We landed in Badan and was first taken to the largest pagoda in the area. To make our way to the attraction, we had to negotiate a corridor of gift shops. Now would be the time to tell you of our biggest complaint. In Myanmar a person is required to remove all footwear including socks not only before entering a temple, but also the temple site itself. Those of us that are used to wearing footwear find it very uncomfortable and at times painfull to walk over pebbles, bricks, and other hazards. Every temple visit ends with extremely dirty wet wipes. The temple was beautiful with all the gold leaf but truthfully, we have seen may pagodas and temples in other countries and were hoping that there would be more……. We were not disappointed! The short drive to Bagan took us to an area just littered with temples, shrines, and pagodas. These were not the gold leafed
sandstone structures we are so familiar with but beautiful places constructed from brick and stone. The buildings and pagodas varied in shape and size and were dated from the 8th century to present. I will let the pictures speak for themselves at noon we began looking for a place to lunch. We wanted to eat like the locals so in a small wood and bamboo establishment on a dusty crossroads we sat. A variety of dishes were brought out and we had a meal with a very distinctive Indian flavor. It was ok but the surprise of the meal was the beer. Myanmar beer…. Especially very cold which we got, has to be one of the best beers we have ever had. All agreed that it was at least as good as beer Lao. I wish we had a similar product in
Vietnam, but i still can put up with Saigon Special i suppose 🙂 . For the meal we had, the cost was a bit unreasonable. It was a tourist trap I am afraid. In the afternoon we explored a small village that was among the most primitive I have seen anywhere. Unlike other Asian countries, the Burmese people seem guarded and cautious when it comes to strangers. Perhaps it is because of the political climate or some other circumstance. A big smile will get you a few returned, but it can just as easy get a turning away reaction……. Hmmmmm…. Interesting that. Over all they are very friendly when interacting with them. This whole area specializes in lacquer ware and wanting to bus some as a souvenir, we stopped at a gift shop to make a few purchases. Oh dear!!!, the prices were absolutely outrageous. I have no idea if anybody actually buys their goods as
a trinket bracelet sold 3 for a dollar were being sold for 2 dollars each. I now regret not buying from one of the kids that offer souvenirs around the temples. Hopefully when I go back to Yangon I can find some. After an afternoon of sight seeing we had the driver drop us in the new town (looked old to me) and we set about trying to find a good restaurant for dinner. We did find a place by the riv but again it was overpriced and the food only mediocre. I guess Bagan is not going to get known for fine dining. Again tomorrow we are off on an early flight to Mandalay. New day, new adventure.
This Samsung tablet I purchased has to be the handiest thing I have ever owned. Even typing on the flat screen is much easier than I had imagined……. Anyway….. With stickers slapped to our chests, we were scrutinized by security and our names and nationality checked off of a envelope sized piece of paper when we boarded our aircraft.
Bagan seems to be very cautious of those entering and leaving whereas Mandalay is the exact opposite. On arrival nobody checked our passports or anything else. As we approached the only official we could see, we were just waved through. Ok….. That was easy. A guide and driver were waiting and thenV’Explore team headed over a new but abit rough road to Mandalay. I have never been to India, but I think this city would be very much like it. The population is made up of half of Chinese descent. This is a busy, noisy and smoke choked place. There seems to be an issue with reliable power and there are large deisel generators on the sidewalks in front of many businesses. This location is not known for its pagodas but for some historic sights such as an old wooden bridge and the former kings palace/fort. I think we are in agreement that this city even though there is some historical interest, is not one of the better places to go. We had difficulty finding a restaurant that appealed to us but in the end it worked out ok.