The Ancient City of Bagan

After departing our river cruise, we arrived immediately in the famous city of Bagan.  If you are a travel enthusiast and Bagan is not towards the top of your places to visit, make sure you reprioritize your desired destinations.  It is easily one of the most astonishing places I have ever been to.  The entire city is history’s map and is filled with about 3,000 Buddhist relics (Pagodas and Temples) all within the city’s small perimeter.  Most were built in the 11th century which is what gives Bagan the ancient feeling.

In front of the most famous Pagoda in Bagan. 

Giant Buddha statue in a temple. 

It is no surprise that you see a lot of P&T (Pagodas and temples).  They are everywhere along the roadside- next to restaurants, schools and in the backyard of your hotel.  Inside are some spectacular Buddhist statues along with other remains from a different world.  There are many ways to tour around Bagan such as, walking, biking (see next post), horse drawn carriage and what I recommend the most: by balloon. 

The same pagoda as above but from above.  

One of my favorite shots from the balloon ride.
Balloons over Bagan is one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had as a traveler.  Before a ray of sun graced the sky, we were on our way in vintage world war two buses to the launch site (Of course our bus broke down four times in the dead of the dark morning, but we got their before the show began.)  While sipping on coffee and cookies, you are able to watch as the fleet of hot air balloons are inflated.  Then you’re off, getting a bird’s eye view of the ancient world of Bagan. 

Our entire basket. 

Our balloon's shadow on a temple. 

On our journey in the sky, I felt like Brendan Fraiser in the second movie of the The Mummy when they discovered the secret city of Ahm Shere.  Hundreds of giant brick temples lay in the distance amongst the palm trees providing an exotic setting.  With an addiction to photography, hot air ballooning is the perfect way to fulfill my passion.  I do not know if I have ever taken so many photos in the span of an hour.  From now when I travel, I will seek out a hot air balloon and take a ride.  At the end, our landing was a little bumpy, but there was champagne and croissants waiting for us so it made up for any disservice. 

Our group drinking champagne after the ride. 
Although P&T is the highlight of Bagan, there are other things to see and do.  Bagan is the only location in Myanmar that creates lacquer products, so a factory is an interesting experience and a good place to shop.  There are also a number of monasteries to stop and visit.  The one we choose to visit was not your typical monastery because it was specifically meant for novice monks that are orphans.

All of the lacquerware is handmade and hand carved. 

Novice monks praying before their lunch. 

Samantha handing out plates to the monks. 

The one activity I would recommend above all is finding a great place to simply stand and watch the sunsets. (Poolside by our hotel or the large tower next to it provided a perfect setting). Although it is not your typical beach sunset, Bagan provided a sunset I will never forget.  The sun glided behind the mountain side as the sky displayed brilliant shades of color amongst the landscape in front of us.  Shadows of temples graced the distance as a hazy fog billowed its way up to the tips of the palm trees.  It was a moment I made sure to enjoy and a moment where I forced myself to put my camera down.  A moment travelers dream about and a moment I will never forget.  

Sunset view from our hotel. 


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