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ruthdelacruz | Travel and Lifestyle Blog

The internet knew her as @ruthilicious. Ruth dela Cruz is a lifestyle blogger from Manila, Philippines. She loves writing about her travels. Drop her a note at admin@ruthdelacruz.com.

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September 29, 2017

Myanmar Day 2: Bagan Temples + Going Around Bagan When You Don't Know How to Ride a Bike

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog

Myanmar Day 2: Temples of Bagan + Going Around Bagan When You Don't Know How to Ride a Bike

As soon as we settled in WeStay Lotus Bagan, we headed to the Downtown Bagan to start exploring the temples. 

It is another temple run story (my first was is in Siem Reap - which I have to write about soonest!!!); and this Bagan story is a different adventure.



Check out our photos #RuNagon

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
what causes traffic in Bagan

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
the everyday life


The best thing about WeStay Lotus Bagan is that they offer free shuttle service from the hotel to Downtown Bagan. The hotel staff offered  to take us to the eBike Rental Place and there we met Mr. Zaw. 

bagan bike rental

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
we got free bottled water packaged with our tour

Ana and I both don't know how to ride a bike - but I was thinking that out of need, we could learn how to ride an eBike (it looks easy anyway). I was dead wrong. I would have died if we even tried. Zaw first showed us how to ride and navigate the eBike. I tried my hands on it and out of panic I got in to the other lane. Zaw then concluded, it is impossible. 

Bagan ebike rental


Truly, biking is a life skill. He sat us down and offered to take us around through his mini-truck for Php1,000! Ana and I agreed with no hesitation. He sounded like a genie - and genie took us to a "magic carpet ride". Tadah!!!


Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
This cute basket bag would appear like a watermark on my posts :D 
One of the things I learned about myself during this trip, I can live with only a small bag and with only the "real essentials". :D 


Photo grabbed from @anagon

Ana and I were both excited to explore. We felt like Madams in Bagan. She mentioned in her blog that somehow, we were destined together to explore the city together. I know believe in destiny. Haha

Here's our Bagan Temple Tour Itinerary

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Note: we got to go around and enter temples without a ticket - until we visited the Shwesandaw Pagoda (Sunset Viewing Deck), where they asked us to buy Bagan archaeological entrance fee (25,000 kyats). I thought it was a scam (?!) But the following day, when we were entering another sunset viewing deck, they asked for that ticket. I am not sure if that is a scam or what. Unlike in Siem Reap where they ask for the ticket in every temple that we visited. 


1.  Shwe Zi Gone Pagoda

This majestic place is surrounded by temples and pagodas which was completed in 1102 AD. We were asked to buy offerings at the entrance which they say is "required". All temples required us to leave our shoes at the main entrance and have us walk barefoot. I personally feel uneasy doing it but I happily obliged as a form of respect. 

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog


I wore a gladiator shoes in shocking red (not the most practical pair to wear) but I was thinking I could dispose it after the trip. The locals seem to love our colorful ensembles and dangling tassel earrings. We felt so bright in the tone of blue skies and golden pagodas. 


Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
myanmar bagan temple outfit
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
myanmar bagan temple outfit

On this first stop, Ana learned her lesson. It seems that locals would try to trick you in giving offerings and allowing you inside the caved temples (for good luck and blessing) - and then would charge you for these little things. I was more of disappointed with how they trick the tourists. I tried to be a sport but I cannot bow to every statue and these scams. I just have to say that so you guys would learn from the little mistakes and misunderstanding that we experienced. 

To counter this, just say No and proceed. Take beautiful photos and explore. We marveled at the different colors, textures and designs of the pagodas. 

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Bagan Temple Fashion
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Bagan Temple Fashion
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog


2 Gubyaukgyi


The Gubyaukgyi Temple houses beautiful paintings on the walls with well-preserved frescoes on its interior walls, the oldest original paintings to be found in Bagan. Unfortunately, taking photo is not allowed inside. But we marveled at the intricate paintings on the walls (some of which were already stolen). We were thinking, this is how Instagram Feed feels like in the older days. 

Gubyaukgyi
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Bagan Temple Fashion


3 Htilominlo Temple

Htilominlo Temple is three stories tall, with a height of 46 metres (151 ft), and built with red brick. This is where we first encountered 4 Buddhas facing the 4 directions - East, West, South and North. As we later explored the other temples, we noticed that it is how temples are usually made - with Buddhas serving like guards in each direction. 

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Temple Fashion
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Temple Fashion
Temple Fashion


4 Khay Min Ga | Leaning Tower of Bagan

This is one of my favorite spots in Myanmar and probably one of the most visited places in Bagan. Here we are, adding more Bagan photos to Google Search Results!

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Temple Fashion
Temple OOTD:
Dress: Black Sheep
Bag: Shop Style Cat @shopstylecat by Yuki Tansengco
Tassel Earrings: ROYBIV


I love how we had the place all by ourselves. Golden brown temples, clear blue skies, white clouds and our colorful outfits. 

temple fashion


5) Ananda Phaya

Ananda Phaya is one of the four surviving temples in Bagan. Temple layout is in a cruciform with several terraces leading to a small pagoda but as with other temples that we have visited, the stairways are closed to the public. 

Looking at the interior of the temple, it is just all white walls and repainted buddhas (which explained why, I haven't taken much photos). But it is the people that add color to its quiet temple. 

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
temple fashion


6) Thatbyinnyu Phaya

Thatbyinnyu Phaya looks like an old university from afar and is adjacent to Ananda Temple. Thatbyinnyu Temple is shaped like a cross, but is not symmetrical. Outside, you can buy souvenir items like basket bags, skirts and other local stuff.. There are also vendors outside selling postcard sets. This time around, we were firm to say NO. I personally don't need postcards - and I have my camera to take care of my memories. 

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
We saw cacti outside and we had to take a photo. 
Hair Color: DIY Liese 



7) Dhammayangyi Temple


As soon as I stepped foot in Dhammayangyi, I know this temple is special. Okay, I felt like an archaeologist upon typing that. But seriously, it is the stone flooring, the brick walls and high ceiling with flying bats and birds that caught me. 



Ana and I were exploring on our own when a man approached us and lead us to the right way. He then started sharing stories about the temples -  how some walkways were closed where Buddhas are kept inside. 

He also showed us original bricks which have no spaces in them and knocked on walls which sound hollow (because some researchers dug them to confirm that there are really Buddha statue inside).  

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
I love the stone flooring

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Original bricks

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Where you can only find the leaning Buddha
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
The king would punish those who did not perform the job as expected

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
LIT!

Ana and I enjoyed the tour and got to appreciate the temple even more. After we have visited the 4 walls of the temple, he asked us if we have the time to look at his artwork. He seemed very nice, polite and not pushy. Having a soft spot for artists, we sat down and marveled at his work. 

He unrolled the parchment which he has been carrying the whole tour. He said he made them using sand and his work are very unique. We find it hard to choose as each painting has a nice story and detail - mostly about Buddha's life.

Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog

Ana and I bought one each costing around 20,000 to 30,000 kyats (roughly Php 700). I even asked him to sign my purchase and of course, photo opp!


Ana and I were so happy with our purchase. On to our next temple, we saw almost the same paintings (!!!!) but not the same designs. We refused to think that we were scammed. I searched the internet and there were mentions of locals selling paintings. I hate to think that we were scammed - especially that Sam Lwin is so nice and kind. So up until this blog is published, I am thinking I got a work of an artist from Bagan, Myanmar. :)


Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
I forgot which temple was this taken :D 


8 Shwesandaw Pagoda (Sunset Viewing Deck)


The best way to end the Temple Tour of Bagan is by catching the sunset. This means climbing up a temple. Everytime  I am faced with such challenge, I always just think that I survived the Great Wall of China. :p

The best way to see the Bagan Temples is through Hot AIr Balloon (which unfortunately opens after Rainy Season - October). We originally planned to take it but the flights that we had needed to be booked by September.

bagan Sunset Blog
bagan Sunset Blog
bagan Sunset Blog

As expected, there were many tourists who were also waiting for the sunset. It was a challenge to get the best spot for photos. We saw Korean friends who brought a balloon with them and taking risky shots (such brave souls!). 

The most artsy shot we can think of!
Ana and I took turns in taking photos. Thank you girl for well documenting the travel :) 


It was a bit cloudy and started drizzling. It was not the best sunset but the view is just as majestic. It is like Chocolate Hills of Bohol except that we were seeing spikes and temples. 


Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
Myanmar Itinerary Day 2: Temples of Bagan Travel Blog
After a long day, I couldn't wait to go back to the hotel, take a long hot bath and retire to a nice bed (not airport couch and night bus this time) .