A Journey of Discovery in Myanmar

A friend I met on my Bagan trip said that, it is hard to find an ugly temple in this land.

The ancient capital of Bagan

18h30, I arrived at Yangon International Airport, the former capital of Myanmar. Take a taxi to the bus station, it costs about 7,000 Kyat (1 Kyat about 17 USD). Then, I enjoyed some snack with family of a new friend. At 20h30, the bus departed and took me to Bagan in the next morning at 5am. Bagan is ancient city with more than 2,000 temples built in the 11th century. After leaving luggage at the hotel, our family went to Bulethi Temple to admire the sunrise. Enjoying sunset and sunrise at Bagan temples brings a sense of special happiness, when light and darkness reunite and transfer power. Just imagine hundreds of years ago, at these temples, the sunrise and sunset were no different from today, you will feel like you are naturally connected to the past and the future.

You can experience balloon ride to see Bagan from the sky, surely it is a great way to enjoy th view at $ 380 per person. Another way is to rent an electric bicycle (7,000 Kyat / day) and wander around Bagan. I visited famous temples (Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Shwesandaw, Shwezigon ...) but what impressed me was the dozens, hundreds of other unknown shrines throughout Bagan on dusty roads, deep behind the big road. A new friend in Bagan trip said that it is difficult to find an ugly temple in Bagan.

You definitely must climb a temple on the banks of the river, and from the top of the tower, watch the Ayeyarwady River flowing slowly alongside the large temples on the riverbank. A small note is that you are required to walk barefoot when you visit all the temples in Myanmar.

If you enjoy sunrise and sunset, you should go to Popa Mountain. The mountains are nothing special but the gorgeous sunrise and sunset. You will hear the screams of the monkeys fighting each other, and beware of the food you carry because the monkeys can “rob” the food once they see. Watching the sunset on the mountain is extremely memorable. It was a great experience in life, I spent all afternoon to wait for and admire the sunset on the mountain. It costs 45,000 Kyat to rent a car for 6-7 people to the mountain, if booking a tour, it costs 11,000 Kyat / person.

A trip to Bagan would be perfect if you have a chance to enjoy a Myanmar culture and art show, held at the Bagan Golden Palace in the evening from 19h to 20h30, with very interesting theatrical performances, dances and puppet show. I almost did not know about this show but fortunately the new friends asked me to go with them. Making new friends on trips is one of the best things to do.

Food in Bagan: The food here is generally tasty, with Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes, which are affordable, cheaper than they are in Vietnam. Nanda Restaurant has beautiful views, good food, prices are a little more expensive, but well worth the money. Aha Bagan Restaurant is a nice newly opened restaurant, the owner is very friendly, food is delicious and cheap ... They are good suggestions about restaurant for those who want to come here.

Hotel: There are 3 areas in Bagan : Old Bagan, New Bagan and Nyaung U. My room was booked at the Royal Bagan Hotel, Nyaung U, and this seemed like a good decision, the hotel is highly appreciated. Although it does not have the best location, room quality is okay at reasonable price - $ 30 / night.

Inle Lake – The colors of life

Travelling in Myanmar is wandering on the night buses. Intercity buses in Myanmar are very good (seats are like airplanes, large cabin).

Bus departs at 8:30 pm, the next morning you will be in Nyaung Shwe town at 5 am and ready to experience Inle Lake. Rent a day boat (40,000 Kyat) to watch the sunrise on the lake, you will see beautiful scenery in a calm way. I have never seen the silver dawn as in Inle Lake, the sky turned from the pale pink and lilac vintage (when the sun hid behind the mountains) to silver color (when the first rays shone on the lake), and finally so many vibrant colors when the residents of the lake begin a new day.

Inle is really a brilliant picture with the beautiful riverside villages. As I cruised through the floating villages on the lake, I saw houses with many window, friendly faces, waving hands as I took the photo. That feeling was so peaceful. Inle also has floating gardens and fishing villages. The villages on the river, or along the lake, are quite clean, with not many plastic bags and waste.

To Lake Inle, I was fortunate to have chance to see Morpe Fair. Papo ethnic people were happy to sell and buy things around. Commodities were transported up and down the boats. We bought three beautiful pair of sandals (about $ 1.6 / pair) and a basket of sweet apples ($ 0.7). Shopping here is great.

Late in the afternoon, we watched the fishermen on the large lake. In the bright sunshine of the sunset, it was like a circus performance. They were like fishing artists, standing on one leg on the tip of the boat, the other leg seemed to dance with the net to catch fish. Such a beautiful and peaceful moment! Of course, these activities are now arranged for photography and tourism, but it is still a feature of Inle Lake.

Nyaung Shwe is about 10 km to Inle Lake, so you can also book rooms right at the resort on the lake for better sightseeing and relaxation.

Yangon city

If you choose Vietnam Airlines to travel from Vietnam, you will have to stop at Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar. There are also plenty of attractions for you to spend time while waiting for your transit flight, such as the Swedagon Gold Pagoda, the downtown area of Yangon, the Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue...

7 days in Myanmar is certainly not enough, but will also give you a wonderful memorable experience. If you have less time, choose one destination only to fully enjoy it!

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