Monthly Archives: September 2012

Visiting Myanmar, Day 2 – Bagan

After waking up at 4:30 in the morning to take our plane from Yangon to Bagan, we headed to the domestic terminal of Yangon.
It is quite interesting to see that your luggage is being taken care of by the airline carriers that bring your luggage to the check-in counter, put a sticker on it, give you your boarding pass and that s it, you go to the gate ! We had to go through security but unlike in Europe we could bring liquids that were bigger than 100ml. The waiting room was small, we had a coffee, enjoyed our packed breakfast and observed how the people waited patiently.

When it was time to board, we saw that one guy walked around the room with a panel giving details of the flight number and destination. We boarded a bus (which had the doors open, so one should watch out not to fall off on the way to the plane !

The plane was small and seating was first come first served so you can imagine the rush ! In the end we found a good spot and were off for 1h15 minutes flight to Bagan.

The Bagan area belongs to the  UNESCO world heritage.

We reached Bagan at 8 am, our guide was waiting for us and took us to our mini bus. We headed to the Nyang U market. I have to be honest with you and tell you that i experienced for about 15 minutes a culture shock. What happened when we arrived at the market was that as soon as we stepped out of the car, children gathered around us to sell us bracelets, Tanaka (which is the traditional sunscreen over there made out of Tanaka root). So early in the morning it was a shock as one was expecting to go around the market undisturbed and especially not followed around by lovely children. I think the mistake I made was that I had my hand bag and camera bag, so it must have given them the impression of a wealthy tourist ! I learned from it and the next touristy places we went I left my handbag in the car and just went around with my camera ! It worked 🙂

So let´s get back to the market, after 15 minutes we got used to the children following us around trying to sell us things, and by being nice and polite and respectful we made them understand that we did not yet want to buy anything. It worked out really well and we could enjoy the market buzzing with people, displaying lovely fruits, chillies as green as jade, mangoes as yellow as gold and tanaka roots as white as marble. It was just a spectacular experience, especially seeing the village people interacting with each other, in such peace.

After the market we headed to the Schwezagon pagoda which is one of the biggest in Bagan. There our guide told us the story of the Buddah. I will share it with you, just keep in mind that this is how our guide told us the story, and i do not wish anyone to think that it is the absolute truth, it is just a tale that I am sharing with you.

Prince Siddharta (which means the one whose wishes will be fulfilled) was 28 years old when one day he decided to go out of his palace. It was the first time he had left the surroundings of the Palace, and on his way he met 4 ornaments that would change his life.

The first ornament was an old man, the second a sick man, the third was death and the last ornament was a monk. Having been for 28 years in the Palace, the prince thought he was eternal and di not know the meaning of old age, death, sickness or religion. He came back to the palace with the thought of becoming a monk and find enlightenment.

He left his wife and children to follow the way of enlightenment sharing his teachings whilst he was travelling. Siddharta became Buddah in his 30s. He travelled throughout India, Burma, and many other regions to preach his teachings and converted many kings. Especially in the Bagan region in the 11th century, he visited to King and preached his teachings. The King was delighted and had many temples and pagodas constructed. There were over 4,000 pagodas in the Bagan region, but today only approx. 2,000 still remain.

After taking us around the pagoda and after this beautiful story, we headed for lunch and continued visiting Pagodas throughout the afternoon.

A funny episode is that for each temple you visit you have to be barefoot as it is holy ground, and my father was wearing shoes and socks, so you can imagine that after 20 temples he got tired of always getting his shoes and socks off. It was just funny to see how he moaned all the time and the locals finding it funny and laughing !

At the end of the evening and after dinner we headed back to the hotel and had a good night sleep before starting our third day in Myanmar and second day in Bagan with more pagodas to visit 🙂

Stay tuned for more !

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