Temples, touts and cycling - Day 2
Bagan Travel Blog› entry 246 of 658 › view all entries
January 20th, 2008 – by: Deats
Sunday morning was spent sat on the rooftop, enjoying our excellent breakfast of Fried eggs on toast with a mixture of fruits, tea and coffee. It was a great start to the day and gave us the energy to go around to the bike shop and arrange our trusty transport for the next 3 days! It was decided that Day 2 would be spent exploring the key temples in and around Old Bagan and we had a rough list of what we would really like to see. Our first stop was at the modern golden stupa of Shwe Zigon Zedi, where before we had even managed to put our bike stands up, we were accosted by 3 women trying to sell us things.
Continuing our journey it was becoming plain to see that there were a great deal of impressive temples scattered along the road side, which don't even get a mention in any books.
I wont bore you with too many individual temple details, other than to say that we went to Temple 2101, Tha kya Bon, Shwe Leik Too, the impressive 3 storey 150 feet high Htilominlo Guphaya-gyi, which was built in 1218AD, Upali Thein and Chatu Mukha, before breaking for a spot of lunch and to get into some shade from the baking sun. It was funny to see the restaurant filled with locals watching a soap opera on TV and then the second it finished, the place emptied and we were about the only ones left! Refuelled and once again ready to go, we ventured onwards to Shwe Gu-gyi, which was built in 1131AD, That Byinnyu Paya, Nat Hlaung Kyaung Paya, which is the only Hindu Temple left in Bagan and unnamed Temple 1602.
At Mimaluang Kyaung there are 2 Chinthe lions guarding the entrance and we also met a monk on his annual pilgrimage to Bagan, who was supposedly there to meditate. It seemed mighty strange that he would choose a Temple recommended in Lonely Planet, which received a steady flow of visitors, as his chosen place to meditate! It seemed even more coincidental that the monk was like so many others in Myanmar and had a treasured collection of foreign banknotes. What was more surprising was that just like all the others, he had never seen Euros or Pounds and also had no dollars in his collection and would be ever so greatful if we could donate any of these notes to his collection. I never carry Pounds around with me, so genuinely couldn't give him any if i'd have wanted to, but what makes me laugh with these people is that all the worthwhile coins that they have like the 1 pound (which they have obviously been given, to add to their collection), they ask if you will exchange them for kyat! The cheek of it!
Heading on to Gaw Daw Palin Paya across the road, Julia decided that she needed to use the toilet.
Our afternoon was finished visiting Myat Taw Pyay Paya, A Twin Si Gon Paya, Bupaya, Mahabodhi Temple, which was built in 1215AD and climbs 140 feet and is adorned with 465 images of Buddha, Ananda Pahto with its glorious golden sikhara top and gilded spires, which was built in 1105AD and finally we took in the sunset at Buledhi. After been literally followed from temple to temple by touts on motorbikes trying to sell us paintings and 'precious' gems and artefacts, it was frustrating that when we reached the top of Buledhi, a tout had already laid out an array of his paintings covering the viewing area, where people wanted to sit and watch the sunset.
Having spent the day cycling around and been approached by what seemed like a never ending stream of people trying to sell us things, we arrived back at the hotel to find the horse and cart man from the previous day waiting to try and get us to book a trip with him for the following day! As if the taxis that had pulled up besides us offering us a similar service on our way back hadn't been enough, we couldn't even get away from it back at our hotel. I gritted my teeth, politely smiled and informed him that our bikes were more than adequate, thank you!
Having showered and changed we headed down to Cheriland 1 for another fantastic Dinner and enjoyed relaxing amongst the locals who were no different from us and just wanted to sit with some food and drink and see the night pass them by.
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