Just a few temples in Bagan & trek pt 1June 11, 2017 in Myanmar
Bagan - a definite highlight. It's absolutely stunning. An ancient city with thousands of pagodas and temples dotted around the landscape. Small ones, medium ones and large ones as far as the eye can see - incredible. Despite having seen numerous temples on this trip (if you didn't know, they are quite common in SE Asia 🤓), Bagan is still a site to behold. I arrived just in time for sunrise so the taxi took us to a viewing temple - the sun was just about up when we got there but the view was still great. I got to the hostel and for a lot of the rest of the day caught up on some sleep. In the evening they organised a boat tour on the river to watch the sunset.
I signed up for the hostel tour around Bagan the following morning. You had to rent an e-bike, basically an electronic moped that was practically silent (I want one, they are great for buzzing around!) and follow the group. It was excellent. The guide took us to a few of the main temples and explained a lot about the history of Bagan - he was pretty amusing. He also took us to a school for young monks (more like misbehaving monks based on our experience). About a hundred kids were shouting, play-fighting, throwing stuff etc - just being kids, it was quite funny. The guide was trying to teach them English and they eventually calmed down a bit and came to chat to us for a while. Their English was actually pretty good and they were well versed in basic phrases. They also knew a fair bit about football too, but after ten minutes or so they lost concentration and it all decended into chaos again and they just wanted to wrestle and take selfies. I ended up with two trying to arm-wrestle me at once while another would violently smack his mate with a plastic fan - less 'ohm', more arrgh! 🤣
After that energy, we went back on the bikes to a little restaurant before winding our way through the temple grounds back to the hostel. In the evening we went for another sunset tour, this time to the pagoda area. You could climb up and see all around Bagan. Unfortunately clouds got in the way of an amazing sunset - a recurring problem in Myanmar but definitely a nicer 'problem' to have.
On my final day in Bagan, I went to Mount Popa, a large temple situated on top of a hill that's an extinct volcano. It looks very impressive from afar, but when I got to the top it's a bit of a standard affair. The view of the surroundings however was really nice and there are loads of wild monkeys running about. One stole this man's cigarette much to his irritation and my amusement. On the way back we stopped at a palm sugar making place and tried a few flavours - very tasty but probably a quick route to diabetes if regularly consumed.
Got the night bus to Kalaw (the jumping off point for treks to Inle Lake) we arrived annoyingly at 3.00AM it was supposed to be 5.30 AM. So we wandered to our hotel and slept until the morning. The following day we walked around the town and compared trekking companies. Our group settled on one due to start the next day and for the rest of the day we pottered about, had some noodles and got ready for the trek.
It's tipping down with torrential rain and I'm about to start a three day trekking experience - current mood: unamused. 😒 We're in the office of the trekking company awaiting our start and eventually set off sporting our much needed rain ponchos up the hill and into the Kalaw countryside. The rain is lashing down as we ascend into the surrounding areas. We stop for lunch at a viewpoint where we can see precisely nothing owing to the cloud. After a while it clears a bit and the view is better. A woman dressed in traditional tribe clothing is having a photo shoot too on the mountain which is cool to see.
After lunch we set off walking again, thankfully the rain has subsided and we're able to enjoy the trek. The surroundings are very scenic and our guide is hilarious. He has this weird laugh he does when you ask him a question, then sort of nervously runs away grinning slightly maniacally. Endearing and strange at the same time. We continued walking and reached our guesthouse for the night. A giant spider decided to appear in our room and we spent the next 20 minutes trying to catch it, eventually we managed to put it outside much to everyone's relief - rather not have that fall on you in the middle of the night 🕷. We ate some great homemade food and played a few games before retiring for bed and getting set for day two.
...to be continuedRead more