The Beauty of Bagan – Part One

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There’s no doubt about it, Bagan is THE must see destination of Myanmar. What is Bagan? Well, Bagan is an ancient city in Myanmar, sort of in the middle of the country 5 hours by minibus from Mandalay and a good day’s journey from the former capital Yangon (Rangoon).

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The temples of Bagan are spread out over a fairly wide area. When you enter the region you have to pay a sort of ‘tourist fee’, $20 when I was there earlier this year. Choose a place to stay – Old Bagan, New Bagan and Nyaung U, where I stayed and where there is cheap accommodation for backpackers. I stayed at the May Khar Lar Guesthouse – here is my review.

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You’ll find Bagan also on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, and you can take a slow boat to Mandalay or in reverse if you like. The city of Bagan dates back to the 7th century, and its power lasted until around the 13th century. What are you going to do? You’re going to need a few days and some transport, and you’ll be able to temple hop to your heart’s delight, enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunsets and marvel at one of man’s great architectural achievements, even if they are not as well-known as the pyramids or Angkor.

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There are so many temples to see that you’ll go dizzy pretty quickly. Remember to hydrate, and take time out to explore ones not marked on your map and ones you can’t name, you never know what you might find. For a few dollars a day you can hire an electric bike or a small scooter. For around a buck or two a day you can get a push bike. It gets hot, there’s a fair bit of distance to cover, I wouldn’t recommend a bicycle unless your budget was mega-tight. But hey – your call and many many people take a push bike and love it.

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Next week, part two presents a little video of Bagan for you. This week I’m concentrating on photos.

BUT – here’s a little time lapse video (one minute long) of a 20 minute sunset at Bagan! Enjoy, and may the journey never end!

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