How Not To Do Bagan…

We will let you into a little secret here…there are A LOT of temples in Asia, and specifically South East Asia. As we’ve said before, we like temples, but for us — they don’t make the difference between a good day and a great day.

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Temple Tops in Bagan

When my mum was younger, she and her sisters would often be taken to churches while on holiday with their parents (my grandparents). Nothing wrong with this, it’s always good to see churches. Much like temples though, seeing any more than 5 in one day can cause some health problems.

Bagan is saturated with temples. There are allegedly 4000 ancient and ruined temples around the plains. Given the above, it is obvious that careful planning is needed to save yourself (and whoever you’re with) from “Temple Induced Sickness”.

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One of many beautiful temples

Sadly, we did not plan accordingly, we rocked up in the old-school way and assumed we could muddle through as we went along.

Also worth noting at this point, that due to some incredible timetabling by Burmese bus companies, you will arrive at your destination at approximately 4:19 AM. So, not only did we not plan, we also had no idea what in all that is holy was going on.
This seems to be the standard in Myanmar – buses drive as quickly as they can, and finish the journey at 4am, rather than cruising and arriving at 6am. Anyway, I digress.

Due to the early arrival, we felt knackered when we arrived at our hotel. The Golden Myanmar Motel (our first Motel as far as I am aware) were more than happy to provide us with our room at such an early hour, and at $20 a night including breakfast, a hot shower and AC, not bad for Myanmar.
It would be nice to say we had a short nap and then got on with our day…

Sadly, we woke up at 2pm! Bad start.

We had to go out and get on with it at this point whether we liked it or not, so off we trotted in the hope of finding a horse and cart to take us round for the afternoon. Sadly, no mares were around, and so we settled for bikes at $1 each for the day.

Bagan is pretty easy to cycle around. Minimal traffic, and pretty flat ground work in your favour.
Forty degree heat and dirt tracks do not help the cause.

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Cycling around the dirt tracks of Bagan

As I said earlier, there are quite a few temples here, so you can set off with the intention if going to a certain temple, and take twice as long getting there because you stop off to “have a look at this one”, or “check out that one”.

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We basically cycled in a deformed figure of eight, stopping off at Buledi for sunset.

The next day was our last on this whistle stop tour, and so we cycled over to Old Bagan to take in the sights. There is more of the same if I’m being honest…but it’s all worth the trip!

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Here are some tips that we thought of as we were going around…we did the hard work so you don’t have to!
1. Read ahead and look at what you actually want to see.
2. There were hardly any people when we went so, unlike Angkor Wat, it’s not imperative that you plan your trip around missing other tour groups. You can go for the nice stuff at any time of day.
3. Sunset and sunrise are lovely, and it’s cooler then so it’s worth the early morning wake up!
4. Rent push bikes – they’re only $1 a day, and it’s a nice cycle. E-bikes are around $6 a day.
5. Stay for at least a couple of days. We enjoyed it much more than we thought. The $15 entry fee you pay lasts for 5 days, so this will make better use of your money – WIN WIN!

Have we missed anything? Let us know what you think about Bagan

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