Not the conventional exchange city but definitely somewhere you would want to travel to at least once in your lifetime. I think as someone who has been on exchange (mine was in Barcelona), we tend to have this urge to want to explore other parts of the world. And Myanmar has always struck me as a country that would be interesting to visit so TADA there I was. On a solo adventure to Myanmar! (I went to Yangon – Bagan – Inle Lake but I’ll just touch on Bagan for this post!)
Also known as the ancient city of Bagan, sights of temples are everywhere. Now, my camera does not do it justice BUT TRUST ME, if you decide to go to Bagan, you will be just as amazed as I was.
I took a night bus from Yangon to Bagan (a gr8 way to save up on accoms gaiz HAHA) and I realised the night buses here are really quite good (like Singapore to Malaysia buses should learn manz). They provided snacks, soft drink AND TOOTHBRUSH KIT GAIZ (SO GOOD LIKE WOW) as well as a refreshing towel (I don’t know how they do it but it’s super well done like really refreshing). It’s similar to wet wipes but it’s really a towel!
I booked my bus from the hostel and it costs about 18000 kyats (S$18). TIP: If you’re spontaneous kind, try to book with the hostel instead of in advanced! You can save up a lot more (and every dollar counts right for a Budget Traveller)
The bus left at 8 pm and arrived in Bagan at 5 am.
I was super groggy and just like Woah okay too early to function but I also felt refreshed like I had such a good sleep manz. And random people started approaching me and asking if I needed a taxi. I was a bit annoyed because I just got down, I’m disoriented stop just stop (LOL SO DRAMA ISDIY). but yeah eventually figured I needed a taxi and asked for the price. Told the hoard of drivers that i needed to go to Shwe Na Di Guest House. And coincidentally another lady who alighted was heading to the same guest house so YAY share cab (for 4000 kyat per person S$4).
SO TRY TO FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO GO TO THE CITY WITH YOU!! CHEAPER FOR YOU!!
Along the way, we (foreigners) had to pay an entrance ticket to the Ancient City Bagan 25000kyat (S$25). It might seem quite expensive but its for the conservation purposes and you have access to every temple so just pay for it (and try not to go around the system). Like do not run away from paying. Its really for the better of the temples and archaeological purposes!!
Shwe Na Di Guest House
Shwe Na Di was located at NyaungU. (Bagan consist of NyaungU, Old Bagan, New Bagan and I just picked NyaungU because good reviews and conveniently located but everywhere is accessible by e-bike so regardless where you choose, it should be fine!)
When we arrived at around 6 am, we were not the only ones who arrived early and it seemed like everybody else took night buses too! I booked my room through Agoda as it was discounted and it’s really better!! Sometimes spontaneous may not always be good so you can prepare here and there! My room wasn’t ready yet though so I was just waiting around in the lobby. And after that, they said I could have my breakfast (which starts at 6.30am).
I WAS LIKE WAIT WHAT?!?! I GET BREAKFAST?? I HAVENT EVEN CHECKED IN THOUGH? WHAT IS THIS HOSPITALITY?? (evidently, I was very much excited to be getting breakfast :’))
so yes, I had my breakfast AND IT WAS SOOOO GUUUUUUUUDDDD. (my phone got messed up so I don’t have a photo of it) but it consisted of mango, orange juice, toast, youtiao(!!!) with honey!!, tea/ coffee!!! SUPER FILLING AND IT WAS GLORIOUS WEW
I rented my ebike from Shwe Na Di at 7000 won for the whole day (apparently you can get it cheaper if you walk around but I liked the convenience of just getting it at the accommodation). And VROOM WE STARTED OUR JOURNEY TOGETHER.
E-bikes are generally quite slow LOL like they can only travel at max 40km/h (and for someone who has been riding, this was a tad too slow for me) BUT it’s good because then you appreciate your views better. (but make sure to keep a lookout for other bikers/ cars around!
But anyway, the route to get to Old Bagan is pretty straightforward so you don’t have to worry too much about navigating (plus the people are really helpful if you’re lost) Just make sure you bring the map they give when you purchase your Bagan entrance ticket.
The first temple we entered, someone was selling his Sand Art pieces (although I’m not very sure if he really did it on his own because we realised that they all generally have the same pieces when we go to other temples….) His English was very very good tho!! As compared to the people in Yangon, a lot more can speak in English. I’m guessing it because they are a lot more directly exposed to tourists since Bagan is quite a touristic area.
The locals are very friendly and some would bring you to the top of some ruins and buildings. Instead of accepting tips, they would then bring you to their shops to buy some of the items (but it’s really quite expensive) so just learn to say no but thank them for their hospitality!! I couldn’t so I went on to buy a bracelet there.
But yes, based on the picture, the ruins mainly look about the same everywhere you go. However, if you’re observant enough, you will notice that some of the architecture differs. This is especially obvious when you go to certain parts of New Bagan and you compare it to Old Bagan.
We also met a local who helped us to put on the Thanaka!
We made sure to catch the sunset on the temples during the 2 days when we were there.
The first one was at South Guni (North Guni temple was closed due to the earthquake the past year that made the building unstable).
If you want a good seat/ view, make sure to come a bit earlier around 5.30pm? Sunset is about 6.30 so yeah wait around, talk to the people around you! 🙂 South Guni wasn’t written on the Bagan map but you could ask locals around!!! They will definitely help!
The next day, we went to Bu Le Thi temple and the view was equally nice.
Take note that 2017 is probably the last year tourists can climb up the temples as they are going to work on making sure the temples are conserved properly plus also for archaeological purposes. It’s quite sad that the earthquake in 2016 destroyed about 90 temples as well so a lot of temples that were previously opened to climbing were closed down (eg the North Guni that people raved about the sunset there)
So yes, Bagan has been very much beyoootifool everywhere and you can stumble upon other pretty temples along the way. Switch up your routes and discover other temples that aren’t on the map!!! It’s really quite nice. 🙂 🙂 I thought 2 days was sufficient but other people spend at least 3 days here so it really depends on what sort of traveller you are. Hope to be back during the hot air balloon season to see them rise during sunrise HEHE.
Also, even as a girl travelling solo in Asian countries is not such a scary idea. Of course, you would have to take the necessary precautions but all is great if you have an open mind and are willing to meet new friends! I think I learnt a lot during this trip from other travellers and other locals.
YOU should definitely try it 🙂 🙂
#isdiyexplores signing off