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Fall In Love With Bagan in 2 days

After having arrived in Yangon and experiencing the busy bustling streets, landing in Bagan is such a relief. Built between the 11th and 13th century under the name of Pagan, the area consisted of over 5,000 pagodas and temples scattered across the city, but over the years due to natural forces these are now over 2,000. Although Pagodas can look very similar, there are a few of them along with Stupas and temples to explore that are entirely unique.

Bagan's energy is quite unique. Tall trees and pink flowers line up the streets, as we approached the Amazing Bagan Resort where we were to stay for the next two days. The city, a very quiet, sleepy one, and we knew it was the perfect place to stay considering the itinerary we had coming up!

An early start to the morning was seeing the hot air balloons that ascend into the sunrise sky by the dozens, a truly magical experience seen from our rooftop balcony at our hotel. We knew we were in a very special place.

Hot Air Balloons over Bagan at sunrise

Soon after indulging in a great international breakfast at the hotel, our first stop was to see the lives of the locals at the Nyaung U Market where they spend most of their time making a living. Motorcycles by the dozens grouped on corners of the market’s entrance. Covered in plastic shade was the start to the fruit and vegetable market, women sat on the floor displaying their produce, all speaking to each other at the same time.

A Chaotic experience with just enough space for your feet to pass between the laid out mats of fruits and vegetables on the ground. The Meat, chicken and fish displayed openly in bowls with flies having a feast on them. How long have they been displayed for sale, that is unknown.

It is easy to spend hours on end in this market, but since our days were numbered in Bagan, we had to push on. What we later found on our journey that produce of Bagan, may not be found in other cities. So taking a bit of time to buy on the spot would have been ideal for gifts, even though other cities did have their own produce too.

Dating back as far as the 11th century, King Anawrahta built one of the most beautiful religious shrines in Bagan, the Shwezigon Pagoda. Although nothing in comparison with the Shwegadon Pagoda in Yangon it still had its charm. Every temple and pagoda we were had visited had its own unique beauty.

The Ananda Temple was quite interesting at it homed four large Buddha statues that are found on every entrance of the temple. Each stunning Buddha statue stretched from ground to ceiling, each representing a Mundra. Each side of the Buddha Statue led to a pathway displayed with tiny Buddha statues of gold each representing a Buddhist Mundra too.

Dhammayan Gyi is the largest temple in Bagan housing a large number of bats, while taking shoes off is compulsory, necessary and respectful when entering the places of worship, we had to think twice for this one. We were told, bat and pigeon feces cover the inside floors of the temple. So we opted to enjoy the outside architecture and ground of the temple.

The Hti Lo Min Lo temple with its charming red brick was one of Bagan's must see sites and one that is quite busy with locals and tourists alike. The grounds filled with local handcraft shops, including the opportunity to watch long necked ladies weave scarves.

The tallest temple in Bagan the Thatbyunyu Phaya stands at 201 feet towering above other nearby Pagodas and is visible from afar. It's architecture radiated a majestic presence making it one of the most impressive temples to visit in Bagan.

Nearing sunset, Sulamani Hill is a perfect place to witness a view of the sun setting over what really looks like the Wild Wild West. A picturesque scene of dozens of horses and carriage moving in slow motion as the dust picks up into the air. Hundreds of locals and tourists gather at the top of Sulamani Hill and of course being bombarded by local venders trying to sell Lonji skirts and scarves to the visitors.

Shortly before the sun set we escaped to avoid the many people heading back into the center of town with no streetlights and dust that will soon cover the air.

Dinners were always at Weatherspoon’s Bagan Restaurant, the best food you can eat in all of Myanmar. I cannot stress on the fact of how incredible the food is there. Order all the salads, the burger, try it all, if you can find a table available. Most of the time we had to wait for a minimum of half an hour.

With plenty of unique stalls and boutique shops that line up the main road, Bagan had so much to offer and definitely ranks as one of our favourite places to explore in Mynamar.

After having spent a full day out in Bagan, nothing beats ending the evening with a foot massage at the Royal Flower foot reflexology parlor.

For more on Myanmar take a look at the other blogs:

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