Fairy-tale Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar

Newspaper publication at the Dutch Metro!

It’s only been recent since Myanmar (former Burma) opened its borders to tourists. Until that time the country lived secluded from the outside world for decades. So, a unique opportunity to visit the country now, before it’s overloaded with tourism.

That’s why when I started my trip to Myanmar, I had no expectations whatsoever. I did have one place high on my wish list though, namely the temple valley of Bagan.

Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar

From the moment you enter the country you go back in time. It’s very special to travel through a scenery where you see people live in wooden huts and where they plow the land manually with ox and cart. The only thing you see is nature, interrupted by sandy paths and where goat herders cross the road every now and  then, looking for new prairies.

Buddhism is the most important religion in the country and monks have a high status in Myanmar. Thanks to Buddhism, the country is now full of pagodas and temples.

Geitenhoeders in Bagan

Goatherd in Bagan

That’s why nowhere in the world there are as many Buddhist temples as in Myanmar and Bagan (built over 1.100 years ago) was the capital of the former first Bagan empire. During a couple centuries, thousands of temples were built and every new king wanted to exceed the old king. And they did just that, because the result doesn’t lie!

It’s truly one big treasure of wealth to be able to walk through the temple valley of this former empire. At this moment there are over 2.000 Buddhist temples and pagodas (in relatively great condition) to be admired. I will take you back in time in this travel blog, welcome to Bagan!

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Magical Bagan

What makes Bagan so special is the thousands of ancient temples that are still there. In every approximately 15 square miles you can find 2.200 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries. It is one big valley of art treasures and well over 2.000 temples.

It is one of the most important archeological discoveries in all of Asia and a must to visit if you get the chance. Bagan is traditionally on the Ayeyarwady river. This is one of the most important rivers in Myanmar and is even one of the biggest of South-east Asia!

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Young monks studying

During high season from October till April it is possible to book a balloon ride at dawn. The costs for this are around €275. It might be a lot of money, but it truly is a once in a life time experience and every penny is worth every bit of it.

The sun slowly rising, the red orange glow that gradually spreads over the pagodas and the layer of mist that slowly disappears at the horizon make this spectacle a true mystical appearance that you will not forget for the rest of your life.

Ballonvaart over Bagan

Balloon ride at dawn

If you happen to be travelling out of season it’s also nice to discover the temple valley by e-bikes. These are electric motor scooters that allow you to travel through the whole area by yourself and with which you can go off-road over the different sandy paths. This is so relaxed and fun!

It is recommended to reserve at least 3 full days for Bagan, because there is so much to see. On top of that you will stop often along the way to climb the different pagodas and or temples. Make sure you also carry a sarong to cover your legs or shoulders.

Shwezigon pagoda by StylishTravelTips.com

Shwezigon pagoda, Old Bagan

Bagan surprised me in every way, the pureness of the nature, the picturesque scenery but especially the friendliness of the people themselves. Because Myanmar had not been open to tourists for decades, the people are sincerely happy that you visit their country. They especially love speaking English with you and tell about their history with pride. You can not wish for a better guide!

Myanmar girl by StylishTravelTips.com

Myanmar girl

We met a young family from Bagan that was selling their souvenirs at the temples during one of our stops. The young man enthusiastically talked about their cultural legacy and showed us the deserted pagodas and ancient murals from the Pagan empire.

It’s so unreal to stand  there at that moment, you literally go back in time, lost in thought to the year 900 in exactly the same spot where monks used to live. The most special thing for me was that his little baby girl looked exactly like a little Buddha  🙂

Baby girl "little Buddha" by StylishTravelTips.com

Baby girl “little Buddha”

That same night we climbed the pagodas to watch the sunset. What happened then was something magical.

While the sun slowly set and the outlines of the pagodas got more clear, we could hear monks sing from a temple a bit further for a moment. It was a Buddhist mantra chant with which they guide the setting sun while singing and meditating until it’s fully set. And all of that in a fairy-tale scenery. Truly a memorable moment to never forget!

Sunset @Bagan ©Kasia Hering

Sunset at Bagan ©Kasia Hering


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