Biking through the Bagan Archaeological Zone is an adventure in itself. You would end up randomly biking through a vast stretch of farm lands surrounding the payas and pagodas.
[Tip: Try Biking from Shwezigon Pagoda to Bagan Viewing Tower through the farm land – It’s awe-inspiring]
Two days in these vast lands reminded me of the fact that there’s so much more to life than the life here in Singapore. It reminded me how beautifully mesmerizing could a skyline be without those tall skyscrapers and of how soothing the tree’s shade is under a scorching Sun.
Sometimes I end up imagining how my life would have been if I was born in village and lived as a villager, could it have been way exciting that it is today?
1. Visit as many Pagodas, Payas you can. Plan your travel well if you have less than 3 days in Bagan.
2. Sunset at Dhammayangyi and BuPaya is a must.
3. Sunset at the Bagan Viewing Tower is enchanting too.
4. Bike your way down to New Bagan and grab a bite a local food store.
5. Let Tanaka calm your burning skin, apply some at Old Bagan (Next to Ananda Temple or Maha Bodhi temple)
6. Climb up on the small payas located between old Bagan and new Bagan.
7. Vegetarian Lunch at the The Moon.
8. A Walk in the night around the Shwezigon Pagoda.
9. Stop by the Irrawady River shores towards the sunset (it’s enchanting almost anytime of the day)
10. Make friends with some locals 🙂
So after that tiny scary Air Bagan flight I took from Yangon, I was at Bagan Airport late Friday morning all set to explore the rich history of an Enchanting city. The first thing a traveler would notice at Bagan Airport is the baggage collection process, you literally have to find the “Coolie” that has your bag, exchange your baggage tag and collect the same. Next up, you’ll find some smartly dressed people chasing you to buy a “International” or “Foreigner’s” pass. It’s a must, every international traveling to Bagan has to pay a tourism tax of 15 USD at the airport, on payment you receive a credit card size pass that can be used throughout the Bagan Archaeological Zone; even the hotels are required to register you with your pass Id#.
[Tip: Buy that 15USD Pass]
Had to pay 8000 Kyats or 8USD to a cabby to reach Aung Minglar Hotel in Nyang-u where I had pre-booked my nights. I had a kick-arse SUV driving me though, that was fun.
Bagan Archaeological Zone is roughly divided into 3 zone (small towns): Nyang-u, Old Bagan and New Bagan. I wanted to make the most of my two days in Bagan hence I had planned my sight-seeing pretty well. Below is the map of Bagan, the yellow perimeter represents day 1 and red one, day 2.
So I chose to fly to Bagan rather than the cheaper options that were available like Bus,Train or A boat because I wanted to make the best of my time while I was in Myanmar.
Multiple busses run almost everyday with a cost of 18USD or 1800kyats, Trains range from 15-25USD while I have no idea about the cost of boats; but I know it takes 16days to reach Bagan by a boat while the bus takes 12hours and the train 16.
A flight from Yangon to Bagan takes 1hr and costs like 89-100USD one way, it’s expensive but totally worth it if you have less time in Myanmar.
I booked my flight via this really nice travel agency,
The agency will give you 5% discount if you refer my name and this blog. They are also real nice people who do not try to cheat you but simply sell you the best option.
Now let me give you a headsup about the Myanmar flights, they are damn small planes and you barely get leg room or enough luggage space, try to check-in as much as you can. At first, you might get damn scared, don’t be, the air-hostesses are pretty damn cute and they actually will give you their number.
I flew Air Bagan but im told, all flight experiences are almost the same. The most risky one is Air Myanmar (no offence).
Only travelers know the importance of cheap supply of alcohol while they are backpacking a country, hence it’s very important for me to blog about my drinking experience which of course was unique.
So this is YANGON, my first night in Myanmar, my friend from Austria who’s working there for AIESEC, took me out for a 800kyats or 90US Cents Mojito experience, oh yes, you read it right; 90 cents a cocktail -mindblowing (and it’s actually good alcohol).
We went to a place called Ko San on the 19th Street Chinatown (of course), they even had Malibu based cocktail for 2USD. After living and drinking in Singapore, 2USD cocktail sounds heaven.
We drank like cats on milk for hours and it only costed us like 8USD each, mind =blown.
19th street offers diverse beer options but for cocktails, Ko San is the best. This street also has amazing Asian street food, must try by default.
One doesn’t really find local girls partying on this street but if you’re lucky, you might get to join a group of girls celebrating graduation or job at an MNC.
Out of my three nights at Yangon, I was there at all three or at least we started these nights with Ko San.
Ps: Myanmar girls are damn cute.
Of course Shwedagon Pagoda is a must visit, I had some really good peaceful time at the enchanting pagoda.
I almost spent 5hours just walking around and meditating at various religious spots inside the pagoda, of course I took some crazy GoPro time-lapses and Selfies while I was there.
Few savvy tips to make it things savvier for you:
1. Enter from East entrance if you can, the walk up is simply magistic.
2. Make sure you carry an umbrella
3. Make sure you have long pants else they will make you buy a 5000kyat lungi.
4. Entrance ticket for foreigners is 8000kyat. Keep the ticket with you at all times.
5. Have a seat near the “Saturday” area, it’s magistic there + free WiFi 6. Monks will try to small talk with you, so they can show you around and make you donate, just refuse politely with a thank you if you don’t require them to do so.
7. Tourist guides will pull the same.
8. People might Approach you to buy rubies and gems, don’t make a mistake of buying them, it’s illegal.
9. Make sure you see the pagoda both in the day and in the night, it’s mesmerizing.
10. People will approach you to buy random things, remember they do not want to cheat you but just sell it to you, buy if can 😉
Enjoy the Golden beauty 🙂
Yangon is a pretty unique city, right hand drive cars are driven on the right side and to your surprise you will find a couple of left hand drive cars being driven as well. And ya, motor bikes are banned here. (Can you imagine, motor bikes being banned in an Asian city? Damn)
Be careful of the traffic, have at least an hour as buffer for your airport departures.
Things to do in Yangon:
1. Shwedagon Pagoda
2. Sule Pagoda
3. City Hall
4. Open Market
5. Take the Downtown walking tour
6. National museum
7. 19th Street, China town (street food + cheap alcohol)
8. Local ice-cream at downtown
9. Shopping Electronics on the street
10. Meeting really nice Burmese people
Next up: 19th St (in detail ;))