Roughly 2600 temples, to be more precise. And that’s down from an original 4000 before the earthquake in 1975 (and an even more original 10,000 that once existed in the area).
Lili, Aki and I took the night bus from Yangon to Bagan and arrived early the next morning, just in time to grab a taxi and watch the sunrise from one of the larger temples in Bagan.
During the sunrise we saw about a dozen hot air balloons rise in the distance to take in the view.
Since we didn’t have accommodation booked for our three days in Bagan, we had our taxi driver take us to a few guest houses until we found one with rooms available that met our criteria (clean & affordable/cheap). On our third or fourth try we found one that was acceptable – $25 for a double occupancy room, breakfast included – perfect.
We had breakfast while waiting for our rooms to be ready, then once we had checked in rented bicycles ($1.50 each for the day) and visited the nearby village before lunch. A few things to note about Bagan:
-although the longii skirt is still the main outfit here, it’s not unusual to see a few men wearing pants (whereas in Yangon that was unheard of).
-they are more accustomed to tourists, but still friendly
-motorbikes are quite common here
-the most common way to see the temples are by bicycle, e-bike or horse and carriage!
-Bagan is known for its pottery and ceramics
At almost every temple we visited over the 3 days there were men selling these paintings done on sand.
We made our way down to the Aye Yarwaddy River where we saw a few long boats, and then saw a group of children playing soccer on the beach. Aki and I joined in:)
On the way back from the beach and the soccer game Aki and I stopped at a local market with everything from food to marionettes. We also happened across a group of men playing checkers in the shade using a painted checkerboard on concrete and bottle caps either face up or down for the different teams. Smart.
After lunch and a little nap we headed out again on our bikes to take in the sunset. Stunning.