Bagan Myanmar TravelMyanmar Bagan Travel
Bagan: Journey of a lifetime
The Bagan in the centre of Burma is one of the largest archaeological places in the whole wide globe, a landmark that can compete with Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat, but - at least for the moment - without the sights. Out of the plane's leafy porch rise a temple, tens of them, hundred of them, beautiful otherworldly skylines constructed by the kingdoms of Bagan between 1057 and 1287, when their kingdoms were wiped away by earthquake and Kublai Khan and his descending Mongols.
About 2,230 of the 4,450 originally built have survived, a bequest of the Buddha ist faith that the construction of a sanctuary means to be worth. Almost all year round Bagan is warm. Myanmar is a tough place to travel self-sufficient. Make sure your parcel contains a ballooning over the square, a great, if costly way to see the shrines.
There can be customized auto and drivers routes, the Bagan, as well as packing flux cruising and other shipping choices. They can also make a wide range of tailor-made routes to Bagan. Triple days of cruising starts at 1,640 per passenger, includes full fare, domestic flight and sightseeings. From Yangon or Mandalay you can arrive by inland waterway public transport from Yangon or Mandalay by ship (iwt.gov. mm), but there may be limitations for aliens, timetables may be arbitrary and a transfer of boats is normally necessary in Pyay from Yangon.
Travelling by rail can be intriguing, but it can be time consuming and exhausting work, although the Yangon-Mandalay line is better than most, currently with a fast trains from Yangon to Bagan every day. Slightly more than two leagues westwards lies the small Old Bagan, a dozy town whose residents were resettled by force in 1990 into everyday New Bagan, about two leagues from there.
But it is simple to go by bicycle, cab or horses and carriages to peaceful places, especially in the middle level, where you cannot see another spirit and where there are tens of other monasteries, like Pyathada Paya, full of wall paintings and Buddha sculptures, or which you can ascend without disturbance to observe the sun rise or sundown.
At first, the best way to see the temple is from a warm aeroplane. These 45-minute flight starts at sunrise and travels across large parts of the terrain, with magnificent overlooks of the stream and the far away hills, which are covered by fog, as well as a bird's perspective of the temple and the country town.
Leaders will know where to find the keys to closed churches, although many churches are always open and most are easy to get to, at least for the now. Visas (£14) are needed for Burma. As she was about to write, she advised against travelling to the cities of Meiktila, Tharzi, Wundin and Mahlaing, all near Mandalay and Bagan.
See George Orwell's Burma Days (Penguin Modern Classics) and Golden Earth (Eland) by Norman Lewis for previous travel reports. Tips are not common, but keep small bills (K50, K100 or K200) ready for donation in wards. Footwear and stockings must be taken off before you enter a temple or house in Burma. They are not taken up in nude shoulder or knee temporal positions.
There are some sanctuaries where you can' let a woman in. The stairs to the top of most temple patios are unbelievably sloping, without hand rails, and can be a real challange even for the fitest and most manoeuvrable people. In between the Temple there are only a few small (but charming) dilapidated cafes for refreshments, so take along your meals and drink well.