Mystical Bagan

We arrived at 5 am in Bagan. The bus stop is quite far outside, so you need a cab to get to your hostel. Unfortunately there was no one on the bus who also wanted to go to Ostello Bello and the cab drivers were pretty steep. I managed to get them down a little but still payed way too much with 10000 Kyat. And my driver also had nothing better to do than bringing me directly to one of those paying stations where foreigners have to pay 25000 Kyat to enter Bagan (valid for 5 days). At the hostel I first ate a few of my snacks then went to the roof terrace and slept for about 2 hours on one of the free beds there. Then I organized an e-bike. Directly next to the hostel it was more expensive so I walked down the street for a little bit and managed to get a deal (3 days for 11000 Kyat). Foreigners are not allowed to drive motorbikes or normal scooters in Myanmar, but electronic ones are ok – they call them e-bikes. At 8 am I joined the free Bagan tour of the hostel. You only needed your own e-bike and the Bagan ticket. We have been 21 people plus the guide. It was a bit chaotic with so many scooters, but we managed well to get from temple to temple. The guide explained very detailed it was almost too much and most people couldn´t keep the attention up for the whole talk at each place. We visited a few temples,

a local village

and had lunch at a nice vegetarian restaurant called The Moon.

After that we visited another 2 temples

including the Ananda temple

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and at about 3 pm we were back to the hostel. I took a nap and secured my pictures. Then it was already time to get going again. I went with a few people from the hostel to see the sunset. We climbed a temple and enjoyed the magical view. It was just amazing!!!

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my favorite shot of that sunset

Officially it was forbidden to climb the temples since a few months or weeks. After the earthquake about 1 year ago many temples were unstable and some tourists were too stupid and adventurous, fell off and died or got seriously injured. The first day it was still pretty easy to find a temple to climb on but it got more and more difficult the next couple of days. Most locals don´t really mind if you climb up or not, what they do mind a lot though is if you take of your shoes or not. These are temples after all and if you leave your shoes on you really offend them! I returned the e-bike for the night to get it charged and had dinner at the Black Rose. The food was very nice. The next morning I got up at 5:10, picked up my scooter again, had a cup of tea and bananas and took off with small group from the hostel to see sunrise. We went to a temple that is marked as “The Gate is Broken” on MapsMe. They had put gates on many temples or just a brick walls at the entry of the staircase to keep people from climbing up, but at this temple there was a hole in the gate where you could crawl through. We climbed up and witnessed an amazing sunset. Especially when the hot air balloons came up it was just magical!

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I couldn’t afford to fly in one since it was like $300, but watching them was also very amazing. Back to the hostel I had a half hour nap. I got some administrative stuff done, went to the market to get some fruit, topped up my phone, sawed my ripped up pants and wrote my diary. At 4:30 it was time to look for a temple for sunset again. I went with Nick (UK), David (Spain), a Spanish and two German girls. I took one of the German girls on my e-bike who didn´t dare to drive by herself. We went to the temple next to Ku-Tha. Beautiful view!

Before the sun was all the way down we got chased off by a local though and he blocked the entrance with branches of thorn bushes right after we went out. Back at Ostelle Bello we enjoyed the happy hour with a drink and joined the Bingo before going to the 7 Sisters for dinner. It was good food, but very expensive! It was already quite late when we came back so I went straight to bed. Next morning again getting up at 5:10 getting the scooter. This time it was Nick, David, Laura and Maria. Maria didn´t dare to drive so I took her in the back. We wanted to go to the Shwe San Daw Pagoda, but you couldn´t go up there. So we drove to Myauk Guni. The view from this temple was just amazing! The best sunrise I had ever seen!

After breakfast I got a few things done and met the others again at 11 am. The guys were in for a relaxed day, so I took off with Laura and Maria to explore Bagan a bit. In total we visited 3 temples and had lunch, bought some trousers and drove around.

Later we met the guys again to go for sunset. We drove to Temple 446 which was recommended by the guide of the free tour for sunset. They had blocked up that one though so we couldn´t go up. We went to another one. You could go up there, but especially the last part was very tricky and dangerous and none of us wanted to risk it. By then it was too late to look for another temple so we just watched the sunset from the ground. Was also nice though.

We had dinner together in some nice local restaurant close to Ostello Bello Bagan Pool (there are two Ostello Bellos in Bagan, one with pool and one without), enjoyed the happy hour at the hostel.

The next morning I could almost sleep in. Only had to get up at 6:15 in order to get ready, have breakfast, check out and catch a cab to the airport for my flight to Ngapali. I had spent a whole afternoon to find out where and how to best go to a beach in Myanmar. There are several, but none of them is exactly easy and fast to get to. Originally I wanted to take a bus to Yangon and get to a beach from there, but I would have lost 2 days doing that and didn´t have too many left. So I decided to fly. The beaches in the south were either not accessible by plane or at least not from Bagan or were super expensive, so in the end I had settled for Ngapali as the easiest option since I could get there directly from Bagan and from there to Yangon. It was a lot more expensive than taking buses but still a lot cheaper than going to the south and spared me in total 3 long bus trips.

The Ostello Bello in Bagan I fancied the least from all the Ostello Bellos I had been to. The one in Inle Lake was the best, the one in Bagan by far the worst. It is still a nice hostel, just compared to the others of this chain, it is not so nice.

Bagan – what can I say – this place is just mystical and magical! You can basically just live for sunrise and sunset there, but visiting the temples during the day is also very nice. There are plenty of nice restaurants too. If you visit Myanmar, Bagan just has to be on your itinerary. The only thing that is really a bit annoying is the fact that you are not allowed to climb the temples anymore. But there are other options like Sunset Hill, a tower that you can climb, the hot air balloons or just go to a nice area and watch from the ground. I loved it there and was very happy to be able to experience this great place!

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