It’s absolutely undeniable the beauty of a Bagan sunrise and sunset. The location and climate cause it to be a level plain with little vegetation, making the visibility of the temples and pagodas almost completely unobstructed. The orange, yellow, purple and pink hues illuminating from the sun are stunning. As the sun rises and sets it goes through a different combination of colors, making it easy to sit and watch the entire cycle. While I was visiting in the end of April there were many clouds that tried blanketing the sun. Many others would complain that this ruined the view, however, for me it just made it even more spectacular.
Joseline and I had one heck of a time trying to find transportation to Bagan because we were stuck in Mandalay for the New Years holiday. Everything in Myanmar shuts down for a good 5 days in the middle of April for Thingyan water festival. Our only option was to pay a private driver to take us there. This cost us each $50USD but was our only option in our time frame. The ride took four hours and was horrendous because our driver was trying to make a world record for fastest drive time. We both felt pretty jostled when we arrived, but still didn’t want to waste the rest of our day so we rented some e bikes.
E Bikes are electronic scooters with zero power and no umph. They really are ridiculous but are the only things legal for foreigners to drive. I felt like a complete goon driving them. I wish you could see my impersonation. But hey, they get you from point A to point B and sure does beat riding a bicycle in 100 degree heat. We had a little bit of time before sunset so we set out to find a good spot. I had found one online that turned out to be a total bust so we kept looking. We were intersected by a local Burmese man who said he knew of a good spot so we followed him there.
This spot ended up being the ultimate sunrise/sunset temple. I went back every night to watch the sunset from there. This specific temple is one of the 4 temples that people are allowed to climb making it a very popular spot. It’s best to get there early in order to get a good seat to sit and watch. Even better in the morning for sunrise because let’s face it, who wants to get up at 430am?? I did though, the next morning. It was rough but I was happy that I did and the views were worth it. Just once was good for me though.
When you enter the temple, you head up a VERY narrow and small staircase, which was clearly only meant for small Burmese children. I felt so claustrophobic and feared hitting my head. Thank god I carry a flashlight in my day bag because it was pitch black. When you reach the second level you are welcomed by panoramic views of the surrounding area, which is breathtaking. Many people scale the side of the third story to sit even higher. I’m so clumsy and couldn’t imagine trying to explain scaling up the side of an ancient temple to my travelers insurance so I stayed on the safety of the second level.
Every sunset was unique and different and I loved that. I never tired of this beautiful temple even though I returned so many times. I even brought friends that I met here because I enjoyed it so much. This is also where I met Moe Moe, a brilliant, stunning little angel that changed my life forever, but more on that later. For now, check out these pics.
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