Trip Start Dec 07, 2012
Trip End Mar 27, 2012

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Flag of Myanmar  , Mandalay,
Saturday, March 9, 2013

We arrived around 5 hours later around 13:00, driving through the countryside and small villages of a country which is still the real Asia, which is fantastic as everywhere else this has almost vanished and difficult to find. Here as we'll this will not remain very long I'm afraid. Already we see everywhere that they're trying to make new roads in a very primitive way but still ... this will be the beginning of the end of the old way of living. It seems so nice and peaceful the way it is now I ask myself are they going to be more happy if and when our "plastic world of consumption" enters their life !? As we noticed the last days there are still only a very small amount of tourists around, we have walked around beautiful sights like the palace in Mandalay where we were all alone for more than an hour before we saw a couple of Asian tourists. Everything is getting prepared to receive them though, we've spoken to people that came here 2 years ago that had to travel in local buses full of people, luggage on your knees and poultry while we already traveled from Mandalay to Bagan in a new VIP kind of bus with DVD screen so we watched a movie and comfy seats and good airco. Though the roads are for 1 bus at a time and when a truck or bus comes from the other direction we both go off road with 2 wheels (reminds me of Tanzania and Kenia, and for Andrea Gambia and Senegal! :))
Others told us a year ago there were no ATM machines while someone else said they're seen the machines wrapped in plastic in November. We saw them working now, though we have not tried them as we have taken plenty of dollars with us. So the speed everything goes is impressive !
After having checked in our Hotel (Kywa 40$) we walked around for a bit and visited the first few pagoda's out of around 750 in this area. We were very impressed by the view of so many pagoda's around us and this is only new Bagan, tomorrow we'll visit old Bagan where the concentration of Pagoda's is much higher. We walked to the river and found the Lawkananda paya pagoda of which the top part is completely covered with gold normally.
For the moment it was covered with cloth because of necessary restorations
so we were not lucky but there's others we'll be able to see. After that we found another smaller pagoda which wasn't even on the map but gorgeous. Than we went to
Seinnyet Nyima Paya & Seinnyet Ama, where we stayed until sunset.
After that it was time to walk back, on the way we found a nice little restaurant called Mothers house where we actually had something nice to eat and it wasn't even expensive. Than we went back to the hotel where we had a few small problems with the airco almost not working, so we asked for a fan, the others small problems were not so important, we just wanted to watch a movie and go sleep, so we did !

Ok, it's official me concerned, this place is absolutely amazing and has overtaken Angkor Wat ! It's much bigger and much more to visit ! This is gone be big, huge, give it 3 to 5 years time and you won't be able to see and get in in 10% of what we have done and seen. There are original fresco's of the 12th century which are open to walk in in some pagoda's. You can climb on top of some of them to have incredible views on the other 700 something around. My god it's just amazing. It reminds me of Turkey when I traveled with 2 friends in the late 70's for a month and walked into roman villages with mosaic on the floor and statues standing around where people kept their chicken ! We had to sleep in the living of a friendly family 'cause on the coast there were no hotels... Look what happened !!
Anyway to make this short we visited the following Pagoda's:
Somingyi Kyaung
Manuha Paya
Shi Myar Shitu, golden couple, small temple were you can climb the stairs if the key holder would be there like he was for us! Wonderful view! Not in the Lonely planet guide!
Thatbyinnyu Pahto
Gawdawpalin Pahto
Tharabar gate
Ananda Pahto, thought to have been built between 1090 and 1105 by king Kyanzittha, beautiful Buddhas!
Hitlominlo Pahto
Shwezigon Paya. Golden temple at Nyaung U area
Shwesandaw Paya, it means golden holy hair, sunset temple!

First let me tell you that I have a real problem uploading pictures to the blog due to the very bad quality of Internet here so the pictures will partly be done as soon as I can, so please look back to previous days as well !

Anyway to make this short
Today we rented a bicycle again and went to see the following pagoda's and stupa's on this enormous site:
Abeyadana Pahto (fresco's on the walls)
Dhammayangyi Pahto (really resembles Palenque in Mexico)
Mahabodhi Paya ( copy of temple in Bodhgaya in India)
Sunset bij Kyasin( with beautiful view on the most important temples and pagoda's)

Today we have the intention to take it somewhat slower 'cause after having visited around 20 pagoda's, stupa's and
temples on the bicycle with a temperature of around 38, we are tired, so this morning we didn't get a bicycle but took a horse cart to visit the two last one's that we want to visit. This off course was great ! The horse trainer spoke reasonably good English and explained us that before the big earthquake of 1975 there were more than 4000 monuments, around 2000 were destroyed so around 2000 were left, some of them repaired ! Unesco helped with quite a number of them and even sent their own specials.
First we went to the Sulamani pagoda which had beautiful big wall paintings (fresco's) and off course Buddha's.
Then we went to the Bupaya golden stupa on the side of the Ayeyarwady river with a beautiful view with lots of local people visiting. After that we asked to drop us at our little restaurant "Mother's House" where we had lunch. After this we are going to get our swimming stuff 'cause we found a nice hotel not far where we use the pool ! Yeahhhh !!!

Today we are traveling from Bagan to Inle Lake which will take us 9 hours of bus, great ! Well not really but the scenery was pretty amazing !!

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