Travel Journal

Balloons over Bagan (Myanmar)

(Tuesday 10 April 2012) by Lynda
Bagan, a vast plain dotted with unnumerous pagoda's, temples and stupa's, all in different styles, colors and shapes. I visited the temples already in 1997 but even when you know what to expect, it's breathtaking, overwhelming.......again!
Cycling on sandy dusty roads, feeling like true explorers of the old days when we discover yet another group of temples at the end of a deserted trail and look for beautiful, sometimes naughty murals inside hidden temples by the light of our torches. Climbing the temples and standing on top of it, gives you a better idea of the vastness of the place, in every direction temples and stupa's, as far as the eyes can reach.
Time to celebrate, we did it and loved it!
Time to celebrate, we did it and loved it!

Koen and I are on a quest, using as many ways of transportation as possible and we found an exotic one in Bagan - the hot air balloon. Very early morning we are picked up from our hotel, drinking a proper English tea while watching the preparations for take off. The moment the balloon is standing upright is really impressive, so enormous and fragile at the same time. We are lifted off the ground oh so gently and slowly rising up in the air. The sunrise over the plain casting an orange glow on the temples and slowly dissolving the mist that is covering the plain as a soft blanket. Standing in the basket, the bursts of the burners the only sound in the early morning, gazing at the beautiful scenery below that is constantly changing as we slowly drift by, this is a special moment, a highlight of my trip to Myanmar. Our landing comes way too soon, we could have stayed up there forever. But the Prosecco helps to cheer up the moment of landing.

Thaung Tho market
Thaung Tho market

After 3 glorious days of tempeling, we need a change of scenery, time to move on to Inle Lake, famous for it's floating gardens, colorful markets and legrowers. Our hotel is build on stilts in the middle of the lake, the perfect place to see sunset over the lake and we celebrate the beauty of it all with a bottle of surprisingly good Myanmar wine.

We explore the lake by boat, cruising the seldomly visited second lake, only opened up for foreign tourist in 2003, visiting remote temples and villages and a strangly shaped wall that starts on land and ends way out in the lake. I doesn't seem manmade to me, but could it be natural? Another mystery that maybe will be solved when more areas of this country will be opened up for visitors.
Sunset at Golden Island Cottages
Sunset at Golden Island Cottages

Back in Yangoon, a bit sad because Koen, the sweetest and most relaxed travelmate ever, is flying home, but also excited to explore new places in Myanmar, I have only 2 weeks left on my visa and so many places to choose from.....

Happy in the Golden Country and loving every golden minute of it!!!!



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