Myanmar, part 2: The Magical Bagan, Day 1

I barely have an itinerary when I travel, as I want to enjoy my travel as much as I can without being rushed with an itinerary. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great to be detailed on trips, yet I don't think it suits me well.

I decided to go to Bagan after spending a night at Yangon. The hotel helped me to purchase the bus ticket. I got the ticket for 12,000 kyats, less than US$ 12. Based on my research, the VIP/Express busses will cost around 10,000 to 18,000 kyats, hence I thought I got a good deal. I used Agoda to book a room in Bagan.

The morning before I left for Bagan, I met two couples from Vietnam, well one couple is a Vietnamese & German, during breakfast time. Yes, I love breakfast time during traveling as I can meet and talk with other travelers. 

Anyway, turns out, those two couples were going to Bagan in the same time with me, and.. one of the couples booked the same hostel as mine. Yada yada yada.. We agreed to go to the bus terminal together by a taxi. Heck yeah! Good deal!

Fast forward, it was right after sunset when we arrived at the Yangon bus terminal. I separated with Dieu-Anh, Duc Son, Van Anh, and Max as they took a different bus that left at the same time with my bus.

I waited for about an hour until the bus was ready to depart. Man, was the bus so nice! I heard a lot of good things about VIP/Express busses in Myanmar, but I thought it's overrated. But nah, it's comfy, clean, and spacious. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures for the VIP/Express busses in Myanmar.

I slept all the way from Yangon to Bagan. The only time I woke up was when we had one stop for a dinner (included with the bus fare). 

The bus stopped at Bagan around 5 a.m. I waited around 10 minutes for the other bus that had Dieu-Anh, Duc Son, Van Anh, and Max on it. Dieu-Anh, Duc Son, and I were in the same hotel, hence we took a same cab as Van Anh and Max got a different cab.

In Bagan, all foreigners are required to pay US$ 20, or EUR 20, or 24,000 Kyat upon arrival. Sadly, I believe, this fee will go straight to the government and not being used for the maintenance of the Bagan area.

Dieu-Anh, Duc Son, and I arrived at the Ostello Bello hostel as early as 6 a.m. We knew that we might end up waiting for our room until 10 a.m, yet we were able to check in early! I booked the four bed female dorm, it's about $20/night, which is a little bit higher considering the Myanmar economy. But generally, hotels/hostels in Myamar are expensive.

If you like to stay in a backpacker hostel as I do, I highly recommend the Ostello Bello. It's clean, the staff are all nice and speak English -- this place runs by Europeans.

After taking a rest and a nice fresh shower, Dieu-Anh, Duc Son, and I were ready to explore Bagan. Bikes and electric bikes are the best way to wander around Bagan. We paid $7/day to rent the e-bike. Oh man, it reminds me that I want an e-bike so bad!

Our first mission was having lunch! Dieu-Anh suggested we to go to the vegetarian restaurant called Yar Pyi located in the Old Bagan area. It took about 30 minutes or less to get to Old Bagan by e-bike. Those e-bikes my friends are slow! :)

We found the restaurant! It's nice, clean, and the staff spoke good English.

This is Dieu-Anh! This picture was taken by her husband from my camera :) Ugh, seeing this picture I'm craving for a fresh coconut now!

A nice touch with these umbrellas.

I'd give 3.7 stars to this restaurant. It's not an amazing one, yet I think they have pretty decent food, at an affordable price.

After a delicious lunch, we continued our e-bike trip to check some temples. The temples were absolutely gorgeous, but as I said previously, it seemed the $20 fee isn't going to the temples maintenance.

Here are some pictures of temples I took on my first day in Bagan.

We did see lots of temples that day. Yet we still wanted to see the sunset on our first day in Bagan. Before we left the hostel, we asked where the best spots to see the sunset and sunrise were.

It took a lot of effort to get to this temple, which I forgot the name of (sorry!). As our e-bike couldn't handle the sandy road that well, we slipped a few times in the sand, and were trapped for a while right in front of the temple, but ffuiiihh.. we made it! :) In the picture below, the sandy road looks fine, but gah.. It's a horrible to ride an e-bike on it.

The sunset wasn't that great that day, tho. You'll see how beautiful the sunset in Bagan in my next post.

Let me stop this post here. As I need a break from writing in English. Don't judge, ESL people here! :D


Myanmar, part 1: Let's Start at Yangon

What do you do after you work hard and earn pretty good money? Me.. Traveling! :) Well, it's nice to get new cameras, or lenses, or those fancy purses, but traveling will always be my first choice.

This was a trip I did way back in April after I had gazzilion Cherry Blossom's sessions.

I went to Myanmar, people! How cool is that, eh? :)

I always wanted to go to Myanmar despite what the media said about Myanmar with the Muslim Rohingya.

When I told my solo travel idea to my awesome husband, he only said, "Why Myanmar?", I replied, "Why not?". Yes, why not? I could feel that he didn't 100% agree with my Myamar's idea because of so many variables; yet he knew I'd still do it anyway.

A couple days after talking to Brian, I purchased my ticket. My route was Fukuoka - Taipei - Yangon - Denpasar - Jakarta - Fukuoka. I was so excited as Myanmar was the only country left for me to visit in SE Asia. I frankly had few small concerns, but I believe God is with travelers! Aameen! :)

Now let's start at Yangon!

After I had a looong layover at Taipei, I arrived at Yangon airport a little bit after 11 a.m. It's a small, yet nice and clean airport. I was smiling as I saw most of the men were wearing saroong. I meant, Indonesian also wear saroong, but not in those 'official' times/occasions.

I paid around $8 (CHEAP!) for a taxi ride from the airport to the hotel I booked in the Chinatown area. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with the Chinatown whenever you visit new places, as that is where you can see lots of interesting things, and food! Yes.. Food! :)

I saw the Shwedagon Pagoda and Kandawgyi Lake on my way to the hotel. I personally didn't expect that Yangon could be that 'clean'.

Now Chinatown, it's a different story. We travelers know that we can't expect cleanliness in most Chinatowns - except Chinatowns in Japan :)

After checking in and taking a short rest at the hotel, I wandered around Chinatown. It was HOT, humid, and dusty. Gah!

There were so many interesting things around Chinatown. As a Muslim myself, I was surprised to see lots of Muslims around the area - well, actually I was surprised when I was at the Yangon Airport and saw so many Muslims. On my randon walk, I found a masjid (and later two other masjids) that was not too far from the hotel I stayed at. It was Friday, and everyone was ready to do the Friday prayer. Most of them who were ready to pray were staring at me, but a few others were asking where I came from.

I continued to walk around. I then went to the Sule Pagoda. Don't shoot me, but somehow it looked better on pictures I saw online than that day, to put it mildly. Maybe because the heat and the dust :) The area around Sule Pagoda was pretty cool. Some buildings around looked like European buildings, which understandable as according to the history, Yangon was established when British invaded Myanmar at 1850s.

After done looking around the Sule Pagoda area, I went back to my hotel. It was little bit close to evening, hence there were more street vendors around. You shall not miss the 19th street at Chinatown, as it's the food heaven there.

I, myself, didn't care that much as I don't eat pork which mostly what they serve there. I got some roti canai from a Muslim Indian street vendor as my dinner. I know, Indian food in Myanmar doesn't feel right, yeah? But if you do not have any food restriction and a fan of barbaque, you definitely need to go to the 19th street!

Here are VERY FEW pictures I snapped at the Chinatown. I've been so bad in taking pictures during my travels lately, I don't know why. I either am too lazy, or getting old, or maybe both! :)


.:. I'm working on my Bagan's story now before I get lazy, so please check back again if you want to see few pictures of Bagan from my camera :)