Bagan and it`s 4000 temples

From Mandalay we planned to go to Bagan. Thanks to Indian lady from hotel we and two other travelers took a local city pick-up to go to bus station, Instead pay $ 5-7 for taxi we paid 300 kiat per person. On bus stand we found only one bus going to Bagan.

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In Bagan we chose in New Park guest house where we rent a room for 10 dollars with breakfast. Actually it was not a room, but a bungalow with nice porches.

Bagan is a ancient capital of Burmese empire, and famous around the world for it`s 4000 temples 3-13 centuries A.D.

The area with temples and nobody can tell you how Bagan is big. Temples and pagodas are everywhere. We spent there about 6 days cycling around the temples and we could not see all of them.

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Exploring the temples by bicycle was very fun and interesting. The temples of Angkor Wat still the most monumental temples, but Bagan archaeological site has something special too. Ancient painting inside the temples are still possible to view, some of them has been restored, but some not.

The other good thing about Bagan temples, that they are too crowded, so it give you a chance to enjoy this relics with pleasure.

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Following pilgrims – magnificient Golden Rock

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The first Burmese guy we talk was a taxi driver from Yangon airport. He gave as a lot of advises what to do and where to go in Myanmar. He advised us to go to Golden Rock as well.

From Sule Pagoda we took a local bus N 43 to Highway bus station, which is 7 kilometers from center of Yangon. On bus station we found only one company who had buses to Kinpun, the base camp of mountain Kyaiktiyo, where the Golden Rock is located.

The ticket cost us 6000 kiat per person, the locals pay two times less. We tried to find another opportunities, but we was not lucky. The bus was local type, very old with tree rows of chairs, without air condition and any kind of comfort.

Kinpun is a small village, indeed it the basement for travelers and pilgrims going to Kyaiktiyo. Kinpun has only two option for budget accommodation: Sea Sar and Pann Myo Thu. We were staying in last one, where we got a room with cooler for 7 dollars even with breakfast.

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From Kinpun to summit of mountain Kyaiktiyo only trucks are allowed to drive. Cars, pick-ups and even motorbikes are prohibited. The siting place on th truck cost 1000 kiat (with 60 people occupancy), the chair in a driver cabin cost 2500 kiat. It is possible to do all way up by foot, it takes usually from 4-6 hours.

Foreigners have to by a ticket on summit, near the enter to main relic, USD 6 per each, plus 2 for camera.

Golden Rock it a boulder colored with gold with small stupa on top. The boulder is delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff at the top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo. Like Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon, Golden Rock is one of most sacred Buddhist sites in Mynmar.

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For the trail to go down to Kinpun we had to ask locals, there is no any sign from the main road. We were trekking for about 3 hours. It was pretty nice and interesting, because the train passes thought small villages and views are beautiful.

Yangon on foot

Today we had a plan to go to Shwedagon Pagon. All trip for about 2 km we made by foot and got some kind of city-tour.

Only on second day we realized that there are no motorbikes in the city, all traffic consist of cars, jeeps, trucks and buses. Some of trucks and cars came from different times and countries, and some are hand made by local engineers.
The same difference with an architecture — old colonial buildings, mostly used as government buildings and surround with barbed wire; empty highrise condominiums, the tenants left them after Burma was banned by US; colorful low-rise residential buildings, completely occupied with locals; luxury private houses with gardens (also surround by barbed wire). But no one mendicant shack. A lot of new buildings and a lot of construction.

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All pedestrian walks occupied with endless market, for sale: fruits, jeans, viagra, rubies, newspapers, some strange and huge devices, dvd, glasses, etc.

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Betel stalls located with distance 50 meter from each other, the roller men works with rubber gloves.

With every 50 meters located stalls with pots of drinking water, nobody selling this water, but everybody can drink it.

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Thais with proud telling the stories, that they had such a tradition (in Nan province they still trying to keep it alive). Cosy pots with drinking water spread of all around Myanmar, even on Inle lake we saw bamboo piles with ceramic pots.

Both, men and women wear skirts, longyi or sarong. Young boys and girls sometimes mix modern t-shirt with Metallica pictures with traditional longyi — looks very funny.

Women and children wear special powder on their faces and arms, the powder traditionally getting from some local tree. Sometimes they make funny ornaments with this powder on their faces, looks very funny and very pretty.

Like every city in South-East Asia, Yangon full of open air street cafes and eatery places. Pretty small table, couple of stools, pot of green tea and small cups. We ordered local carry with rice, the boy brought the food in a second with extra plates of salad, soup, fresh and preserved vegetables. It cost nothing (600 kiat per person) and taste was wonderful.

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