, pilgrims touch the footprint pedestal and then wipe the luck on themselves.
Chinthe statueChinthe statue
Chinthe statue

Legendary half-lion, half-dragon guardians
Ananda Ok KyaungAnanda Ok Kyaung
Ananda Ok Kyaung

Beautiful 18th century wall mural
Sulamani PahtoSulamani Pahto
Sulamani Pahto

Constructed in 1181, decorated with ornate outer wall detailing and glazed plaques.
Wall muralWall mural
Wall mural

Inside Sulamani Pahto
Fishing techniqueFishing technique
Fishing technique

After putting the net in the water amongst the reeds, they then thrash the water with a pitchfork to scare the fish into the side netting.
Catch of the DayCatch of the Day
Catch of the Day

Asked our guide what type it was, to which he replied "Fish". Give that dude a tip!

Collected as fertiliser for the crops.

15th February 2007

Like your photos of beautiful ancient structures as well as eveyday life and photos of the regular people apart from tourist areas. Wonder if there's any movement to ban Neck Rings as it seems male chauvinstic like bound feet for women causing much pain?
15th February 2007

Hi Gus
Photos are awesome - enjoy your last few weeks of freedom. We are starting to pile up the files for you now!

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