Bagan, Myanmar: A town…

Bagan, Myanmar.  The land of over 2000 pagodas!

A town where street lamps made of white fluorescent tubes are nailed to nearby trees every 100 meters.  A town where tourists and locals alike take horse and carriage to near and far distances.  A town where children and dogs play on the street without fear of being squashed like frogs the night before.  A town where sidewalks, roads, trees, garbage pails, and dogs are stained blood red with betel nut spit.  A town where children ride on bikes far too old and extraordinarily too big, sometimes with siblings sharing the seat.  A town where daily trips to the market start at 4:30 in the morning and end at 7 with a basket on head full of fresh food.  A town where people travel in the back of pickup trucks, on the roof of buses, in a wagon with ox pulling, by motorbike (no helmet of course), or simply by bicycle.  A town where lacquerware is sold on every street corner, all claiming to be made from the “family shop of more than four generations!”, and of course made of the highest standards.  A town where intersections were built centuries ahead of the mass amount of anticipated traffic, and are currently used by more bicycles than anything else.  A town where a midday bicycle trip puts foreigners in the hospital for heat exhaustion (locals know better than to go out from 12 – 4pm).  A town where stepping onto a pagoda made in the 12th century is done barefoot, despite the bat poo, scorching heat, rough brick, and betel nut spit.  A town where the exchange rate is only as good as the condition of your bank notes (newer versions, unfolded, untorn, and unmarked give the best return).  A town where daily power outages occur more often than one could count on their two hands, and locals carry candles just in case.  A town where locals stare at foreigners intrigued by the hair on their legs, colour of their skin, clothes that they wear, company that they keep, and where they are from, but will always grant a smile, nod, or a friendly wave.  A town where it’s common to see families of cows meandering down unpaved, sandy roads, in search of a tasty meal.  A town where petrol can be found in old water bottles at a wooden stand, accompanied by a man sitting in a lawn chair waiting for customers.  A town which is yet to succumb to the pressures of mass tourism.  A town where clay pots of drinking water scattered along the street are shared by all locals passing by, cup and all.  A town where barefooted monks can be seen parading in the rising sun to collect money from locals at the market.  A town where children fish naked in the nearby stream with nothing but a monk’s robe to make a catch.  A town where men, women and children wear longyi each day, and use thanakha as a sunscreen and makeup.  A town where phone calls are made from a wooden desk on the side of the street.  A town where cell phones are yet to exist, and the speed of Internet resembles that of 1995.  A town that welcomes foreigners with open arms, and is proud to share the thousands of ancient pagodas it’s so famously known for.  Bagan, Myanmar.


Katherine & Thomas

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Categories: Myanmar, Travel Tales

Author:Thomas & Katherine

A love for travel, adventure, and photography. We just can't help but write about it!

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