Excuse the rather jumbled post order here at Yeti! We’ve been doing so many rad things on this trip that it’s hard to keep track of all of them, let alone blog them in any sort of logical order. Tough life, eh?
Anyway, without further ado, let me introduce you to May’s belated city of the month, Bagan, Myanmar!
Anyway, for me, our 4 days in Bagan were some of the best of our Myanmar trip. We biked, explored, ate piles of tomato salad (more on that below), and generally enjoyed the relaxed pace and stunning temples the town had to offer.
We took an overnight bus from Yangon to Bagan. The buses are notorious not only for being supremely uncomfortable and loud, but also for arriving two or more hours earlier than they claim. This one was no different. Our bus was scheduled to arrive at the dignified hour of 7am. Instead, we arrived at about 5am, and were whisked off to a guesthouse by tuk-tuk touts (Ahimsa explained this in more detail here). After checking in, we took a horse-cart to a temple to watch the sunrise.
Sunrise in Bagan was gorgeous. The temperature was (in contrast to the scorching days) a perfect, breezy 18ish degrees, and from our vantage point on top of the temple, we watched hot air balloons drifting, casting silhouettes against the soft reds, yellows, and blues of the sky.
After that initial horse-cart ride, we got around Bagan by bike. Most guesthouses (and plenty of roadside stands) hire out bikes for around $1.50/day. The majority of Bagan‘s temples are located on the easy-to-bike 10km stretch between Nyaung-U and Old Bagan.
Bagan, along with a ridiculous number of gorgeous temples, also has a handful of great restaurants. Ahimsa was, unfortunately, too sick to appreciate most of them, but I compensated. I found the best tomato salad in Myanmar at Weatherspoons Cafe (a fantastic travelers’ hub — we heard it also has the best burgers in Myanmar with real mayo, but can’t confirm that) and proceeded to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In conclusion: temples, two-wheelers, and tomato salad*. What more could you want?
- Rent a bike! It is, hands down, the best way to explore the insane number of temples in the area.
- Stay in Nyaung-U. Of the three main areas in Bagan (Old Bagan, New Bagan, and Nyaung-U) it has the most budget accommodation, cycle hire places, and rad, cheap restaurants.
- Tourists are required to pay a $10 fee to enter the Bagan area — now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t pay it, but a). it was it quite tricky to find a place to buy it, and b). no-one ever checked ours. Just so you know.
*(and hot air balloons, but I didn’t want to spoil the alliteration)