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Bagan

The twisty sandy paths that don't show up on the map
The ancient history preserved in the architecture of Bagan provides a unique insight into some of the country's modern political struggles. Throughout Burmese history, religion and rulers have been inextricably linked. The temples of Bagan were built as both religious and political seat for the conquering Buddhist kings who built one of the largest empires in Asian history. Kings ruled via their piety, and it was important to build a partnership with the ecclesiastic order. Now the political and religious orders are in strife. The current regime's claims towards religious validity are at odds with their actions. At Bagan, you can see the truth that the ancient Burmese builders tried to hide from: No regime lasts forever; the world goes on without us.
Touring Temples in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
Still an emerging destination, Myanmar's spectacularly rich cultural sights may make it the next Thailand or Cambodia. Our 2011 trip included five days in Bagan. Bagan is located on a vast plain with a mind-boggling number of temples (thousands!) to explore and savor sunrises and sunsets from. Splurging for a balloon ride is well-worth it.
Touring Temples in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma) Myingyan  Myanmar

Bagan -- The Typical and Extrodinary
Visiting Bagan is an experience I'll never forget. Everywhere you look dotted across the arid terracotta colored countryside are pagodas and stupas housing one or many Buddhas. Each place is different and unique unto itself. It's a very beautiful and spiritual place.

Depending on where you're staying, you can either walk to the temples, rent bikes or even hire a horse cart. I opted for horse cart as I was under the weather when there. It was a great way to see the area and I had a wonderful driver named Tun Tun and his horse Mo Mo who took me around to some wonderful places over the course of two days.

I visited Bagan at the end of May. It was actually a good time to visit, right after the high season as there were only a few tourist around, and right before the monsoon. It was very hot and dry. It did rain twice, but only enough to settle the dust. Thank goodness for the frequent cooling winds that moved across those arid plains!
Bagan -- The Typical and Extrodinary  Myingyan  Myanmar

5 Secret places in Bagan to avoid the crowds
If you go to Bagan, you will likely be herded like cattle to a handful of crowded temples where you will be barely be able to move without knocking people over. Here are some great places I've found with awesome sunrise/sunset pics in the center of it all and without a tourist in sight.

Lawkaoushaung Temple
North Guni Temple
Old Bagan
Pathada Temple
Gawdawpalin Temple

Logistical details and pics: http://mywanderlist.com/2013/06/15/5-secret-places-in-bagan-to-avoid-the-crowds/
5 Secret places in Bagan to avoid the crowds Myingyan  Myanmar

Balloon dance in Bagan
Bagan is featured with thousands of Temples, stupas and pagodas. When it's decorated with morning-rising balloons with the sun light, it looks like a giant mushroom forest where mushroom are flying into the sky. The must-see view in Myanmar.
Balloon dance in Bagan Myingyan  Myanmar

Balloon dance in Bagan
Balloon dance in Bagan
Bagan is featured with thousands of Temples, stupas and pagodas. When it's decorated with morning-rising balloons with the sun light, it looks like a giant mushroom forest where mushroom are flying into the sky. The must-see view in Myanmar.
Balloon dance in Bagan Myingyan  Myanmar

Village ceremony in Bagan
Watching a local ceremony in Bagan is a thrill. Girls dressed up, children with smililng tanaka faces. Cows are used more often instead of horses
Village ceremony in Bagan Myingyan  Myanmar

Buddha in Pyathadar Temple, Bagan, Myanmar
Of all the pagodas in Bagan, Pyathadar is not one that is visited often by tourists. In fact, it didn't even register on my radar during my research of the must-see pagodas in Bagan. I only found this gem to watch and photograph the sunset through a chanced conversation with a local Burmese man on, of all things, life in the USA!

It's these little interactions with the locals that make travel that much more memorable!
Buddha in Pyathadar Temple, Bagan, Myanmar Myingyan  Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)