Friday, January 10, 2014

Bagan

All I remember from my trip to Bagan in 1996 is a horse cart ride to visit a lot of temples, a day spent on the porch of my guesthouse due to what I thought was a bad stomach, and the long train and pickup truck ride it took to get there from Yangon.  I also remember having to walk a long way to the only hotel that had "international" telephones.

There are still a lot of temples and it is still hard to remember what each individual temple looks like, but things have changed.  We flew from Yangon to Bagan on a small prop plane and waited patiently as the luggage was carried by hand to the terminal.  Our guide was a devout Buddhist and he was very eager to show us each one of the 3000+ temples. 

Our Guide

 What is amazing about Bagan is not the individual temples but the fact that there are so many in such a spectacular setting (pictures to follow in another post). In between temple visits we managed a trip to the local market,  a sunset cruise on the Ayeyarwady River and a horse cart ride.

Our hotel was located on the river which made for some lovely outdoor dining. The location was about a mile away from restaurant row - no taxis so we had had to hire a car and driver for the night if we wanted to eat somewhere other than our hotel. (We had the same problem in Mandalay.)

These guys joined us for breakfast one morning.

We arranged to spend a third day in Bagan on our own and spent the day touring more temples and the towns of New and Old Bagan by bicycle.  It was a very relaxing day and a lot of fun.  I spent an additional hour riding from temple to temple looking for a puppet I had seen a million times on our first day there.   Of course when I was ready to buy one, they were nowhere to be found.  I broke the first rule of souvenir shopping -- when you see something you want, buy it immediately because there is no guarantee you will ever see it again.  

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