May 29, 2014

Overwhelming Bagan Temples

Enchanted by thousands of ancient stone used as worship place by the Bamar, Shan, Keren and other ethnic group in Burma, the angels and the starts connive to make an astonishing experience that, surely, I will not forget. I've heard about the about the temples and pagodas of Bagan but I didn't know how magnanimous and magical the place is till’ my peers in travel blogging has started to talk about it and post inviting pictures over social media. True enough every traveler shouldn't miss the Ancient Temples of Bagan.




When Experience Misshaped on your Arrival... 

Below 10 degrees Celsius in 4AM dew I was clueless where to go for I haven’t booked any hotel or hostel. I gave in to one of those guys offering $5-$10 dollar accommodation in Nyaung –U. Without any deal on the price I rode his bicycle and endure the cold. In reality, I realized he doesn't have a hotel and what he did was he toured me around in the cold morning and look for a hotel. I was so pissed off and clueless. I couldn't understand his little English and he could understand me as well. I understand though that he was suggesting that I do the Bagan sunrise then day tour then take the bus bound to Mandalay or Inle Lake because it was peak season and all hotels were fully booked. Nice suggestion huh! He was talking to a lot of people for possible hotel recommendation, went to that hotel only to be dismayed. Then I asked him to park in a hotel and contrary to his will I went down the bike and negotiated to the hotel myself.



My plan was to leave my bag in the hotel and do the sunset and day tour. Maybe at 11am, the check-out time, there will be rooms available. It’s a chance though but I have to take it. So I told that to the reception and they agreed because there were guess scheduled for check out. And I hit the jackpot because I was charge $5 only! Wow! My budget was like $10 per night.




To my amazement I went back to the guy who made me believe he has a hotel for me and told him I’m hiring him for the Bagan Sunrise. He was relieved of his agony because I was beginning to be angry. Lesson learned always be clear when you negotiate for anything. You have to be sure. You have to let him say what you need if without any paper documents.

...You Will Meet Two Angels after

He drove the much lighter bike for about 10 minutes. Darkness and cold air still surrounding the temples, it was so cold. Damn cold that I chuckle because my whole body was shaking. It was the coldest I've ever experienced. I remember the times I put my body inside our big refrigerator to cool myself 20 years ago - now guess my age lol.




He turned left to the sandy road with a temple in yellow lighting at the end. I saw some horse cart with 2-3 people on it but my eyes was glued on the stupas of the temple.                

I was asked to put of my rubber shoes and step to the cold stone floors. You have to pay respect to the worship place in which you share the glory of ancient humanity. It’s colder inside the temples made of red bricks that are becoming dilapidated. I went up and witness a crowd trying to find the perfect spot to witness the so called Bagan Sunrise. I went to the second layer of the stupa where you can sit and befriend other tourists.



Looking afar the vast darkness, I heard a dignified voice saying “Hi! So where you guys came from?” I felt the need to answer not just to have new friends but to raise my flag as well. She’s asking where I came from, I have to answer. I thought the voice came all the way from the western hemisphere because her complexion was illuminating in the dark. Then I said oh she’s Asian like me. I got this philosophy that every time you went out of your country you represent your country; you are an ambassador of your nation. You have to stand up and be the man your country needs. Invite them to visit you. Show the world what your country has. Host them. Make them feel home.   



I answered her, "I'm from the Philippines" She's quite amused by the fact. I invited her to seat beside me for a perfect Bagan Sunrise experience and she was excitedly went up with her nosy sister. She sat beside me. And oh boy I just sat with an angel!




Her name is Cyndee and her sister is Jenny. They are from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. We talked much about anything under the sun. The talked went further our itinerary and they generously invited me to join them. And that’s actually I was looking forward too, meeting new friends to share the cost of the horse cart tour. US$30 is too much for a solo backpacker from the Philippines.



Anyway we shared the cost of the horse cart, we shared the amazement over the temples and stupas, whine about human treachery in the temples, talked about food and culture, waited patiently for the sunset and our prize is forever friendship - thanks to the social media. That’s good about solo travelling; allowing yourself to be friends with stranger and most of the time your reward is priceless work of magic. Cyndee is sweet and beautiful – classy woman, no doubt I was attracted. Jenny is intelligent and strong woman – she’ll go a long way for sure. I can’t wait to tour my two angels in the busy streets of Manila and I can't wait to visit them in Malaysia.            




Temple Chasing

Every tourist is supposed to pay an Archaeological fee just like in Angkor Wat to enter in some major temples in Bagan. But you wouldn't recognize the difference because most of it is pretty much the same. Our horse cart driver/tour guide suggested that we visit the temples not requiring the archaeological fee. 

I’m not going to play like I am your history teacher here because I did not research about the temples. I was there to be amazed and be relaxed.

Here are the temples that we chased in Bagan:  
       
Shwe Zigon Zedi







Chi Bae Wei








Hillominto Guphaya-Yi





Upathein





Khay-Min-Cha






Thatbyimyu Pagoda





Shwe-San-Daw Paya








Burmese Feast




Anvara Temple








Maha Bodi Pagoda





Pyu Pyu



Budhaya





Shwe gu Gyi – Painting








Sunset Pagoda





Our Tour Guide/Driver



 Burma Series


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