Myanmar: The Land of Many Faces VII – Bagan on a Bike
Monumental pagodas over 250 years old are glitter under sun shine. Pointy cactuses rise among temples made of red bricks. There are also bushes with red and rose blossoms. You can hear a clapping sound made by shepherd’s clogs.
Four hours in the bus with air conditioning from Pwin U Lwin and a transfer in Mandalay we get off in Bagan in Nyaung U (at central station for people with backpacks). The ride costs 9 000 kyats (about 180 Czech Koruna).
The oldest town in the kingdom is situated in the driest region of Myanmar. The yearly average precipitations are 1000 milimeters. This region was formerly known as the "thorn land." It is empty during the day. Everything changes once the sun set. Tourist crowds armed with tripods climb up to see the most famous temples. However, don't seek nice moments among tourists. There are so many buildings - over 2230 on the area of 40 km². Find your own. Find such where you will enjoy the morning and evening sun as you like.
The ancient city has its own charisma even during the daylight. You can rent a normal bike or an electric bike. Motorbikes for tourists are not allowed. We rent a bike for 1000 kyats (about 20 Czech Koruna). Then we ride the Bagan land with its 911 temples, 524 stupas, 415 temples and 31 other types of buildings. To ride the entire area through is beyond our capabilities. Therefore, we rent an electric bike for 9000 kyats on the following day.
The electrict bike is an ideal solution for this area when its getting really hot. The best option is to lend it early in the morning. The price is the same for a day rent. Make sure that you rent a bike with fully charged battery. Take a telephone number of your bike rental in case you would flatten a awheel or your battery would go empty. Turn of the engine when going downhill. Thus you save energy because such a bike is very strenous to push.
The Bagan architecture is famous all around the world. Every strucutre has its own character. Ananda pagoda is considered the most beautiful of them, the best lif of stupas is Shwezigon, Dhammayangyi became the large Bagan pyramid. Gubyaukgyi pagoda has the most beautiful interior paintings. Nanpaya is famous for beautiful sandstone reliefs. Kyaukgu Umin meditation cave is the center of spiritual life. Shwesandaw is the stupa with the most beautiful view. Thatbyinnyu is the highest building of the former royal town. So, what would be your "best of"?
Would you like to see the structures from the bird's eye perspective? You can book an exclusive balloon flight right in downtown Bangkok. We recommend you to book a flight in advance for the demand is high.
GPS: 21°10'18.9"N 94°51'30.6"E
Text and photos: Šárka Vacková
Castle gates, gigantic royal palace, wooden teak cloister, world´s largest book, the Iravadi river – welcome to Mandalay.
Do you like ancient monuments, temples and learn about new cultures? Then there is probably no better place in the world than Myanmar, a country that opened its borders in 2012 to the western world. The Republic of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is the youngest country in Southeast Asia. The westernmost country of Indochina is located on the peninsula of India's back along the Bay of Bengal. It borders Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. Since 2005, it is its new capital, Neipyijto. Burma is a Buddhist country, with less than 90% of the population reporting this religion. The official currency is the buzz, but some hotels and local travel agencies accept US dollars.
They call Myanmar the gate between India, China, and southeast Asia. In country's largest city - Yangon - you quickly realize why it is so. There, influences of all cultures of the region meet as well as people - Indians, Chinese, Burmese... Let's quickly see the center and the suburbs of the city.
Burma's second largest city sometimes gives you the feeling as it doesn't fint into the country. To be honest, I loved it more than any other city in the country yet it was unimpressive at first. Let's make a quick look at the city.
One of the most popular place in Myanmar is Inle Lake. There are couple of interesting things about it. First, there are traditional fishermen. But also, there are unique floating gardens, and many villages built on water - on lake, or the river streaming from the lake.
Southeast Asia is booming. Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia are in some respects much more developed than we here in central Europe. However, should you like to experience the "true", unglobalized Asia then travel to Myanmar, Cambodia or - as we in this short video - to Myanmar, the country you might know as Burma.
The last stop in Burma is devoted to recreation on beach and a motorbike trip. A banana shake for breakfast, sea fruits for dinner. Peace, quiet, swashing of the waves during the sunrise and the sunset. Paradise or reality?
There are only handful of places where you don’t have to think about anything. I enjoyed this state of mind in a cave.
Let's climb up the second highest mountain of Myanmar. Nice weather means beautiful vista over mountains in India and to Bangladesh. There is a complicated road to the base camp. On the other hand, the climb is easy and takes you up to 3053 meters above sea level.
Great performance of the sun and the longest teak bridge in the world in the background. This you can see at only one place in the world.
A town where is a water canal, banana trees, remains of wooden cloisters. Curious looks of Burmese children, and a pleasant encounter with farmer Uman.
Myanmar is its most beautiful side in the Shan State and around the tourist magnet, Inle Lake. You can easily reach it by bus, but how about a two-day to three-day adventure trip from Kalaw? You will experience a journey from village to village, between different ethnic groups. You will sleep in a Buddhist monastery, you will have the opportunity to get closer to the local culture and life in the countryside, and finally you will reach the aforementioned Inle Lake. The lake is one of the most popular and at the same time the most beautiful tourist destinations in Myanmar.
Colonial structures, an English-style tower, railway stop, orchid park, bamboo bushland, the view over a botanical garden, motorbike ride, waterfalls and rainbow and a great melon at the end. This is Pwin U Lwin. A town with a hidden face of fresh Burmese beauty.
While travelling across Burma, we travel to Hsipaw in Shan State in the north of the country. Full moon is about to come. In this time a large celebration takes place in Bawgyo. Many Burmese delicacies are sold during this time, and you can experience also some fair rides and fire works.
Whistling train comes on time. The rails squeak. We looked down into the mouth of the canyon up form the Gokteik viaduct. What should we see first? The view over scarily deep canyon or slow moving of the train? Welcome to the one of the most famous railroad viaducts in the world.
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