When my wife and I were planning my golden birthday trip to Siem Reap last year, I researched on the various temples there and I stumbled upon a picture that showed a wide vast of land “littered” with so many ancient temples. I later discovered that it was not in Siem Reap but in a country nearby – Myanmar. So there started my quest to visit the ancient city of Bagan in Central Myanmar.
Getting there was not so easy since there is no direct/ non-stop flight from Manila to Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar (Naypyidaw is the new capital) where the international airport is located. So it literally took us TWO days of travel to finally reach our destination – Bagan.
It was a comfortable three hour flight from Manila to Kuala Lumpur where we had to take our flight to Yangon. Unfortunately, we landed in KL past midnight and the only flight to Yangon leaves at 5:00PM yet. So we slept in the airport hotel in KL and took our Yangon flight a few hours later. We arrived in Yangon about 8:00PM local time (1 1/2 hours time difference between Myanmar and the Philippines) but our flight to Bagan is at 6:00AM the following day. We had the option to wait it out at the airport or sleep in a hotel in Yangon and leave very early the next day. We opted to sleep in a hotel.
We purposely chose a hotel in downtown Yangon very near the iconic temple of Shwedagon and booked a room with a grand night view of this beautiful temple. But that was the only saving grace of the hotel. All the rest was plain awful to downright dirty. But we only stayed there for eight hours, so it was bearable …
The ancient city of Bagan, Myanmar’s capital in the 11th to the 13th century, is located in the central plains of Myanmar. One can reach it by land (12-14 hours bus trip across unpaved roads or by local commuter train) or by plane (1 hours travel time). We opted to go there by plane – since we have heard not-so-good stories of how dangerous the land trip across Myanmar can be.
So after leaving Manila at 7:00pm last April 23, 2011 (Saturday) … we were finally in Bagan at 8:00 am last April 25, 2011 (Monday). After two days of travel to reach Bagan, we are now ready to be awed – prepared with all our cameras and gears !
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