January 29th, 2018
Yangon bus station is a crazy place so leave lots of time to find your bus. We took the JJ (Joyous Journeys) express which is a pretty luxurious bus ride. Seats are comfy and recline nicely. They give you snacks, drinks and a blanket. There’s a stop for dinner and a stop later for a bathroom break.
We arrived in Bagan at 5 am, dropped our bags at the guesthouse and went to climb a pagoda in the dark in bare feet. Fun stuff. Sun rise was gorgeous and watching the hot air balloons rise over the stupas and temples surreal.
The rest of the morning was spent touring various other pagodas in the area. After a delicious brunch, a quick settle in and clean up in our room, Sue and I set off to explore and people watch. Great fun. Back at our room we got chatting with our neighbours who shared an amazing story. 66 year old Cheryl escaped Burma as a small child with her parents years before and had since lost touch with an older sister. Just a few years ago her husband had visited Burma (now, Myanmar) and had managed to find her. This trip was the first time Cheryl had been back to Myanmar and was reunited with her 89 year old sister. Her daughter Jennifer is travelling with her and they’re both thrilled with the opportunity. Jennifer says she has so many questions for her aunt and feels so lucky to be able to do this. I’ve condensed the story a lot but it sure was an amazing tale!
Our chariot picked us up and we rode off to visit various assorted pagodas and then to watch the sunset. After a delicious dinner of duck and mushrooms and avocado salad, a quick shower and we were done for the night.
Since we enjoyed the sunrise view so much we decided to arise early and see it again from a different vantage point. Ida was hesitant to get out of bed before 5:30 am voluntarily but agreed when I suggested she can sleep when she’s dead 😉
This mornings view was even better! We’ve seen so many pagodas that I have no idea anymore which of the 2,000 in the area we’ve actually seen. Climbing inside the narrow, uneven steps in bare feet in the dark is a challenge but the view from the top is worth it. The sun rise was beautiful and the hot air balloons closer than the previous day. I took WAY too many photos but couldn’t stop as it was just so gorgeous.
After breakfast we set off to visit more pagodas, the river and a local village where we watch the process of creating wooden bowls and things as well as the lacquer process.
For the sunset view today we climbed another pagoda. My feet will be really tough by the time we’re done as you’re not allowed to wear anything on your feet in religious places so climbing is always done bare foot.
People of Bagan