Bagan, known for its over two thousand temples spread through a huge area. The area can be explored easily by electric scooters if you are willing to drive one. That is what I did for three days. They are super easy to handle and no one wants to see a driver’s license, even though I have one. Some people also choose to take a bicycle, but since it was really hot, I choose the easy and faster way. I wouldn’t recommend to walk because the area is way too big.
I arrived by night bus two hours earlier than planned. It was four am instead of six am. I had booked a hostel, but it wasn’t open yet. I had to wait in front of it because there was nothing open around it. I was glad that it wasn’t too cold. They opened at seven am and I directly rented a scooter, just left my bag and made my way to the first sunrise. The balloons that most of the photos from Bagan show where to far apart to really see them. Still it was beautiful. The balloons start at a different point each day depending on the wind. The next day I choose a temple near the place they started the last time and sure the wind changed and they started near the area I was yesterday. Who would know that… That way we had to wait longer till they got to us and it was no sunrise in the back because the sun was in our backs. Anyway, it was fascinating. I woke up each of the three days for sunrise and was in the temple area for sunset. Each of them was different. I choose a sunset further away with a view over all the temples, one near the river and another one on one of the most popular pagodas. It was super crowded but the view was awesome because the pagoda is really high.
Apart from that I spend the day driving from one pagoda or temple to the next. Some are accessible to climb up, some don’t. For some more guidance I recommend the Ostello Bello Bagan tour. At least back then
they had a guided scooter tour through Bagan, but I don’t think they changed it, because it was super popular. The guide also recommended us a quieter temple for sunset, it was apart from the main tourist part and super nice. The tour was funny and informative at the same time while getting to know some nice people. I wasn’t staying in the hostel because I had a cheaper one nearby which I wouldn’t recommend but the tour was also opened to outsiders and was payed by tip only. It was a full day trip lunch at a nice vegetarian place.
Speaking about vegetarian food, go to The Moon, it is so delicious and even the non-vegetarian loved it. There are two of them in Bagan and both serve super tasty food!
Over all, I really had a great time exploring these ancient temples and the whole area made me very thoughtful and I wrote a lot into my travel diary reflecting on the exchange semesters, the travels I have already made and thinking about the time that will follow. The Shwe Leik Too was my favorite temple for that. It is not so popular but you can sit on the top with a great view and apart from one or two tourist passing by every know and then I spend some hours alone there just relaxing in the shade of the top of the pagoda. By the way, the guide explained the difference between pagoda and temple, I don’t remember it exactly but it seems that each pagoda is a temple, but not each temple a pagoda if I remember correctly. It hast to do with the architecture and the single pointed top part on it, while temples might have diverse tops or so.
Another important part. You need a one or three day or week pass for the conservation of the area to be allowed. They only control it at the bigger temples, but I got one anyway. I know a few that tried it without, but I think investing in such a pretty area is worth it anyway. As already mentioned in the last post. Remember covering your knees and shoulders, that is a matter of respect and you do need to take your schoes of when entering or climbing a temple. I had a bag with me to take them with me, because the sneakers of a friend of mine who was in Bagan before me were actually stolen. So just to be save or not loose them between all the different shoes I took them with me in a bag barefood apart of that. For me it is natural to respect those traditions, I hope you feel the same way. But now, to give you an impression my best of pictures in the following. Hope you like them.
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