It has been a while since I last post about travel post. I was exploring Yangon, Myanmar last July 2015 and decided to make a day trip to Bagan. So my travel partner and I purchased two-way bus ticket to Bagan on the 2nd day in Yangon. It was 1 day trip so we took a night bus to Bagan and night bus back to Yangon on the same day.
As we arrived the Bagan bus station around 4am, there are a group of locals trying to get us (tourists) to hop on their transportations.Some are providing horse cart services and some are by car or bikes. We negotiated and compared the prices before we decided to rent a horse cart services for the day. So what I learnt from my one day experience in Bagan?
1. CATCH THE SUNRISE & SUNSET FROM BAGAN TEMPLES AND PAGODAS
We were told that there are more than 2,000 temples and pagodas around Bagan and it is impossible to visit every single one. So, we decided to let our tour guide cum horse cart rider to decide the places for us. So our first stop is to catch the sunrise at Bagan. If possible, try to catch the sunset at Bagan too. Too bad I didn’t get the chance to witness the sunset due to rain in the evening.
2. HOT AIR BALLON RIDE
I wish I have the chance to get on the hot air ballon ride but too bad it was raining season period on the month of July. Thus, there was no ride and I did not manage to get a view of the sunrise balloon views from the temples too. Nevertheless, the view from the top of the temple was spectacular even without it.
3. EXPLORE THE TEMPLES AND PAGODAS
On top of the spectacular views from the top of the temple & pagodas, the inside of the temples were worth exploring. And the best part is that you can enjoy and explore the place peaceful and quietly with minimal disturbance. There are lesser tourists exploring Bagan as compared to Cambodia. Reclining Buddhas, rock carvings and statutes that are worth for a snap shot memories.
4. ROAD SIDE & TEMPLE SELLERS
Souvenirs are everywhere around the temples and pagodas. There are many young kids carrying the souvenirs walking around the temples and targeting tourists hoping that they will purchase from them. So, if you do not have the intention to buy, be firm and walk away. As compared with the kids selling in Cambodia, kids in Bagan were not too aggressive. Some will still give you a smile even though you politely say NO to them.
5. BE PREPARED TO BAREFOOT WALKING
I find myself bare foot walking in Bagan.Temples and Pagodas here only allow barefoot walking. But trust me, walking barefoot here is safe and just feeling dusty only.
6. BE FOCUS & MIND YOUR HEAD
Since there are lot of climbing and narrow space to climb up to top, it is naturally to be careful in all times. Expect to squeeze through the space in order to get a better view of the place. There are no safety procedures stated so climb at your own risk.
7. DRESS CODE
The locals dressed conservatively and tourists should show their respect and follow the guideline when visiting the temples and pagodas. It is always appropriate to respect the culture of the country that you are visiting.
8. FLIP FLOPS
Since every visit to the temples and pagodas required being bare foot, flip-flops are the best option. Luckily I did my research and brought along my flip flops with me. It is so much easier to clean and wash my feet after visiting each place.
9. ESSENTIAL TRAVEL PACK
Always remember to stay hydrated especially the hot and humid weather. Bagan is warm and dry so make sure bring along water and sunscreen to protect from UV. Don’t come home and regret for not applying. Also, bug spray is recommended as you might get mosquito bites along the way too.
10. EAT WHAT LOCALS EAT
Since it was a spontaneous and easy-going Bagan trip, we asked the horse rider to bring us to his usual breakfast and lunch spot for dinner. Get yourself to immerse into local delights and enjoy it like the locals does. I enjoyed the Burmese Parata which was crispy and crunchy bites. And of their Mohinga which is the fish-based broth with rice noodles. For lunch, we had a plate of plain rice with few different dishes by the road side.
I would suggest you to travel to Bagan at least once in a life time and before the country turns commercialize like Cambodia and Thailand. The people here are generally nice and friendly. Tourists riding e-bike in Bagan will feel ease and locals will approach with a smile and a conversation using simple English language. A simple gesture or how they respond to you reflects how simple and contented they are with their life. We, city dwellers tend to complicated things somehow rather and I find it is good to be here to reflect the definition of “Simple is Happiness”.
Too bad I didn’t have sufficient time to visit Inle Lake, but sure enough Yangon is a nice place to explore too. If you are planning for Myanmar and Yangon is the first stop, read my Yangon lists of places to explore for some ideas.