24 down, 1976 to go - Myanmar Part 3
Relaxing in Bagan
Starting in about AD 1057 about 20 temples a year were built on average for 200 years or so. Bagan had a rapid decline at the end of the 13th century and popular belief is that Mongols swept over the city ransacking and looting after which the city and temples were left untouched for years. Neglect, looting, earthquakes, erosion and bat dung have taken its toll but it’s still an amazing sight. We noticed new temples are being built and many are being restored and/or looked after.
Click below for a 360 degree panorama view from the top of one of the temples. Click the full screen option, and use the zoom to get the most out of it.
We only went about 5 minutes and BooBoo made a turn into our first temple (which they also call Pagodas, it was confusing at first) where we were met by the key guy who had an armful of sand paintings. Most of the temples are locked and someone has the key, if it’s a popular one it stays open for the day, if not then you just have to look around for a usually sleeping person to open it for you. The key guy of course asked us “Where you from?” and when we answered he replied “Ohhhh Justin Beiber!” Huh? Usually in most countries when you say where you are from you get some sort of reply (Eqypt it was “Ohhh Canada Dry?”) but…Justin Beiber? Too funny!
Once we’d taken a peek around the key guy asked us to look at his hand made sand paintings, which I did….not realizing every key guy has an arm full of handmade sand paintings.
This next bit is more for James and I, we wanted to document what we saw. Every temple was different and beautiful in its own way and a year from now we want to be able to look back and remember.
|1||Seinyed Temple||climbed up to top, only one with a stupa, could see from our hotel room|
|2||Nagayon Guphaya Temple||most beautiful statues I’ve seen, giant gold Buddha|
|3||Abe Yadanar Temple||built in honour of Kings wife who waited for him to come home from his hanging (didn’t say how long she waited or if he came home)|
|4||Nan Temple||½ brick, ½ sand stone, beautiful with black carvings|
|5||Manuha Temple||gold tops, 3 huge Buddhas built into the walls, and a huge reclining one|
|6||Gu Byauk Gyi Temple||can still see paintings inside, gorgeous top, group of small Buddha|
|7||Nye zedi Temple||peaceful with chanting and prayer going on|
|8||Dhamayangi Temple||more square building like with giant windows, filled with chirping bats|
|9||Phya That Gyi Temple||giant burgundy Buddha, temple surrounded by fully in bloom orange and yellow flowered trees. Alone so very quiet!|
|10||Bheake Mout Temple||climbed to top, watched a goat herder go by, amazing view|
|11||Sulanani Temple||filled with painting inside, mostly of lying down Buddhas|
|12||Bu Le Thi Temple||couldn’t climb, burnt my feet, James made it (but he’s a tough guy in his longyi)|
|13||Alodewbyi Temple||very pretty and filled with flowers from visitors|
|14||Gubyauk Nge Temple||very peaceful, silly kid walked up behind me and scared the crap out of me|
|15||Gubyauk Gyi||small, pretty with amazing ceiling paintings|
|16||Shezigon Temple||gold and burgundy, a bit newer, many temples big and small in a cluster|
|17||Kyan Sittha U Min Temple||small, low ceiling (unusual so far), unique wall paintings|
|18||Mystery Temple (didn’t get name)||beautiful white cream color, part redone|
|19||Htilominlo Temple||very large, kinda creepy with thunder in background, bought a wedding gift from sellers outside|
|20||Khay Min Ga Temple||10+ temples in a cluster, quiet and peaceful|
|21||Minochendher Temple||5 yellow cream temples with a beautiful view of Old Bagan, dog guards on centre one|
|22||Ananda Pagoda||big, shiny, white with gold toppers|
|23||Ananda Okkyang||small, old, one of my favourites, naked lady paintings on walls|
|24||Shwe San Daw Temple||WOW! BooBoo saved the best for last, was supposed to be sunset but rain was coming, the view was unbelievable, we sat for quite some time just looking|
Feeling small and insignificant
Susan trying her hand at beating an ox
Adorable cuddly monkeys
Once back in town we had the driver take us to a money exchanger and he did a little loop past a few temples. It got me excited for our bike ride through them planned for the next day.
Once back at the hotel we took a walk to do errands. Book bus tickets, look in a few gift shops and stock up on water and snacks. We were heading back for a swim and a quiet night in front of the tv, felt almost like home.
After another delicious hotel breakfast (included) we grabbed some bikes and headed out to visit more temples. I might actually get my fix in Myanmar. We realized very quickly that the small breeze and shade BooBoo’s cart offered made a huge difference in the 40+ degree heat. But we do enjoy a good bike ride, so toughed it out.
Again this next bit might be a bit boring but mostly for our records. We were staying a few minutes bike ride from Old Bagan so asked BooBoo to leave it for us to do today.
|1||Thatbynnyu Temple||Highest in Bagan at 201 feet, white cream with gold toppers, a Buddha was at the top of a stairway you couldn’t climb so a live feed was set up so you could see him and pray to him still – kinda weird|
|2||Shew Gu Gyi||climbed and had an amazing view towards the river, big windows, very airy and carved inside with giant lotus flower, black Buddhas|
|3||Dog/Lion Temple we called it||got a little lost looking for another, a favourite, on water, a bunch of small temples all guarded by dog/lions, so peaceful|
|4||Mahabodhi Temple||tall bit, recessed Buddahs on outside, surrounded by older ones in ruins|
|5||Bupaya Temple||big gold egg shaped, on river, saw 23 tourists boats and only 2 other tourists – there must be a high season|
|6||Gaw Daw Palin Phaya Temple||beautiful yellow cream|
|7||Mimaluang Temple||steps up to platform, large dogs lion guards but very basic small temple on platform|
|8||Nathluang Kyaung Temple||last hindu temple standing, beautiful smiling lying down Buddha in entrance|
On the way out the door for breakfast James mentioned exchanging our tickets and staying one more day. I jumped at it. The way we had it planned we were taking an overnight bus to Yangon then grabbing a bus right away to Golden Rock, spending one night and then have our last two in Yangon. I have fallen in love with Bagan (and our view) and would rather spend an extra night here. We asked the guy at the front desk then crossed our fingers…..it was not to be. The bus the next day was sold out and the only option would be to eat the cost of the existing tickets and try to find new ones. Not really in the budget. So we had one last meal, one last swim and hung out until our tuk-tuk picked us up.
Our third and last overnight bus in Myanmar was okay….not as nice as the first two but they were better than we ever expected as was this one. I popped in ear plugs (only had Burmese tv on very loud) and snuggled up with my travel pillow and fell asleep.