Bagan, Myanmar

I had big expectations for Bagan. I had seen the photos and had perused many Instagram feeds of Nat Geo photographers that had been there. However, I also had the expectation that Bagan was going to be a biiiiig tourist trap. I was happy to find that although Bagan was touristy, it was nowhere near the level of the big tourist trail locations we experienced in Thailand. Bagan very much has a soul, and a very beautiful soul at that!
After trying to find the best sites to visit by surfing the web I quickly realized that going about Bagan in that way was going to make my brain hurt too much and probably lessen the adventure aspect of the place. There are way too many temples here (that frankly have names that are hard to remember and distinguish from one another) to be very deliberate about your exploration of the area. I decided that the far more effective strategy was to just merely wander! We rented some silly little e-bikes and hit the road!
Navigating through Bagan on e-bike was quite a fun time. Most if the roads are dirt or loose sand, making controlling the steel battery clad behemoths quite a fun chore! They turned out to be a fun way to explore. We would just ride and if a dirt road or temple caught my eye I would go to it. Simple as that!
On our first day this led us to a temple off the main road with no tourists in sight. Yes! Selling paintings outside of the temple was a man by the name of HSJSKDJDK and his brother. After chatting with them for much longer than expected we ended up purchasing some of their paintings. One thing led to another and we somehow managed to get the guy to come watch sunset with us on a monastery that he suggested was a good spot. We actually made fast friends and continued hanging with our new Burmese friend for the majority of our trip. He led us too all sorts if cool temples during the day until sunset where we then usually ended the day with a meal from a restaurant of his recommendation. It was the perfect way to get around and learn about the area as well as get an insight into the real people of Bagan.
I have never been a morning person but in Bagan there are great rewards for the early birds so I decided to change my ways for the time being. My favorite time of day in Bagan was sunrise. They are perfect and amazing. Kevin and I watched the sunrise from the same monastery that we watched sunset from on our first night. We knew the temples and the smoke from the cooking fires in town would make for an awesome sight but we were pleasantly surprised when we turned around and saw inflating hot air balloons popping up from within the town limits. It was honestly one of the most beautiful spectacles I have seen watching the balloons float over the temples that were lit be the newly risen sun!
Our visit to Bagan was short and sweet. After three days or so it was time to get back on the road as we needed to head south for Yangon and a flight back to good ol’ Bangkok! I will definitely be returning to this country as there is still much to be explored, even I’m the areas that I visited during the two weeks here!

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