(PICTURE: Bagan at sunset.)
Without a doubt, Bagan was my favorite place in Myanmar. The place was awesome and ranks up with my favorite sites in the world. Scattered over 42 square kilometers are thousands of temples, pagodas and stupas. Supposedly there were over 4,000 structures but due to earthquakes there are now only 3,000+. Regardless, everywhere you look you see temples.
Huyen and I arrived in Bagan around 2pm, rented bikes and headed out to get a taste of the area. We almost immiedately came upon a few empty pagodas and started to climb them. Here's me on my first pagoda:
Once I climbed to the top of that pagoda I realized that it was perhaps the smallest and most pathetic of all the 3,000+ pagodas. In the distance I could see so many more impressive ones.
The thing to do in Bagan is to find a temple and watch sunset. The first evening we were there it started to rain and the fast approaching lightning seemed like it would be a bad mix with climbing tall pointed structures. On the second night we went to the most popular sunset pagoda. Huyen and I made friends with some local kids who we bought sunflower seeds for. Befriending them allowed us to be the only tourists not harrassed to buy postcards. (PICTURE: Huyen and the local kids. Ignore the stuff on Huyen's face. That is tomorrow's blog!):
On the third night in Bagan, Huyen and I found our own pagoda and watch sunset by ourselves. It was pretty spectacular. We tried to capture the coolness of the moment by taking reflective sunglass picture shots. I think Huyen's is pretty cool.
Some other memorable things were riding through a local village and finding the spot in the river the locals played/bathed in:
In the morning, the female novices collected alms along the main street near our guest house.
On the first night we asked a local where the locals eat and he told us about a Myanmar salad shop. We ended up eating there three times in the next 72 hours. It was amazing. Here's the before and after shot from a meal where we ordered enough for four people...and finished it all (no need to post a comment about wondering why I didn't lose weight on the trip).