Travelling to Bagan: Expect Temples, festivals, massages, golf & more!
Everything centers around our main activity, a hot air balloon ride with Balloons Over Bagan. All extra time will be spent getting to know the countryside and visiting the ancient temples.
A lot! We had to plan for our balloon ride well in advance and make arrangements to pick up our balloon tickets and train tickets for the next day.
Leaving to Chance:
There are enough religious buildings and archaeological sites to keep a person busy for days, weeks, even months. But we are going to leave seeing the sites to chance, without an agenda to see certain temples. We aren't sure if we will see them by foot, by bike, by horse and carriage, or by car and we're happy to let things unfold as they will.
There are a lot of logistics that need to come together on a fairly tight schedule - arriving on the boat from Mandalay, finding transportation to our hotel, checking in, finding transportation to the Balloons Over Bagan office, ensuring our train reservations are sound, finding a way to pick up our train tickets..... it adds up to a long list of chores! This was a primary reason why we picked an upscale hotel with solid email access so we could communicate with them in advance and ask for their help in making arrangements.
Hmmmm..... None! Unless you count our value priced boat ride in and train ride out of town!
Splurges and Souvenirs:
Everything in Bagan is a splurge - it's the biggest splurge of our trip! From the travel experience of a lifetime riding the hot air balloons to staying in a 4 star resort to plenty of taxi rides, we are expecting this to be our most expensive 24 hours of the trip.
SOOO.... How Did It Go?
It took a while to determine what was going on but it turns out that the community was celebrating Buddha Day. Of course! The blaring Psy should have been a dead giveaway! We should have known!
We quickly snapped pictures of our entrance ticket in the unlikely event that we would lose it and were subsequently requested to present our papers. (We asked to pay the fee in Kyat, which were were able to do and we negotiated a bit on the exchange rate. There is also an option to pay 15 Euros for the pass, so I suggest you use whichever currency is more advantageous for you!)
Visiting the hotel's in house spa, we changed into the provided pajama-like garments and laid on mattresses on the floor. Our massage therapists proceeded to beat, pummel, stretch, pop, and contort our bodies- but in the best possible way! Virtually no body parts were off limit as our tender muscles and stiff joints were reduced to jelly under their expert hands and elbows.
Our lack of flexibility was a source of much amusement, with Ryan bearing the brunt of the giggles. I wasn't exactly sure the source of the joke, but I did what any loyal wife would do when her spouse is being mocked in a foreign language -I joined right in! Ryan was a good sport about it and we both slept solidly before our ultra early wake up call.
We returned back to our hotel in time to eat our second breakfast of the day (shameless!) before gearing up for some additional exploring. This time we tried our hand at a more down-to-earth form of transportation - bikes!
Little did we realize we were just hours away fromthe worst travel experience of our lives....
Previous Stop: Day 9 Mandalay
Next Stop: Day12 Yangon
Related:The BEST Travel Experience of My Life with Balloons Over Bagan
Sailing Down the Irrawaddy: Traveling from Mandalay to Bagan by Boat.
The WORST Travel Experience of my Life: The Overnight Train from Bagan to Yangon