The temples and Stupas of Bagan
Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
54Trip End Sep 19, 2011
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The bus we were taking to Bagan was a new service, especially for tourists. In other words it was a good bus with A.C. For the first hour and a half we travelled on the "super highway". The roads in Burma it is said were built by British P.O.W.s in WW2. This I can believe. But they are slowly getting around to building proper highways, like the Rangoon to Mandalay highway. Anyway after one and a half hours the highway gave way to a single lane country road and this slowed us down considerably. After another two hours this single lane came to an end and the rest of the journey was completed on an unsealed dusty track!!
The countryside changed as we neared Bagan to what I can best describe as dry African bush. Bagan is in an area called the dry zone. We are in the dry season here in Burma at the moment and needless to say the weather is perfect everyday
We arrived in Bagan at about 2 PM. We negotiated a price with a driver to take us to new Bagan where we were hoping to stay. When I say driver, I mean horse and cart driver! And it's no tourist gimmick either, this is a very normal form of transport here. Old Bagan is about 8 miles from where the bus dropped us off. The horse happily trotted the full distance in about 40 minutes, it must do the journey regularly. It was on the back of this cart that we saw our first glimpse of Bagan's pagodas.
Now I dare say you have never heard of Bagan, right? Well you will in the years to come
We arrived at a hotel called the Central in new Bagan and booked in. It was a nice place and our stay here was lovely. There is an old Bagan and a new Bagan. Why? Well about 10 years ago the Government decided to throw all the residents of old Bagan out. No one knows why. They all relocated to a place 4 km south of old Bagan and called it new Bagan. We had dinner that night and went to bed early. The first thing we needed to do the next morning was to go back to the town of Nyaung u where the bus dropped us off and make our way to the jetty. Here we found the booking office for the boat we were hoping to catch to a place called Pyay. We asked the guy behind the counter if there was any boats headed to Pyay
The next day we hired bicycles and set off out into the countryside to explore the stupas. We reached old Bagan after visiting various stupas. We had a Coke and a sit down for a while and set off again. There are sandy tracks that lead from stupa to stupa and the only practical way of getting around is either by Horse and cart or bicycle. After visiting a huge stupa Cathy went to get on her bike and noticed she had a flat. Oh bugger!!! We were about 5 miles from our hotel. We set off walking home well ticked off. After about 5 minutes a couple of young lads on bikes rode by and asked us if we needed help. I said no we just have a puncture and we needed to walk back. Anyway it turned out these two young lads ride around fixing tourists punctures. They are saving up for University. They actually fixed seven punctures in all, five on Cathy's bike and two on mine
The next morning we called into a travel agency to inquire about a flight to Inlay lake our next destination. We were asking about a flight because the bus that goes to Inlay leaves at 4 AM and I don't do getting up at 3 AM. Two hours after walking into the travel agent, our taxi was picking us up and taking us to the airport. It really is that quick here and the airlines are not even computerized!!!