Bagan

Bagan must be ancient Burmese for “dust bowl”. It has to be. You are constantly dirty in this place, but it is worth it.

This is a place that time has forgotten. It is also exactly like the photos you’ve seen in travel brochures and on Google searches. The bumpy roads wound through the plains and ancient temples zipped past us as we headed toward Nyang U.

On our first day, we hired a horse and cart and climbed an ancient stupa to see the sunset. A truly unique experience.

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You are besieged by children everywhere you go. Sometimes you don’t have a chance to get out of the car or cart before they are waving their postcards, fans, paintings and beers in your face. They are quick witted and funny, but they are also fierce bargainers. Children also hang out in temples and follow you around, asking a thousand questions about where you are from, where you’re going after Bagan and whether you like Myanmar. The conversations are always amusing, but the twist at the end is being cajoled into closely inspecting wares at certain stalls outside the temples. Harmless, but a bit of an annoyance after a while.

I bought a few bits and pieces from stalls like these because I was very conscious of spending my money in a lot of places, and because the children and young girls who had followed me through the temples were actually terrific little guides! It always pays to have a smile on your face and at least say hello, you never know what you could learn from it!

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