I spent the long holiday weekend in Myanmar!
The first night I just spent in an ‘airport hostel’ in Yangon since I was flying to Bagan the following morning. The guy who was working there had previously lived in KL for about 5 years as a contract worker for a food vendor at KLCC…and he did not have nice things to say about Malaysia. He equated a lot of racist Malaysians’ attitudes towards the Burmese to a lot of Americans’ attitudes towards Mexicans. The more you know…
The next day I flew to Bagan and arrived at the hostel, Ostello Bello. This place was pretty overpriced but seemed to be agreed upon by all travelers that it’s the ‘place to be’ in Bagan. Tourism in Myanmar just opened in 2010, so maybe later there will be more. I went on a relaxing sunset river cruise where they took us to a weird sand island and gave us plenty of booze. I then talked to some other travelers (including one British PhD guy who had very compelling arguments for travel/study in Europe) at the happy hour.
The next morning, I was not anticipating waking up for sunrise, but one of my roommates did…and since I felt fairly awake I got my ass out of bed and went. And it was worth it! At sunrise they release a bunch of hot air balloons – didn’t do that tour because it’s super overpriced – but it makes for a stunning view. The colors were just amazing and everywhere you look there are temples and pagodas. On the way to sunrise was also my first ever time on an ebike. I was a bit nervous because I’d never ridden a scooter/ebike and it was dark out – but I seemed to do well (until my last day in Bagan…more on that later 😦 )
After sunrise, a group of us hired a local guide to do a full day tour of Bagan. He took us to a lot of large and significant temples and taught us a bit about what they meant. In general though, it seems like there isn’t a ton known about the Buddhist empire that Bagan was the capital of…I’d like to know more! but anyway pictures speak for themselves in this case! We toured from morning to sundown. Then upon returning to my dorm I had new roommates – a couple from Vancouver who was just so goofy and amazing! We had great convo and dinner.
The next day I recruited a small group to go to a nearby village. We’re not sure if we ended up in the targeted village, but we got a tour by a local woman who was standing by the road. She showed us the traditional thanaka, some artwork, and other stuff in her village. She was a very proficient guide :p That night we went back to a small temple for sundown. Sundown and sunrise is a big thing in Bagan, but I managed to find small, quiet spots.
The next morning I headed off to explore a bit more with some people. On the way, I fell of my ebike……I don’t know how it happened. It was probably a combo of factors – a loose dirt road, going too fast around a corner, and some bad brakes. I felt pretty dumb afterwards and it is definitely the worst set of injuries I’ve sustained. But live and learn, I guess! I headed back to KL early. Overall I did love Bagan with the exception of my accident…it’s so so beautiful and mysterious and I did love exploring on the ebikes. And I met amazing people! It becomes a bit of a family because most people stay at that hostel. And the locals who helped me after my fall were so kind also. Hopefully I recover soon so I can enjoy my next trip..and from now on I will be more cautious 😐