Bagan is South East Asia most important tourist site in the same league as Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Bagan is divided between New Bagan called Nyaungu and Old Bagan. In Nyangungu one can find all the services of a town, police station, hospital, market, restaurants and the cheaper accommodations. This is the arriving point for the buses from other cities. Old Bagan is in a bend of Ayeyarwaddy River several kilometers southeast of Nyaungu. In this part of Bagan are all the better hotels with higher standards since it is closer to all the old famous Padogas and temples of Bagan. I arrived in the middle of the night in NyaungU so I stayed overnight at In Wa Guest house. They offered a nice room with air-condition, toilet, shower and beddings for 5 US$ (2007). This was dirt cheap compared to our guest houses charging 20US$ for the same standard.
Unfortunately it’s a very long way to Old Bagan so you will need a bicycle, a trishaw man or a horse with a cart to visit the Temples and Padogas. I decided to move nearer Old Bagan to the Golden Express hotel in WetKyiinn Village. This hotel is all most in the middle of Nyaungu and Old Bagan road one still needs a bicycle to go to the temples and padogas of old Bagan.
The advantage is that the famous Shwe See Gone Padoga and Hitilo Minlo temple is within easy walking distance from the hotel. There are good restaurants in the vicinity and probably one of the best Lacquer ware shops in the country. The Golden Express hotel has far higher standard than the guest house in Nyaungu. There was swinging pool, TV in the rooms, bicycle rental services just to mention a few amenities.
There are so many Padagas and temples in Bagan that it will keep you busy for several months if you intend to see them all. However don´t miss to see the most important ones. The fabulous Ananda temple is a must see the same goes for Shwe See Gone padoga. The Ananda temple is Myanmar’s holiest and most important temple. The interior is amazing with their golden and silver Buddha statues.
Shwe See Gone padoga is more modern it’s all about monks and their tradition also the people living around this area. To see Shwe See Gone padoga at its very best timing is very important. You need to come when the monks are there in the morning.
Rent a bicycle and pick out four to five of most important temples and Padagas in Old Bagan and visit them. Finish with a view of the sun set from the roof of one of them. Choose one with a good view of the Ananda Temple at sun set towards Ayeyarwaddy River.
Even if you are not thinking about buying Lacquer ware I recommend you to visit the Lacquer ware shop and see how they produce these fantastic pieces. It takes six month to produce bowl or dish. It is twelve layer of lacquer on each side of the dish. Each layer of lacquer takes one week to dry. The Lacquer ware shop is on the left hand side of the road after the Shwe See Gone padoga if you are coming from Nyaungu.
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