Cycling in Bagan is very easy as the way is very plain, but it is also tiring. Anyway, the views and experience are totally worthy. There isn’t much more to do in Bagan rather than exploring the temples, so that’s what I do these days.
In Bagan, everyone is waking up very early to see the sunrise. Some people in my room were even waking up at 4 AM just to get the best spot on the most crowded temples. Anyway, I think that waking up at around 5.30 is more than enough to see the sunrise.
One weird thing that happened to me while going around with my Ympek bicycle was the fact that I saw one Burmese man touching himself just right in front of one of those dirt paths that leads to temples. When I spot him, I’m already too close to turn back. At this moment I’m not riding the bicycle, I was carrying it by hand which made the thing even weirder. I decide to proceed my way looking straight, I have no idea what this man looks like cause I didn’t look. I pretend nothing is happening and continue walking. I just listen a surprised sound out of him, I think he hadn’t seen me before. It was such an awkward moment. I don’t understand why his he doing it right in front of the path. At least he could hide somewhere in the bushes.
Anyway, I proceed my day exploring some temples to try to find maybe one that is unnoticed, for the sunset or maybe sunrise. Really close to Htilominlo there are 2 buildings that don’t resemble like temples. They have a square shape and actually look climbable so I went to check. You can actually climb it, but the problem is that at the top there is no place to stand. There is just a hole where you can look through and it isn’t even good located… Through it, you can only get your head off in one side and that’s the side where there is nothing to see. This was the view from there:
I also found a pretty cool temple that I believe to be one of the best-conserved ones in the area. I truly think that all the Bagan temples back in time were looking like this. It is still very white, and the outside adorned area is so intact. you can see all the details, and it is so gorgeous. It is such a small temple but is a truly beautiful one! I haven’t seen another one like this before!
While exploring Bagan, you don’t necessarily need to be on the top of a temple for the sunset. Riding a bicycle among temples while the sun is going down is as magic as staring at the sunset. It feels like the sun is going along with you.
Another sight that I had this time and didn’t have before was right after sunrise while I’m going back to the Hostel. There is a big line of monks walking barefoot with their bowls. Of course, this is a delight for the foreigners so I stop to take some pictures. They are collecting food from house to house, just like I have seen before in Nyaug Shwe.
I visited for the second time some of the biggest temples, and it was at Sulamani that I had a conversation with a Burmese. I just sit on one of the walls of the temple to have some rest, close to the souvenir sellers. First I’m approached by them as a possible client, but once I hang out in the same place as them for a few minutes, it looks like I belong to the crew now. No one is bothering me anymore… I think they find weird that I’m there sitting with them.
At some point, I’m approached by a different man showing what he has to offer, some sand paintings. What was a gesture of possible business for him turned out to be in a long and interesting conversation. Once I say I’m from Portugal, he states that have a Portuguese friend that brings tourists to Bagan and counts with his help. He is the tourist’s local guide. What a coincidence, because you don’t find many Portuguese around. We talked about several other things besides his English level is poor. It was fun and I truly enjoyed the moment. This is why I like to stand close to locals. Being in touch with their ravishing smiles is a blast!