Part 1

Part 2 @ Bagan

Part 3 @ Inle

Feel free to chitchat with me here


History of Bagan

Bagan is known as a Sea of Pagodas City or The land of Four Thousand Pagodas. There were originally 4446 pagodas but there are only 2,217 pagodas left today. The very first pagoda of Bagan is Shwezigon Pagoda built by Anawrahta Minsaw, the founder of the Pagan Empire and the first King. The tradition to built the pagoda is that the King will be the one who build the biggest pagoda. The size of the pagoda will be smaller according to the title of the person who build it respectively. During the reign of King Kyanzittha, 4th King of Pagan Empire, this period was in fact the most prosperous period of Buddhism. Firstly, Bagan was defeated and occupied by Mons from Hongsawadee. King Kyanzittha then gathered Burmese and Mons to fight them back and they won. On the other hand, Bagan was the most prosperous in the arts in 1144 when Alaungsithu was the King. King Alaungsithu also ordered to build a pagoda named "Thatbyinnyu (The Omniscient)", today's tallest pagoda in Bagan. Last but not least, Narathihapate was the last king of the Pagan Empire. He built the last pagoda in Bagan successfully in 1276. It was predicted by someone as well that it would be the end of Pagan Empire after this pagoda had completed. This prediction became true when Mongolian army attacked the Kingdom in 1284 before Pagan Empire came to an end in 1287. Therefore, Pagan Empire last for 243 years with 11 Kings.

Day 2 @ Bagan

3.50 AM, I have arrived at Bagan Bus Terminal. I am still half awake while getting off the bus. There is like a big group of taxi drivers and motorcycle (with a sidecar) taxi drivers trying to get the passengers to hotels. Well, I am one of those who hasn't reserved the pickup service from the hotel so I am very popular right now. hahaha People are trying to get me. After getting all the proposals, taxi is about 5 USD and motorcycle with a sidecar is about 4 USD (5,000 MMK). It is not much different actually. I have decided to get away from the crowd and started to think thoroughly. I also have studied some information about the price prior to the journey. Guess what! I have sat down for not even 10 seconds and there is a motorcycle taxi driver comes to approach me already. I kindly ask him to wait for a while so he takes one step back (only 1 step really). He comes back after a few minutes and still offers the price at 5,000 MMK. I ask if he can give a discount and charge for only 3,000 MMK but he said that he can go down to 4,000 MMK only. I explain that this price is almost the same as the taxi and the taxi is more comfortable. "If you take the taxi, it might not be only 5 USD and it might be up to 8,000 MMK", he answered.....After learning this, I have decided to walk out from the bus terminal and started to bargain with the taxi drivers who park their cars nearby. I thought that the price would be cheaper but it is still 5 USD. Suddenly, I see an Asian girl wandering and looking lost. I approach her and ask if she is going somewhere in the same direction with mine so we can take the taxi together. And she said "Yes". I feel so relieved. I get to know her more on the taxi that she is from Canada and her name is Huey. She is older than me and at middle age. This is her second time here. She said that last time the city admission fee was only 10 USD but it is 20 USD this time (I don't remember where do we need to pay exactly, the taxi stops for us to pay somewhere as I remember ^^). I have finally arrived at Eden Motel. Huey asks me to pay only 2 USD because her place is further. This is great. hahaha Three main areas to stay in Bagan are Old Bagan, New Bagan, and Nyaung U. My hotel is in Nyaung U area. It is known as the area for backpackers full with shops and near the local market. In other words, it is easy to find something to eat in Nyaung U area.

4.30 AM, I arrive at Eden Motel. The taxi driver is so kind to get the staff for me. The staff sleep right next to the entrance in case there are some guests come to check in this early. Well, I still have time to arrange the horse carriage to see the sunrise so I ask the staff to find one for me right away. I want to have a horse carriage to take me around the town for the whole day from sunrise to sunset. I ask the staff kindly to find me the cheapest one because I will be here in Myanmar for 14 days. I need to save money wherever possible. I finally got the price at 25,000 MMK. I am not sure if this is cheap or not but I kind of think so. hahaha My room won't be ready to check in until the afternoon so I am going up to put my backpack in the dormitory room (I guess it is on 3rd floor) first.

The dormitory room is about 8-10 USD per night with shared bathroom.

5.30 AM, the horse carriage comes to pick me up. The driver is named Toonreu (I don't know if I pronounce it right because he said it out while he is chewing a chewing gum). The horse is called Rambo and he is 6 years old. I guess Rambo might be a new name of this horse because Toonreu paused for a while before telling me. hahaha The sky is full with stars now. It is totally beautiful.

5.50 AM, the road to Buledi Pagoda is made of sand. Toonreu doesn't hesitate to warn 2 foreigner girls who are on the E-bikes to be careful while they are riding pass us. Guess what! They fall down right after. That's why Toonreu warned them in advance. We have arrived at Buledi Pagoda to watch the sunrise and we are actually the very first ones to arrive. It is still dark and we need a flashlight to climb up. It is not that difficult, I would say it is like going up to the 5th Floor of a building. People start to arrive and there are Thais among those people. I have got a chance to talk to one Thai girl who also travels here alone. I ask her to rent an E-bike and travel together tomorrow after knowing that she will be in town tomorrow as well. We are going to visit more pagodas in another travel route which is not included in today's program. And the first day light has shown up with the scenery of numbers of pagodas right in front of us.

6.40 AM, hot air balloon starts to take off into the sky. There are 22 of them as I count. I don't know how many of them they normally have in each morning but this is already a lot and so pretty. I love it. I love the view of the first daylight of the day, pagodas, and hot air balloons together.

7.30 AM, after enjoying the morning view, I have walked down from the pagoda. Toonreu asks me right away if I want to continue the journey or go back for the breakfast first. I choose to go back and ask him to come and pick me up at 9.30 AM again.

This is Rambo, the horse that will take care of me this whole day.

7.50 AM, I am back at the hotel. Luckily, there is no guest in the dormitory room so I have got a chance to take a nap for a while. After that I woke up and go for a shower. It is actually my first shower in Myanmar. Well, it is time to go out and look for something to eat. I walk pass a coffee place full with people and I think it must be good so I decide to have some coffee and Samosa (fried pastry with a filling such as potatoes, onions, and spices) here. Eating Samosa while sipping coffee is so good and it is super cheap. Coffee is 500 MMK and Samosa is 100 MMK per piece which I have two. In other words, I spend only 700 MMK (20 THB) for the breakfast.

Then my plan is to go look for longyi (sarong) at the morning market. Sadly, I forgot to buy it from Bogyoke Market in Yangon. I guess it must be expensive here but I have no choice because they might not let me into the temple with the shorts on. I got a longyi for 6,000 MMK and I learn that this is expensive when I am back at the hotel and trying it on. The staff is kind of shocked when I told him the price. hahaha

9.20 AM, Toonreu is here to pick me up while I am still sleepy because I ate a lot. Anyway, I better go out rather than staying in because it would be a waste of time.

This is the list of the pagodas that we are going to visit today respectively.

1..Tajahe Pagoda, it is a small pagoda where I couldn't find its history and I also lose its photo.

2..Tajapo Pagoda, it is located only 50-meter far from Tajahe Pagoda. You can walk here easily and these two pagodas also look alike.

3..Htilominlo Pagoda

Credit :

Htilominlo means "The tiered pagoda". It falls into "temple pagoda" type which was built during the reign of King Nandaungmya. The history of this pagoda is pretty different from others as follows. King Narapatisithu had 5 sons, some were born from the Queen and some were born from his other wives. Once he would like to pass on the throne to his heirs, he couldn't appoint his son from the Queen directly. King Narapatisithu had promised with one of his wives who took a very good care of him when he was sick that he would also consider her son to be the king. As the king couldn't break his promise, he had decided to call up all his sons for a meeting. The king had his 5 sons sit in a circle with Royal Tiered Umbrella, a token of the King in the middle. Then he will drop the Royal Tiered Umbrella down and the next king will be the one who the end of Royal Tiered Umbrella pointing at. It appeared that the Royal Tiered Umbrella pointed to Prince Chaising (King Nandaungmya) who was born with the wife the King had the promise with. That's why King Nandaungmya was later also called "King of Royal Tiered Umbrella" by locals. After Prince Chaising became the King, he gave an order to build a pagoda at where the meeting to select the king was held. This pagoda is called " Htilominlo Pagoda".

However, some of the Burmese savants believed that "Htilominlo" might come from "Htilomangkla" or "The person who was blessed auspiciously from 3 worlds"

4..Upali Thein

Credit :

Upali means Buddhist monk during the reign of King Nadaungmya. Thein means ordination hall. The ordination hall is in rectangle with a small bell shaped pagoda in the middle of the roof. There is a Buddha image in the attitude of subduing Mara inside. The wall and ceiling are decorated with beautiful mural painting about the story of 27 Lord Buddhas including Gautama Buddha, the present Buddha.

5..Khay Min Gha Temple

Credit :

6..Ojong Pagoda, it is a ruin of pagoda located up in the hill. You won't be able to imagine how this pagoda was because there are only some ruins left. It is in the middle of the forest and grass field. The photo I take from here is error and I can't even find this pagoda on the internet. T_T Well, good thing is you can also see Ayeyarwady River from up here.

7..Mahabodhi Temple

Credit :

Mahabodhi Temple or Wat Maha Pho in Thai was built during the reign of King Nandamannya (1210 - 1234). The ordination hall was built according to the style of Mahabodhi Temple in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is a building with pyramidal structure on top with pagoda-style peak.

This kind of architecture is commonly found during Gupta Empire in India. That's why this pagoda looks very Indian. It is also similar to the entrance tower of Hindu Temple. Furthermore, Mahabodhi Temple was restored after the major destruction from the earthquake in 1975.

8..Mingala Zedi

Credit :

According to the chronicles, King Narathihapate, the 12th King of Pagan Empire was known as an aggressive king and had no belief in Buddhism. However, he still followed the tradition of building his representative pagoda. He built "Mingala Zedi" or "Mongkol Zedi" in the same pattern as Shwezigon Pagoda by King Anawrahta Minsaw. King Narathihapate ordered to inscribe at this pagoda that he was a commander who looked after 36 millions soldiers, he ate curry 300 dishes a day, and had 3,000 concubines. When "Kublai Khan", a commander of Mongol Empire was trying to pull the southern part of China to append with Yunnan and asked Bagan to send a tribute to the Emperor in Beijing, King Narathihapate said no and also ordered to execute the messenger.

There was an oracle that once King Narathihapate build Mingala Zedi successfully, there would be a disaster. As a result, the construction was paused for 3 years before there was another rumor saying that an incomplete pagoda is an unfortunate thing for the kingdom…Therefore, King Narathihapate decided to complete the pagoda. It was the same time that he knew there would be a revenge from Mongol Empire so he also ordered to build 3 tiers city wall. Since this was quite an urgent need, the King also approved to take the brick from many pagodas. His action was not pleased by many locals.

It was in 1283 when Bagan was defeated by Mongol troops. The 3 tiers city wall couldn't stop them. On the other hand, King Narathihapate had escaped from Bagan and this was when locals called him as "The King who ran from Chinese".

*Credit: publishes the information from a book called "ท่องแดนเจดีย์ไพรในพุกามประเทศ (A Journey in the Sea of Pagoda, Bagan)" written by Teeraparb Lohitkun

9..Gaw Daw Palin Phaya

Credit :

Gaw Daw Palin Phaya was built in the 13th Century as a memorial for the ancestor Kings. It is the second tallest pagoda in Bagan.

Well, it is lunch time now so Toonreu takes me to a restaurant where I guess it is a place he normally takes his passenger to eat. I ask him to join me but he refuses because there is a place where the restaurant has arranged for especially the horse carriage drivers who have brought their passengers here. So I have to eat alone. This restaurant offers only set menu at 4,000 MMK (120 THB). The set menu is including Chicken Curry, Beef Curry, Pork Curry, and Fried Fish. They serve 2 pieces of meat on each dish. The highlight is the side dish. There are 10 kinds of them with 1 dish of fresh vegetable. You can also eat as much rice as you want. Moreover, they serve watermelon and some wafer at the end. This meal is not included the water and drinks. It is actually my first meal in Myanmar that I feel totally full. If we talk about the taste, they taste quite good in general but this whole set is pretty big for 1 person actually. I have already finished half of my rice after only trying the side dishes and haven't started the main ones yet. I guess you will have the same experience when eating in Myanmar. hahaha I would rate it at the highest 3 stars.

This is my lunch. They are all for me. That's why it is kind of hard to know where to start. I have realized it once again when half of my rice has gone and I haven't tried them all.

Lunch is done and it is time to continue my journey.

10..Buphaya Pagoda

Buphaya Pagoda is located right by the shore of Ayeyarwady River. Buphaya mean "calabash " in Bagan as the way the pagoda looks. The history states that it was built back in the 2nd Century during the Sri Ksetra Kingdom, also known as Pyu Kingdom by King Pyusordhi. However, some people argue that it was built in the 11th Century because of its architectural style. Anyway, the pagoda seen today were newly built in 1975 because the old one was destroyed by the earthquake.

11..Shwe Gugi Temple

Shwe Gugi Temple was built by King Alaungsithu. The word Shwe Gugi means "Golden Cave". The temple is also known as Nandaw Temple meaning the temple in front of the palace as its location locating in front of the Ancient Bagan Palace. The chronicles state that it was built on a huge brick about 12-foot big. As a result, it was completed shortly within 7 months and 7 days. In addition, there is also a huge Buddha image here. You can also climb up to view the ruins of the Ancient Palace as well as to see the sea of pagodas in Bagan.

12..Thatbyinnyu Temple

Thatbyinnyu Temple, also known as "Sapphanyu Temple" is located inside the city wall right in the middle of the town and 500-meter far in the southwest of Ananda Phaya. Its pagoda is the tallest one in Bagan (61 meters). This temple is considered as an phototype of all Burmese architecture. King Alongsithu ordered to build this temple in the middle of the 12th Century. It is pretty similar to Ananda Phaya but in bigger diagram. The second floor of the ordination hall is smaller than the first floor and it is in square shape with a hidden hallow. This is quite an identity of Burmese temple because the ordination hall of Mon temple is 1-storey building normally. The core of the lower floor is bricked up to support the whole structure of the building. Furthermore, there is a principle Buddha image enshrined on the second floor. It is facing toward the east. There are two rows of windows on every floor, that's why the ordination hall is always bright and airy. The first two floors of the building used to be the residence of the monks, while the third floor was where the Buddha image enshrined, the fourth floor was used as a Tripitaka Hall, and the peak is where the Buddha's relic enshrined. If you want to go up, you need to take the stairway inside the building. You can see Ananda Phaya and beautiful scenery from the high floor of the building as well.

13..Sulamani Phaya

Sulamani Phaya was built by King Narapatisithu in 1163. It is located in the southeastern part of Old Bagan in Dhammayangyi Temple. While King Narapatisithu was on the way to the pagoda in Turin Tuang mountain, he saw a beam reflection from the ground where Sulamani Phaya located today. He asked his soldiers to figure it out and later found that it was a beam reflection from a small ruby. This is like a miracle incident maybe inspired by deity and the King believed that where the ruby was found must be a holy place. Therefore, he ordered to build an ordination hall here. To prepare the area, elephants were used to firm the ground. Sulamani Phaya is a 2-storey pagoda ordination hall. Each floor has a 3-tier roof reflecting castle-like architectural style with prang on the rooftop. In addition, this ordination hall has 4 pagodas at its 4 corners.

14..Dhammayangyi Phaya

Dhammayangyi Phaya is incredibly beautiful. It is known as the largest pagoda in Bagan as well as the most durable. The pagoda was uniquely made of red bricks. It is built in a plan similar to that of Ananda Temple as in square shape with four porches extending on four sides. Dhammayangyi Phaya was built by King Narathu who felt guilty killing his own father and was afraid that the karma will haunt him until his next life. So he built this place up to whitewash his sin. Dhammayangyi Phaya is today's the most well-preserved temple in Bagan. Even though it was built similarly to Ananda Temple, the artworks details can't be compare with Ananda Temple reflecting the dark period of time during that era. However, the craft stone formation was the best. King Narathu was the one who check all the construction processes himself. He wouldn't accept any gap between the stone that a needle can go through and if any engineer did that, he will be executed. King Narathu was later killed before Dhammayangyi Phaya was completed. He was killed because he took over the concubine of his father who is a daughter of the Great King of Pateikkaya from India to be his. He didn't like Hindu ceremony so he ordered to execute that concubine and this had come up to her father's attention. Her father then sent 8 of his soldiers for a revenge. These 8 soldiers disguised to be Brahmins and appeared before King Narathu. They used sword to kill the King before killing themselves in order to end the incident and avoid a war. That's why Dhammayangyi Phaya is also called Kalagya Min meaning viharn of the King who was killed by Kalas.

15..Ananda Phaya

Ananda Phaya was built by King Kyanzittha to be a symbol of Nandamula Mountain in Himalaya Range. There were 5 Buddhist saints from India pilgrimage to Bagan. These 5 saints had got a chance to talk to King Kyanzittha and tell him about the temple in India. King Kyanzittha was very pleased to learn about this and ordered to build a temple just like what they had said and named the temple as Ananda as the name of the cave these 5 saints lived.

Ananda Pagoda had been praised as a gem of Bagan's architectural style because it is considered as the best of Buddhist art of Bagan. The ordination hall is extremely huge in square shape with four porches extending on all four sides. If you look at a plan, it also looks like Greek cross. There are 4 standing Buddha images carved out of teak wood facing in 4 directions inside. Their faces are all with kind smile and very respectful. Moreover, the high-skilled Burmese craftsmen had also designed to have the natural light shined only on these 4 Buddha images.

Toonreu is about to take me to Shwesandaw Pagoda to watch the sunset after visiting Ananda Phaya. I stop him right away because I don't feel well, I have high fever now. I guess I haven't had enough rest and have experienced with a swing weather, it was very hot in Yangon but it is cold here in Bagan in the morning and hot again in the afternoon. I ask Toonreu to take me back to the hotel. I will take some medicines and rest.

4.30 PM, I have arrived back at the hotel and thank to Toonreu for today. I pay him 25,000 MMK with some tips. After that I go to pick up my backpack from the dormitory room before going to my own room on the 2nd Floor. I will try to get settled quickly and rest a bit because I don't feel well at all.

My room is a single room comes with air conditioner, electric fan, and TV. The bathroom is also private. Even though it is old, the shower is good with water heating system.

I have rested for a while and I am now ready for the new mission. I want to bargain the price of my room from 15 USD per night because I am going to stay here for 3 nights. I fail though, it can't really be discounted. I then go out for dinner and also check the price of the hotel nearby. I start to ask the hotel located right in front of my hotel called Eden Motel 1. The name is exactly the same. It is just different owner and the hotel I stay is actually Eden Motel 3. Well, they offer the same price for the same kind of room but without TV and no discount could be granted either. After checking a few more places, I learn that the prices are quite the same. So I have decided to stay in the same hotel because I am lazy to move my stuffs anyway. I move on and I am ready for dinner. I have ordered Fried Rice with Chicken and Fried Egg. It is very tasty but kind of pricey. It costs 2,500 MMK or about 70 THB and it comes in a small portion (I forget to take a photo of it). It can't really fill up my stomach.

I walk further and have found a noodle place. I decide to eat more here. I have ordered the noodle by pointing at what the person next to me is eating. It is a Dried Yellow Noodle with Stir-fried Chicken served with a clear soup and condiments such as shallot, lime, fish sauce, chilies, and some sweet and sour sauce. This noodle costs 500 MMK or 15 THB. It is pretty similar to Dried Noodle in Thailand. I ask for the name because I might need it for later and the answer is "Seejia Kaosuay".

I am officially full. Let's take a walk a bit! The street here is quite dark so I guess I shouldn't be here long. I walk back to check for the E-bike rental fee. The only place that offers E-bike rental service around my hotel is Eden Motel 2. They have 2 prices for 2 kinds of E-bikes, 5,000 MMK and 7,000 MMK. E-bike at 7,000 MMK is as same as the 5,000 MMK one, it is just a bit bigger and newer. As a result, I choose to rent the one that costs 5,000 MMK. I have done making the reservation and the payment will be done upon taking the bike tomorrow since the shop will be opened from 4 AM. Let's go back to the hotel to take a shower, take a medicine and sleep! I can't get sick now so I better take good care of myself.

Day 3 @ Bagan

5.30 AM, I am going to pick up the E-bike and pay 5,000 MMK. I also ask them for the sightseeing map because I think they might have a better map than the one provided at my hotel. The shop doesn't have a map but the owner is so kind, he grab a very detailed big map for me to borrow. This is so good. I am on my way to see my Thai friend who I met yesterday. We are going to watch the sunrise at the same spot as yesterday together. Well, it is getting late so it is better to have one E-bike each because no one is very good at it. Unfortunately, we are lost and won't make it in time. So we get separated to go back to our own place for breakfast. hahaha We will meet again at 8.30 AM to explore different travel route from yesterday.

Once I have arrived back at the hotel, the owner of E-bike rental service approaches me to take the E-bike to charge battery right away. What a great service! I highly recommend this place.

This is the E-bike rental shop I am talking about. If I am standing in front of my hotel, it will be on my right-hand side next to Eden Motel 2.

This is a type of E-bike I rent. It is 5,000 MMK.

The key is attached with the name card of the shop in case of the emergency.

This is the breakfast served at my hotel.

The breakfast is coming in set consisting of fried egg, toasts, banana, watermelon, and tea or coffee. They don't have soy sauce here so I have to eat fried egg with some salt. This is not enough. I want to eat more so I walk out of the hotel, turn right for 150 meters, and cross the street to the same place I had breakfast yesterday. This time I have some coffee, Roti with bean paste, and 1 piece of Samosa (5 pieces of Samosa will be served on a dish but we can choose to eat 1 piece, 2 pieces, or all of them. They will charge according to the number of pieces you eat.). This breakfast costs 1,100 MMK or 35 THB in total.

Let's zoom in to see what they have stuffed inside! It is very delicious.

I am okay to continue with another stop at a cafe. Let's just eat!

*** If you have a chance to go to a cafe in Myanmar, don't forget to observe the way a customer call the cafe service staff. Instead of calling them, the customer will make a sound like a mouse sound or a kiss sound such Muah Muah as an example. This is very interesting. Like me, I found it a bit scary at first thinking that there are mice in the cafe. However, after I try to observe more carefully I found out that the sound is actually from the customer. It is also kind of cute but I am a little shy to do so. hahaha

8.30 AM, it is time to go and meet up my friend but let's get some information first! I ask the staff at the reception to recommend me all the interesting pagodas along the travel route that I will be traveling on today. This route is not common for horse carriage to travel to. And I finally have the rough plan for today written on a piece of paper. I don't dare to mark them on the map borrowed from the E-bike rental shop. Anyway, let's the journey get started!

This is a totally freshly made map, will I get lost? hahaha

The starting point of this journey is at my hotel. I turn right and keep going straight until the intersection where to go to the airport need to turn left but I turn right right here. There is a lot of pagodas along the way and this road will also lead us to New Bagan. The total distance is about 26 kilometers but it should be roughly 30 kilometers including the distance from the main street to the pagodas. I hope the battery of this E-bike will last until the end.

This is the main travel route for today.

I am pretty ready for today's 30-kilometer journey.

1..Iza Gawna Pagoda
This is the very first pagoda we visit today, Iza Gawna Pagoda was built in the 13th Century by the well-known Buddhist monk named Maha Thaman.

2..Winido Temple

3..Tham Bula Phaya

Tham Bula Phaya was built by Mahadevi Tham Bula in 1255.

4..Thonzu Phaya

Thonzu Phaya (means the three pagodas) was built by three brothers in the 13th Century but it was not fully completed because of the war with Genghis Khan. There is only one pagoda that has been left undestroyed. It is a small temple with 3 small pagodas attached to each other with a small walkway in between. It was built during the time that Mahayana Buddhism started to spread in Bagan. That's why the painting was mainly influenced by Mahayana. Well, there are 2 different history of building this place up. The first one was to worship the Trimurati ( Brahma, Shiva, and Narayana) of Hinduism and another one was to worship Triple Gem of Buddhism.

5..Lay Myethna Temple

Lay Myethna Pagoda in Ming Gaba Distrcit is assumed to be built by the daughter or niece of King Kyanzittha. It is a tradition of all dynasties of the King who ruled Bagan to build a pagoda or an ordination hall representing himself or herself supporting the main pagoda of the King (Nagayon Pagoda for this instance)

6..Thisa Wadi Pagoda

7..Dhamma Yazika Pagoda

Dhamma Yazika Pagoda was built during the reign of King Narapatisithu. It is a pagoda with five-sided wall which was the architectural development according to the belief in Buddhism that there are 5 Buddhas on the planet earth. However, it is not easy to notice this five-sided wall since the ordination hall was built right next to the pagoda.

It is time for a lunch break. We are two people so we have ordered 2 kinds of food and it costs 1,500 MMK each.

8..Lawkananda Phayar

Lawkananda Phayar is located on the shore of Ayeyarwady River in the southern part of New Bagan. It was built in 1059 during the reign of King Anawrahta to have relic of the tooth of Buddha from Sri Lanka enshrined.

9..Somingyi Kyaung

Somingyi Kyaung was built in 1204. This temple is named after the name of the lady who built it.

10..Manuha Temple

Manuha Temple was built by King Manuha, the King of Mon. When he was kept as a hostage by King Anawrahta, he expressed his feeling by ordering to build an extremely enormous Buddha image in the attitude of subduing Mara fit in an ordination hall with Sravakas on both sides.

3.50 PM, E-bike can't be sped up and it starts to work strangely while we are on our way to Ananda Temple ..I guess it run out of battery. Thanks God, I have made it to That Byin Nyu Pagoda. I buy some water from the shop and ask the shop's owner to kindly call the E-bike shop to bring a new battery for me. It takes only 10 minutes for them to bring a new battery here.

This is the battery the E-bike shop brings.

The owner of E-bike shop brings the new battery for me himself.

11..Ananda Temple

The scenery along the way back to Nyaung-U.

12..Shwezigon Pagoda
Shwezigon Pagoda is one of the five holy places you should go to pay homage when in Myanmar. It is also one of the five most significant religious buildings in Myanmar. That's why it is very well-respected by locals and even by Thais. It is also where the Buddha's relic is enshrined together with the sacred relic of the tooth of Buddha. Shwezigon Pagoda is extremely enormous and is one of the oldest pagodas in Myanmar. The word "Shwezigon" means "The Golden Pagoda of Victory" (shwe means gold). It was built by King Anawrahta Minsaw but it was completed in 1089 during the reign of King Kyanzittha about 960 years ago because King Anawrahta Minsaw passed away in 1077. The pagoda is believed to enshrine the sacred relic of the tooth of Buddha and Buddha's relic. These 2 relics were brought from Sri Lanka on the back of white elephant. King Anawrahta Minsaw declared that wherever this elephant stopped and kneed down would be the site for building the pagoda. Shwezigon Pagoda has been restored several times. Moreover, the pagoda is like a bell-shaped stupa skinned by gold leaf with 3 rows of stucco which is a prototype of Burmese pagodas. It is 53-meter tall or 160 feet tall. Moreover, Shwezigon Pagoda was built to enshrine the Buddha's relic as well as to be a venue for religious activities such as for meeting, praying, being a center of Theravada Buddhism in Bagan. King Anawrahta Minsaw believed that he is "The Great Emperor" so he tried to collect as many Buddha's relics as possible. He successfully collected a relic of the collarbone and frontal bone of Buddha from Pyay, a copy of the tooth relic from Kandy and a Emerald Buddha image from Yunnan. Furthermore, Shwezigon Pagoda consists of three square terraces. Each of the three square terraces is accessible from the cardinal points and contains Jataka tablets depicting the lives of the Buddha. The corner of each terrace has a small stupa. In front of each of the stairways leading to the terraces are square satellite temples with central shrines. Each shrine contains a Gupta-style standing Buddha. Lastly, there are two inscribed pillars on the eastern side which recount the pagoda's construction history during the reign of King Kyanzittha. Last but not least, there is an annual Shwezigon Festival here at the end of November until early December.

The ninth miracle of Shwezigon Pagoda
- The top part of pagoda didn't use any iron supplements
- The gold leaf paper cover used for the top part of pagoda won't fall outside the square base of the pagoda
- The shadow of the pagoda won't fall off the square base of the pagoda (if it does, it is considered as a bad omen)
- The territory of the pagoda can accommodate unlimited numbers of people (never been full)
- There is a merit making by offering the steamed rice every morning (no matter how early you wake up, you will always find the steamed rice inside the monk's alms bowl)
- If you hit the large drum from one side of the pagoda, you won't be able to hear the drum sound from the opposite side
- Even though the pagoda is located on the flat ground, it looks as if it was on a hill if you look from the outside
- No matter how much rain it has, there has never been rain water trapped in the territory of the pagoda
- There is a Mimusops Elengi tree which is in bloom all year round (it is normally in bloom once a year)

There is a market not far from Shwezigon Pagoda where they also have the bouncing castle for kids.

I have stopped at one of the restaurant for Rice and Curry. The food cost 2,500 MMK per dish. I have ordered Local Pork Soup. It is pretty dark here in this restaurant, not easy for me to see what is what clearly. hahaha And I am done with another meal.

I need a SIM card so I am buying one now. I need it for the internet because the free Wi-Fi at the lobby of the hotel doesn't work. hahaha I choose to buy the SIM card of MPT at 1,500 MMK with 1,000 MMK top up credit. All the processes are done by the staff so it is quite convenient.

My next mission is to do a photo copy of the map I have borrowed from the E-bike shop for tomorrow's journey. 1 copy of A3-size paper costs 100 MMK. The day has ended. I am taking back the E-bike to the shop and then I will bring down some of my clothes for the laundry at my hotel. The laundry costs 300 MMK (8THB) per piece and will get my clothes back tomorrow's evening. Well, while I am working on the laundry service I have got a chance to get to know a Korean girl from Canada. She is here alone as well but she doesn't have much information about tourist attractions in Bagan. After chitchatting for while, we have come up with an appointment for tomorrow morning to go to see the sunrise at the same spot (will we get lost again? hahaha)


Day 4 @ Bagan

5.30 AM, I rent an E-Bike from the same shop as yesterday at the same price, 5,000 MMK before going to watch the sunrise at Buledi Pagoda again. It is very cold today. I even have teeth chattering. I guess it is the coldest morning so far. We have arrived on time and the sky starts to brighten up. However, after I sit down up in the pagoda I feel so strange. Where we can sit is narrower than before. Oh no! This is the wrong pagoda. We climb back down and go to the right spot located 50-meter further. hahaha This wrong pagoda is actually the one we can see right in front when watching the sunrise from Buledi Pagoda. That's why the view I saw while I was on the wrong pagoda was different. ^^ On the way to Buledi Pagoda, I have told my friend to be careful because the road is made of sand like 1-foot thick. Not long after, she falls down at exact same spot as the two foreigners two days ago.*_* !! Therefore, please be extra careful when traveling to Buledi Pagoda by E-bike.

This is my friend on the left, a Korean girl from Canada.

7.10 AM, we climb back down the pagoda and will go back to the hotel for breakfast. We are going to meet again at 9 AM to go to Mani Sithu Market but before that I will take a quick nap.

9.00 AM, we ride the E-bikes to Mani Sithu Market. we can walk there actually because it is only about 200-meters far from my hotel. The market is similar to the markets in the countryside in Thailand.

It is commonly known that it is not allowed to take a photo of government officer here in Myanmar. Well, I have seen two police officers walking in the market so let's try to ask to take a photo of them. I said with a big smile, ",". It means Hi! Can I take a photo? I learned this on the flight to Myanmar. Luckily that the answer is yes. ^^

This is the photo I have got. I actually want to ask them to smile more but I am kind of afraid so the natural version looks just fine. hahaha

A visit at this market is done and we are going to travel to some more pagodas. However, I won't travel to too many places. Where I want to go today is Shwesandaw Pagoda which I have never been before.

These following photos are taken today.

3.30 PM I get separated from my friend because I have even higher fever now. I better go back and rest. On the other hand, she will stay at Shwesandaw Pagoda to watch the sunset.

This is my dinner today. The food is 1,300 MMK per dish and I have ordered 2 kinds of them with a can of Coke. This dinner costs 3,400 MMK in total.

Last but least, before going to bed I ask the hotel about the bus to go to Nyaung Shwe because I will travel to Inle Lake. I have made the reservation with JJ Express VIP. The bus will be at 8.30 AM and there will be a pickup service from the hotel at 7 AM.

7.00 AM, the car picks me up to the bus terminal. The bus costs 150 USD or 18,500 MMK. I choose to pay in local currency because it is cheaper. However, if you want to save a little more money you have a choice to go with the normal air-conditioned bus. It costs 12,000 MMK with 4 seats in a row (I choose JJ Express because it is a VIP bus with 3 seats in a row so I can pick a single seat which will be more comfortable).

Part 3 @ Inle

Notes from Backpacker

 Friday, February 26, 2016 11:21 AM