Buddhist Temples, Benevolent People, and Boat Rides in Beautiful Bagan

Buddhist Temples, Benevolent People, and Boat Rides in Beautiful Bagan

Day 1 in Bagan: October 5, 2012

After being in Yangon and its surrounds, Mark and I took the night bus to Bagan. Bagan is a city in Burma known for having more than 3,000 remains of its ancient Buddhist temples. We’d seen stunning pictures, but no picture could compare to the vast amount of beautiful temples it offered all in one place.

Our first glimpse of one of the many temples at 4:00 am

Our first glimpse of one of the many temples at 4:00 am

We arrived at 4:00 am hopped in a jalopy and headed down dark and bumpy dirt roads to Kaday Aung Hotel http://www.kadayaunghotel.com/ in New Bagan. The staff was extremely friendly and set us up in a superior room ($45USD) upon arrival. We slept until around 8 am and got up for a complimentary breakfast in the outdoor dining room. Mark cracked me up by going barefoot and saying, “Whop, whop, whop, whop an, Panyaden style.” (Panyaden is the school where we work in Chiang Mai. Throughout the day neither teachers nor students wear shoes in the classrooms, and usually not outdoors either. It’s healthier for the feet.)

This was our view from the superior room porch. Lovely!

This was our view from the superior room porch. Lovely!

After our leisurely breakfast we got maps and information from the hotel staff, rented mountain bikes that looked sturdy, but we soon found were not strong enough for the bumpy roads, and were off to see the temples.

At our first temple we stopped and also shopped.

At our first temple we stopped and also shopped.

There were hundreds of intricate hand painted fabrics.

There were hundreds of intricate hand painted fabrics.

As usual there were English signs almost correctly written, but still were a bit off.

As usual there were English signs almost correctly written, but still were a bit off.

Friendly people everywhere.

Friendly people everywhere.

We rode on and passed hundreds of stupas like this.

We rode on and passed hundreds of stupas like this. Babies weren’t always present.

Inside the temples we kept seeing this guy.

Inside the temples we kept seeing this guy.

Much like in Thailand, in Burma the day of the week you were born is culturally significant. Each day of the week is associated with different symbolism, in Burma, it’s an animal. In this temple you make an offering to your animal, and then switch on a light.

Monday, my day of birth, was represented by a tiger.

Monday, my day of birth, was represented by a tiger.

Other days of the week were singha and elephant.

Other days of the week were singha and elephant.

More shopping. Our philosophy was to share the wealth and buy from many different vendors.

More shopping. Our philosophy was to share the wealth and buy from many different vendors.

We were looking in this woman's shop as the heat of the midday was beating down.

We were looking in this woman’s shop as the heat of the midday was beating down.

She mixed up some thanaka paste with the thanaka root...

She mixed up some thanaka paste with the thanaka root…

...and applied it to my face in leaf patterns.

…and applied it to my face in leaf patterns.

It did make me cooler. She was happy I liked it and gave me some paste. She didn't speak English and I don't speak Burmese, but we understood each other. People everywhere were delightful.

It did make me cooler. She was happy I liked it and gave me some paste. I bought some shirts from her too. She didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Burmese, but we understood each other. People everywhere were delightful. 

We then headed down to the river for lunch where I met these new friends.

We then headed down to the river for lunch where I met these new friends.

So cute!

So cute!

Mark and I were offered to take a cruise out on the river. It was inexpensive, would give us a unique perspective on the temples, and would be much cooler than cycling.

Mark and I were offered to take a cruise out on the river. It was inexpensive, would give us a unique perspective on the temples, and would be much cooler than cycling.

Our boat driver

Our boat driver on our deafeningly loud boat.

Temple views from the river

Temple views from the river

Bathing and doing laundry at the river

Doing laundry at the river

IMG_3912IMG_3923

Bathing and staying cool

Bathing and staying cool

Life on the river

Life on the river

It's hard to see from this picture the dozens of temples in view.

It’s hard to see from this picture the dozens of temples in view.

Our way back to shore

Our way back to shore

I adored this gentle child.

I adored this gentle child.

I bought some handmade postcards form her? him? I wasn't sure.

I bought some handmade postcards from her? him? I wasn’t sure.

Heading back to our hotel we passed a few hundred more temples.

Heading back to our hotel we passed a few hundred more temples.

After day one it was confirmed: we love Bagan!

After day one it was confirmed: we love Bagan!

2 thoughts on “Buddhist Temples, Benevolent People, and Boat Rides in Beautiful Bagan

  1. Hooray! So great to read another of your posts… And it really makes me want to go to Burma… My goodness, what a beautiful place, with all those temples. I got the feeling from looking at your photos that it’s quieter, maybe less populated, more old fashioned than Thailand?

    In the busy Beck world, Julian just finished school on Friday, I had my last Yoga, Buddhism and Ecology class yesterday, we have three (3!) end-of-the-year class parties to attend today, and tomorrow Julian starts a little, morning-hours only, tennis camp. Tomorrow afternoon, Jeremy and I will finally tell him about our 8-week RV trip, and the true prepping will begin. I’ve done a little purging, a little organizing, but now that school is out, and we were all able to be fully present in that bittersweet time of thanking and hugging and goodbye-ing, the unavoidable dismantling and packing up begins in earnest.

    So, in eleven days, the movers/packers and freight container will arrive, and it will be all a whirlwind. Light a candle for me, that I will be able to place myself at the hub of the wheel, and not fly out to the whirling, mud-spattered, chaotic rim of this “adventure.” Then three days later, we’ll be off in our 25-foot RV, with Yosemite as our first stop, and the Kattwinkels’ as our last. That should be a lot of fun!

    There’s so much more to say, Libilesh, but I must sign off to get along with the many, many tasks small and large of this day. I miss you, and love you and love reading your posts and still plan on coming to Thailand next June! I’m so much looking forward to being together, in person again!!! xom

    Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2013 08:24:50 +0000 To: beckmegan@live.com

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