Back in the day Bagan used to be the capital of the Pagan Empire, the first ever attempt to unify what the modern Myanmar is. The city has been abandoned since 1287 and nowadays it is a massive complex of thousands of temples set in the desolated landscape. It is dry, full of dust and feels like a ghost town. Sunrises and sunsets are fantastical, plus there are thousands of temples to choose from as your view point. There are little signs of any tourist development, which is reflected in poor accommodation options (the universal problem in Myanmar) and incostinency in selling tickets. Dust is inescapable and rental bicycles are one step away from falling apart. Electric bikes, on the other hand, despite making you look like a senior and feel like a teenager proved to be an excellent way to explore the area. As a random man from France put it: “You will spend four days here. Four beautiful days”. Well we spent three, but they were beautiful indeed.
There are over 2200 temples, pagodas and stupas in the Bagan area.
The number of temples keeps growing, as new temples keep appearing and old ones restored in an “unhistorical fashion”
Temples are built by ministers, generals and various organisations. The main motivation is to acquire good karma.
It is all good though. The scenery is stunning.
There are temples and stupas of various size, shape and condition.
Some are popular among visitors.
When others are deserted and forgotten by time.
Some temples are rather huge.
Some temples are illuminated in the dark time.
Sunrise is the most popular time to watch the scenery
Along the sunset
Monks enjoy a beautiful sunrise just like anybody else.
As well as taking touristic shots.
We took pictures of monks and they took pictures of us. Fair enough.
Most of the visitors are from Myanmar. Western tourists are somewhat a minority.
Cows do not care about temples and just mind their own businesses.
As if the time stopped in Bagan several centuries ago.
Horse-cart is one of the modes of transportation in Bagan.
$15 for a two kilometre ride to see the sunrise and then to find a hotel. Haggling not possible.
Some temples are open for visiting
Shoes must be left outside the temple area.
And the interiors of certain temples are rather bling.
And of course Buddhas in all kind of shapes and forms are found in each one and every temple.
In search of a perfect sunset temple, we stumbled across a watermelon field. The watermelon turned out to half raw.