Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bagan, the Ancient City of Burma

A message we'll be seeing at all the temples/pagodas visited in Bagan. 
We reached Bagan from Yangon via train. A long, overnight 17 hours train ride that costed us USD 55 (but if we bought without an agent, it would've costed us only USD 40). Expensive yes, but having limited information on the net didn't give us much choice. My experience on the train can be read here. :')

Thankfully, pick-up was provided by our hotel at Bagan's train station which looked equally ancient as its city. We met other backpackers there who were still negotiating with the drivers on the prices while we got on our pre-arranged ride.

Bagan Train Station, the one and only.
We were tired and couldn't wait to get a proper bath after that long, extremely bumpy train ride. On the ride to the hotel, we managed to arrange a day tour with the current driver and left it at that. He'll come pick us up later once we all have settled in our hotel rooms and freshly bathed. It was expected to be bloody hot that day. Hehe.

So here we were... in Bagan, the former capital of the magnificent Kingdom of Pagan that once had around 10,000 temples and pagodas. This empire was neighboring the great Khmer Empire to the East. Now what's left of this ancient empire after years of earth quakes and handling of many leaders, are only about 2200 temples. Some rebuilt with modern materials, thus deterring the original design of its first builder.

Munuha Guphaya Temple.
Please ignore the green person in front. Surely she doesn't know how to pose for the camera. T__T

Munuha Guphaya Temple was the first stop for the day. Besides enjoying the splendor of the ancient Buddhist architecture, one could also try shopping for lacquer or tin based products, paintings and other local made souvenirs similar seen in other temples of Bagan. The thing about Bagan is that nobody checks if you bought the Bagan Archaeological Zone Entrance Fee of USD$10. (I didn't buy it). And they don't provide a map and names of temples on it as done in Angkor Wat. We were basically depending wholly on our driver and what he says.  

If all else fails, we depended on signboards at each place that the driver brought us to. Oh.. I googled some of the names read here and I'm not sure if all were correctly named. Hikkss.. Hopes some-one can help correct me.

Gubyauk Gyi (Myinkaba) Temple
We noticed that almost all of the temples had big archways of an entrance like the picture above. It was pretty dramatic when being pictured from inside it towards the temple. I think I caught dozens of pictures like this one. Haha. Here are the lessons I learnt from this trip. 

Sulamani Guphaya
Thatbyinnyu Temple
Yeahh.. guess I'm playing "guess the names of the temples" with this post. It was basically just a day of sight seeing and the dusty, dirt roads weren't that organized. Of course, logically saying, Bagan having 2200 temples made it impossible for us to visit ALL of them! But I'm certain the driver have brought us to the more important, flamboyant ones for picture purposes. *pasrah*

We eventually bought some postcards at one of the temples and decided to post them right away. But beware!

Lily, my travelmate, checking out the mailbox we found at the road side.
Never put your mail in any of the red mailboxes you spot on the road sides. It's highly unreliable as it's not even locked!

We also found similar temples like the one below with white walls emblazoned with dark molds, looking hauntingly beckoning under the evening sun.
The dirt walls of Thatbyinnyu Phaya Temple 
The leafs-less trees at the sides making Thatbyinnyu Phaya Temple even more eerily, scary. 
Our day was getting darker and the driver brought us to the last temple for day to view sunset. This temple is best-known as the sun-set temple among tourists as hundreds of visitors flock this temple just for that reason. Including me. Haha.
Shwesandaw Pagoda (Sunset Viewing Temple)
Only Fie and i attempted the climb to the very top whil Lily and Anna stayed at safer heights because one of them were afraid of heights. As we struggled upwards on the steep stairs, lo and behold, we were awed by  the view from the top!
A fraction of what I saw from the top, the whole city of Bagan! 
Sunset in Bagan. :)))
It was damn beautiful! We got down with all the hundreds peoples who came up with us and it started to get really hectic! The temple has only 4 stairways, one at each side and we basically had to wait a long while before getting down. There were only one arm rail for support on the left, but I decided to scurry down without it. :P

Crossing out Bagan from my UNESCO list. Finally! ^__^

note: good source of info on Bagan --> http://www.baganmyanmar.com/index.php


Alid Abdul said... [Reply]

Bagaaan wait for meeeeeeee,,,, I'm still won't take 50 dollar just for the train hahaha, itu mahaaaaaaallll

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ alid... kan? memang mahal!! hope u found a better, cheaper option. but I doubt you can tho coz they separate locals from foreigners. Good luck!

Anonymous said... [Reply]

USD55 for a train trip? Oh my!

* Btw, Lily's is always with her cute pose. :D

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ zaraab.. hahaha. yes she is.

hlga said... [Reply]

mahal bener ongkosnya ya mas..
foto2nya cantik itu mas jard!
keren yang terakhir :D

PerenLee said... [Reply]

50 dollar for train,so expensive..

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ hlga.. amboi mbak helga.. kemain masih panggil gw dengan panggilan mas. puikkk.. T__T

@ perenlee... yes a bit expensive.. read from other blogs.. if they use bus 8 hours from yangon costs only USD 20. cheaper option!