Hmm the night bus to Bagan, how to sum it up?? I guess if you imagine trying to spend and sleep 7 hours on a busy tube with a bunch of scouse drunks screeching to each other from one end of the carriage to the other then that's probably not too far off. The journey was just horrendous the air con was so cold that people were in hats and winter coats, we seemed to stop every few minutes for some reason or other. But thank god at about 3.30am(!) we arrived at the bus station and did a bit of sleep deprived bartering for a taxi to the hotel and probably still paid over the odds but when you just want a bed it was justified. We arrived at Mya Kan Thar Motel and had to wake up some staff to check us in and again, fortunately could go straight to our room for some much needed sleep.
That first day in Bagan was a sleepy haze of very little. Christine, Laura and I wandered about New Bagan seeking out nice little cafés and restaurants to hang out in and plan out our next two days. But in New Bagan we did get to sample some of the temple ruins that the overall Bagan area was to offer. Christine and I dragged ourselves to a little riverside temple to watch the sunset where we were accosted by a lad trying to sell us some paintings, which were pretty good actually. The sunset lit up the golden done of the temple very nicely and worth the little venture over to it. That evening we decided to splash the cash and head to a 'fancy' Thai restaurant for an amazing red Thai curry. It was a quite cute place with the paper lanterns and candle light and even treated to a short, rather odd puppet show. That's all we could manage on the first day in Bagan before crashing out for the night.
The following morning we had an alfresco breakfast, which was a bonus as the booking said it didn't include breakfast. Even if it was just cold greasy fried eggs and cold toast. A day dedicated to visiting the hundreds of temples that scatter over Bagan, we decided to do it by electric bikes...which are awesome. Obviously as soon as we set off my my bike instantly dies and I have to push it back to the hotel, annoyingly the car had just fallen out of the battery. Typical. So we spent the day bimbling about the temples, including Shwe Gu Gyi Phaya for a view across the Bagan plain where you can really appreciate the size and scale of the Bagan temples. Then the Htiloninio Temple which contained, still visible, original Buddhist paintings. Then randomly at Shwezigon Paya I got chatting to two young lads from a local language school who were practising their English with tourists. They were so cute and before I knew it I was being introduced to the entire class trip and their 'master' - a monk. After several photographs and many questions the three of us were invited to a local restaurant to join the whole school trip for lunch, you'd think we were celebrities! It was a good laugh and a surreal experience. Then we spent the afternoon visiting a few other temples before heading to the Shwesandaw Paya where we climbed several floors before being joined by the masses to watch the sunset of the massive Bagan area. If hadn't of been for excessive amounts of tourists it would have been perfect, but still beautiful. Seems mad that people rush to watch a sunset or a sunrise especially as they both happen once a day but hey, it was a great view. Then it was time to navigate the busy road in the dark back to the hotel...dusty is an understatement. But that evening we found a great little family restaurant for a super spicy Burmese beef curry and a beer, amazing.
The next day was our last day in Bagan and Christine and I were up at a shocking 4.50am to drive to Pyathada Paya to watch the sunrise over Bagan. We arrived in the pitch dark and had to feel our way round the temple to get up on the roof. I was surprised that the previous days heat was still being held by the temple with the bricks still warm to the touch. And even better was the fact that there were no other tourists. We sat and watched the sunrise and several hot air balloons rise just to add to the picturesque scene. The rest of the day was relaxing and left me planning what to do once I got to Thailand in a couple of days time. Then it was time to grab the night bus (thank god the last one) back to Yangon. Result though, we had individual tv screens so I watched a few films and listened to the random collection of music. It's still a night bus so sleep was in short supply. But at least we were back at Humble Footprints Hostel and tucked up in bed by 7am.
And that's Myanmar done as my last day in Yangon consisted of just pottering around and eating. It's tough being a backpacker.
Next stop and country - Bangkok, Thailand.