Usually, I am not a shopper. I would like to maintain this stand while Ankur may insist otherwise. The debate continues. However, there are a few things that I want in our house when we retire – paintings from Egypt, carpet from Morocco, lamps from Turkey…the list goes on…and the effort to knock each item off the list is also on. On the list, also appears lacquerware from Bagan. And now that I was in... Read More
Lake Inle wasn't part of my initial itinerary; I assumed it to be an overrated tourist trap and gave it a miss. I ultimately added it to the itinerary as the most travel person I know (he has been to over 100 countries!) insisted that I visit this locale...and I am glad that I did! In turn, I insist that you add Lake Inle to you Myanmar itinerary...blue skies, floating villages, fishermen and smiling locals await you!
There are over 2000 temples and pagodas that still stand tall at Bagan... there are the large, famous ones...and then, there are the lesser known ones. Which ones to visit...and which ones to skip? I managed to visiting about 1% of the these pagodas in three days. Some of made me stop and admire the architecture... some stunned me with the sparkle of gold... some made me feel part of the local culture ...and some calmed my soul with solitude.
Here are the ten pagodas of my choice that are a must visit if you are in Bagan...
Pagodas, temples and stupas...over 2000 of them, which were built between the 9th and the 13th century, still adorn the plains of Bagan. There are so many of them that you can have a little one for yourself for hours, regardless of the recent tourist influx that Myanmar is witnessing. If Bagan is not on your travel map, it is time you put it up there...and then, get there before the rest of the world does!
On my last day in the country, as I walked though the streets of Yangon Downtown, I glanced at the stalls that were manned by the local 'chefs'. A lot of them seemed to have vegetarian food on the menu; there were some more with egg, but without meat. As it was my last day, and I could afford getting the stomach bug, I decided to indulge!
Serendipity always makes me smile! As I planned by trip to Myanmar, I figured out that hot air ballooning over the plains of Bagan is an activity that a lot of people rave about. As Myanmar was turning out to be easy on the pocket, I figured out that I could spare cash for my maiden hot air ballooning flight with Balloons over Bagan. Yipppppeeeee...finally, I would tick an item on the bucketlist!
The world knows that South East Asia is a backpacker’s paradise…and Myanmar follows the rule...well, mostly. While food, activities and tours within Myanmar were inexpensive, getting to the country from India was almost as expensive as reaching Europe. I spent about 50% of the total cost of the trip on flights…from India to Myanmar and within Myanmar. My one week trip cost me less than USD 1200, including flights, accommodation, tours, entrance fee and food. Here is what the expense sheet looks like….
With an area of over 675,000 square kilometers, one week does not do justice to a country as large as Myanmar. The country has mountains to hike, lakes to sail, ancient temples to explore, beaches to sunbathe and over a hundred ethnic tribes to speak with! I would have loved to spend at least two weeks soaking in the warmth of this country. However, with the limited travel time that I have, one week is all that I can spend in this exotic land.
Preparing the Myanmar itinerary has taken me quite a while... many revisions... many iterations... and very limited information. I kept my fingers crossed and hoped that things would work out well! Having spent a week in this elusive and exotic land, I can safely say none of my others trips till date have left me so enchanted! Here are a few pictures clicked during the last one week to pique your curiosity...