To get to Bagan from Inle Lake we took the night bus. Once again we had another accident. Well this time nothing bad, just a collision with a car that ends up with a missing mirror and a few scratches. It still took them 4 hours to agree on the report and statement at the police station. So we arrive in Nyang-U at 7:00 in the morning instead of 3:00.
A COMPLICATED HOUSING SEARCH
After 12 hours on the bus, we take our courage with both hands to find a room quickly. Knowing that there were a lot of accommodation here we had not booked. We start by doing one, two, three, three, five, ten guest-houses and everything is full! We’re just hallucinating. We even go to see the big hotels and there we find a room… yes… but at $190 a night no thanks! When we tell you that we’ve been to every hotel in town, we don’t lie! After three hours of research we change the plan, we take a song-teo direction New Bagan, a city a little further away. Arrived on the spot the first guesthouses are also full but we still manage to find something around noon. We will later learn that we arrived on Independence Weekend and therefore many accommodations were booked by the locals who were enjoying their holidays.
VISIT TO BAGAN
The site is divided between three cities: Old Bagan which is the historic centre, Nyaung-U to the east and New Bagan to the south. After retrieving the map of the Bagan site, it was agreed to visit the site over three days: the first day is dedicated to the north of the site between Nyaung-U and Old Bagan, the second day is reserved for the part between Old Bagan and New Bagan, and the third day for everything that lies northeast of New Bagan.
First we rented an electric scooter for the first day (electric because tourists here are not allowed to drive a gas scooter) and bicycles for the other two days.
We will not give you the details of these three days of visits but on the whole:
we enjoyed walking along the dirt roads between each pagoda,
the size and scope of the site really impressed us (we think it must have been something huge at the time),
we were at the jogging to find the biggest pagodas and those where we could climb on them,
we were having fun trying to climb ever higher, even if it meant going down very bumpy paths and taking dubious stairs,
we didn’t even try to count how many pagodas there were because we could see them all over the place,
we were looking for the corners without tourists (undoubtedly the northeast corner of New Bagan),
we admired the architecture of each pagoda,
we imagined the lives of people in the past in this sacred city.
On the last day, we went for a walk in the surrounding countryside of New Bagan, where we had some nice encounters. We also visited the “Bagan House” lacquer factory where we were able to get explanations on the manufacturing process.
Anyway, we liked Bagan! However, it must be admitted that after two days it starts to be a little redundant and after three, the pagodas can’t take it anymore!
SUNRISE & SUNSET
Because Bagan is a site that is mainly appreciated at sunrise and sunset we have made 4 in total. In the evening, the sun sets on the other side of the river, behind the mountains. As it was winter, the sun was less “powerful” so the light dimmed quickly and didn’t really have time to reflect on the monuments. However, the show was really nice. Just one thing: don’t look for a pagoda where you can be alone to admire the sunset… it doesn’t exist! You will have people on absolutely every pagoda where it is possible to go up! And once on the pagoda don’t turn around you may be afraid of the hundreds of people behind you who are looking in the same direction!
For the sunrise, it’s a different story. Already you have to get up at 5am (the first morning, Anne couldn’t get up, so Martin went alone!), ride the road (by bike for us) in the dark, wait a good hour on the barefoot pagoda (it’s freezing!) and finally admire Mr Soleil who shows his nose. The particularity of Bagan is that every morning about twenty hot air balloons fly over the site for about 40 minutes. The sunlight, the morning mist, the hot air balloons and the birds form a magnificent spectacle to see and see again.