Despite taking a Dukoral booster and being fairly cautious with the food I’ve been eating, the lack of sleep from the overnight bus from Yangon left my immune system weak and I came down with a mild-moderate case of tourista. Aki was sick too so we all laid low until check out at noon. During our downtime one of the guest house guides chatted with us and when we told him our symptoms he recommended the Burmese medicine for our ailments… after taking multiple Imodiums, hydration powder that I had brought from home I figured it didn’t hurt to try something else.

Besides, with a full afternoon left we weren’t about to let our GI tract get in our way. We headed to the closest pharmacy to pick up the meds and then on to our favourite restaurant down the road for some fruit shakes: papaya, banana and avocado.

The medicine came in powder form that you mix with water and drink. It tasted like Buckley’s, so I figured it worked:)

Our favourite restaurant, where we had two meals and went back a third time for takeaway shakes/smoothies before heading to Inle Lake.

 

The medicine came in powder form that you mix with water and drink. It tasted like Buckley’s, so I figured it worked:)

 

Our favourite restaurant, where we had two meals and went back a third time for takeaway shakes/smoothies before heading to Inle Lake.

 

Off we went for more temple exploring and people and sites to see.

We biked for half an hour or so, past all of the temples we had visited the day before, and then came across this little village down a long lane way. The village was next to the river with a few temples in it, one of which was built entirely of wood and with a strong Chinese influence. Outside we were greeted by a group of children, some of whom were trying to sell their own artwork (unfortunately not that uncommon here).

 

After leaving the village we stopped at one of the largest temples in the area. We had been here before, on the first night but had only seen it in the dark. Up close in the daytime it was much more impressive!

Since we had already seen the inside of this magnificent temple, we opted to explore the neighbouring buildings and am I ever glad we did! Next to this impressive temple stood a far less impressive old monastery. There was a man selling paintings outside he wanted to show us so we chatted with him for a while. He told us about this artwork and also about the history of the building. Just as we were about to leave he asked us if we wanted to see inside (all the doors and windows had bars on them). We said yes, and a woman took out some keys and let us in. As we entered she pointed to a sign that said in English ‘no photos or videos’. We nodded and then she led us in to the inner room and turned on a light. Covering the entire 20’x20′ room and about 15′ tall were intricately painted images all over the walls and ceiling. It took my breath away. After about 10 minutes of examining the entire room she lead us outside to the hallway that surrounded the little room, handed me a flashlight and motioned us to walk around the hallway. Just like the little room, the entire hallway was covered in ornate and intricate paintings that told a story of Buddha and the people. It was incredible! It took us easily 20-30min to walk around taking it all in.

A bit of history…Most temples in Sri Lanka and Cambodia were built with stone. In Bagan, only a handful are built with stone, and then the stone became a limited resource so they built the rest with bricks. Then they would cover the entire brick structure with plaster to make it look like stone, and they would paint and decorate the interiors with either purely decorative artwork or story boards to tell the tale of Buddha. Since all of the Bagan temples were built in 850-1200, the plaster in most of the temples has since cracked away leaving only the brick skeleton. It is rare to find a building (temple or monastery) with its plaster intact and the paintings still legible. We hit the jackpot and what is more fascinating is that we were the only people around! Because this little modest monastery was next to the grand temple, all of the tourists were focused on the temple instead! Their loss.

Outside one of the sand paintings was an exact replica of one of the scenes painted on the wall inside of the monastery. This gives you an idea of how detailed it was!

Despite taking a Dukoral booster and being fairly cautious with the food I’ve been eating, the lack of sleep from the overnight bus from Yangon left my immune system weak and I came down with a mild-moderate case of tourista. Aki was sick too so we all laid low until check out at noon. During our downtime one of the guest house guides chatted with us and when we told him our symptoms he recommended the Burmese medicine for our ailments… after taking multiple Imodiums, hydration powder that I had brought from home I figured it didn’t hurt to try something else.

Besides, with a full afternoon left we weren’t about to let our GI tract get in our way. We headed to the closest pharmacy to pick up the meds and then on to our favourite restaurant down the road for some fruit shakes: papaya, banana and avocado.

The medicine came in powder form that you mix with water and drink. It tasted like Buckley’s, so I figured it worked:)

Our favourite restaurant, where we had two meals and went back a third time for takeaway shakes/smoothies before heading to Inle Lake:

Off we went for more temple exploring and people and sites to see.

We biked for half an hour or so, past all of the temples we had visited the day before, and then came across this little village down a long lane way. The village was next to the river with a few temples in it, one of which was built entirely of wood and with a strong Chinese influence. Outside we were greeted by a group of children, some of whom were trying to sell their own artwork (unfortunately not that uncommon here).

After leaving the village we stopped at one of the largest temples in the area. We had been here before, on the first night but had only seen it in the dark. Up close in the daytime it was much more impressive!<

Since we had already seen the inside of this magnificent temple, we opted to explore the neighbouring buildings and am I ever glad we did! Next to this impressive temple stood a far less impressive old monastery. There was a man selling paintings outside he wanted to show us so we chatted with him for a while. He told us about this artwork and also about the history of the building. Just as we were about to leave he asked us if we wanted to see inside (all the doors and windows had bars on them). We said yes, and a woman took out some keys and let us in. As we entered she pointed to a sign that said in English ‘no photos or videos’. We nodded and then she led us in to the inner room and turned on a light. Covering the entire 20’x20′ room and about 15′ tall were intricately painted images all over the walls and ceiling. It took my breath away. After about 10 minutes of examining the entire room she lead us outside to the hallway that surrounded the little room, handed me a flashlight and motioned us to walk around the hallway. Just like the little room, the entire hallway was covered in ornate and intricate paintings that told a story of Buddha and the people. It was incredible! It took us easily 20-30min to walk around taking it all in.

A bit of history…Most temples in Sri Lanka and Cambodia were built with stone. In Bagan, only a handful are built with stone, and then the stone became a limited resource so they built the rest with bricks. Then they would cover the entire brick structure with plaster to make it look like stone, and they would paint and decorate the interiors with either purely decorative artwork or story boards to tell the tale of Buddha. Since all of the Bagan temples were built in 850-1200, the plaster in most of the temples has since cracked away leaving only the brick skeleton. It is rare to find a building (temple or monastery) with its plaster intact and the paintings still legible. We hit the jackpot and what is more fascinating is that we were the only people around! Because this little modest monastery was next to the grand temple, all of the tourists were focused on the temple instead! Their loss.

Outside one of the sand paintings was an exact replica of one of the scenes painted on the wall inside of the monastery. This gives you an idea of how detailed it was!

By the time we were done at the monastery it was about 4:45pm and nearly time for another sunset. We raced around the area on our bikes to find a temple we could climb, and after stopping at two that either didn’t have stairs or weren’t accessible to tourists we found one to climb and watch our third sunset in Bagan. Happiness.