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Day 15. Bagan

Sunday, November 12, 2006 permalink [Permalink]

Today we explore the 1000's of Pagodas scattered around Bagan. We even managed to climb one of them and enjoyed the view of surrounding area.

The hum of the air-conditioner permeated throughout the room and the morning light was pushing its way through the closed curtains; gradually inviting me to get out of bed.  Down below the construction workers were keeping busy hammering and grinding on the new hotel wing - the only local fauna that hadn't been driven away by the noise was a little gecko on the ceiling.  Every now and then it would let out a yelp which sounded like a cross between a frog and a chicken.

Ancient loners stand to attention

After a slow breakfast we oiled our bikes which by this stage were showing severe signs of disrepair.  Squeaky chains, stiff pedals, rattling racks and every now and then, spoke grinding.

A few minor adjustments later we were riding through pagoda country.  There are literally thousands of them surrounding Bagan.  We kept to the dry dirt roads and weaved our way between the pagodas.  Occasionally we’d ride into a tourist trap filled with hawkers from which we quickly detoured.

Some of the pagodas were engraved with intricate details, perhaps at one time even painted.  It's hard to imagine the true overall picture of what the pagodas looked like some 1000 years ago.

From Old Bagan we rode south to New Bagan to stretch our legs and explore the area. 

Climbing towards the heavens

On the way back the sun was about to set and we saw a pagoda which we could climb.  Mucky and I removed our shoes and followed a set of tiny corridors which eventually led us to a narrow staircase with tiny but steep steps.  Crouching down we squeezed our way through the openings which were obviously designed for a much smaller people.  I can just imagine someone of a larger western stature (not a cyclist) getting stuck here.

I climbed onto the first level, then the second and third.  With each level the number a pagodas on the horizon multiplied and the whole panorama was truly awe-inspiring.  Unfortunately the clouds rolled in and spoilt what could have been a great shot during sunset.  Maybe I'll get a chance to shoot again tomorrow?

It was dinner time and we noticed that the hotel was setting up a large table for a tour group in the garden.  The setting was perfect and the weather warm - so why not?  We asked if we could have a special table setup for the four of us.  After picking out the menu we were shortly enjoying a silver service dinner in the garden next to a small pagoda for zero extra cost.

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