Temples of Bagan are one of those places you wouldn't believe they're for real until you actually get to see it with your own eyes. Over 2000 stupas and temples peppered into the landscape between Nyaung U and New Bagan on the bank of Irrawady river.
Arrival in Nyaung U in the early morning is as funky as it gets. We have not arranged for accommodation and ended up sitting in a tea place for a few hours, until the sun rose well above us. Thankfully Jinsoo from South Korea and Daniel from Switzerland were in the same situation so we kept each order company while sipping on traditional Burmese tea, 'lapeyi'. Once we've found a room for a reasonable price, we've checked in and after a long nap began exploring. Obviously the best time of the day is early morning or late afternoon, otherwise day temperatures could be punishing out in the open, however the weather is unusually cold so even the day temperatures are forgiving and rendering our experience more enjoyable. Except the cold nights. Another innovation on the plains is the new
e-bikes that could be rented and you can start exploring without breaking a sweat. This is a nice touch I think and it made my sunrise trips so much less painful. I'm not a morning person, right!? The temples are amazing! I would suggest 2 and more days if you like to explore the ones out of sight. There is only a few remaining that you can actually freely explore and climb for great sunset/sunrise views. Mostly they are stupas and structures that you can not get above the tree level.
Funny story concerns a couple that we have met in Moscow on our first stay into this journey at Retro Hostel. This Dutch couple, Marlene an Jandan, walked into our guesthouse one evening. I recognised Jandan and told Mariola that I know him from somewhere. Her answer!? 'Right, that's your pickup line!' Embarrassed I got off the case until Marlene addressed me with a comment on one of my pictures I was editing. I had to use my 'pickup line'! Turns out we have met before and I was right! We spent a couple days together and found too many resemblances in our stories. Too many: Both couples names are very similar, Jandan is the same age as myself, we started travelling about the same time, plans and routes are scarily similar, with Jandan we both have the same Swiss Army knife and we both had a back injury in Mongolia... We didn't exchange details in Moscow, just said a farewell with words: 'another time, another place'. Nyaung U turned out to be that place and 5 months later was the time.
Temples of Bagan are definitely a wonder that I would recommend to fellow travellers. Is well worth your money and time. We have spent 4 days here, but now Ngapali Beach is calling and hopefully it will be warmer than Bagan.