We woke up at 04.30 am to meet our friends for the sunrise boat tour of Bagan. Two girls we had met told us how they were picked up form there hostel by horse and cart and escorted to the docks. They’d paid an extra $10 for this service. Our tour was a lot cheaper, 15,000 Kyats for four of us. All we got was the captain of the boat to walk us from the hotel down to the docks. About a 15 minute walk at best.
The boat didn’t go to far, only about 30 minutes upstream where we waited for the sum to appear. As we were there during the hottest months the visibility in the sky was very low and the dust makes the sunrise incredibly high. We spent about 30 minutes on the boat relaxing whilst the sun came up before we moved on.
The first stop was Gubyaukgyi Temple, built of small clay bricks with the usual oversized Buddha inside. But the best part is the caves that run behind the Buddha. Very much like a small but sturdier version of the Vinh Moc tunnels in Vietnam just on a much smaller scale. Whilst we were inside the caves we had a chat about people panicking in tunnels. Then all of a sudden all the lights go out. It was perfectly timed and gave everyone a fright. About 5 seconds later all the lights where back on and everyone left pretty quickly.
Out side of Gubyaukgyi Temple
The Tunnels inside of Gubyaukgyi Temple
Afterwards we headed back a bit further down the river to one more temple. This was one of my favourites in Bagan. It was located in a small monastery with a very relaxed feel to it. Inside the Pagoda was a narrow set of stairs leading up on to the roof. It was such a fantastic place, we were the only tourists there and had incredible views from the top. Once we’d all spent some time taking panoramic photos we headed back to grab a few more hours sleep. I was still using my cheap SD cards at this point and the majority of my photos are corrupt so I am unable to show you how impressive it was.
We woke up about 11:30 just before our check out time and had planned to reattempt cycling to Bagan. This time we decided to rent an electric bike as the temperature was already in the high 30s. We rented the bike from the woman who has a shop next door to View Point Inn named Golden Star.
You can rent the bikes all over town. The offer for us was 2 bikes for 10,000 Kyats or 1 for 7000 Kyats. We decided we’d share one and save some money. They are super easy to use, very much like weak scooters. We didn’t really have a plan to as what we wanted to see there. We just made the day up as we went along.
These puppets are sold at most of the major temples.
The first 4 hours flew by and before we knew it we had to make a decision to as where we should go for sunset. We decided we’d go to “The Sunset Templ” aka Shwesandaw Temple. Admittedly the view is great from here but the down side is its completely packed. As we arrived to Shwesandaw Temple a small boy on a bike asked us for our Bagan tickets which we didn’t have. We headed off saying that we were going somewhere else and just went around the back.
We ended up leaving with about 15 minutes of Sunset left to head for another more peaceful temple. Gawdawpalin Temple just south of Shwesandaw, still with a picture perfect view and nobody else there it was a much better place to be.
Here is a great post 5 secret places in Bagan to Avoid the Crowds from mywanderlist.com
We spent another hour going around different Pagoda’s once the sun had set. I spent a while just sat taking in the view. A couple of the golden pagodas get lit up and create a spectacular view.