In Love with Bagan
I think I fell in love with Myanmar’s ancient city Bagan the second the pre-dawn light started appearing on my first day. I’d gotten off the night bus from Yangon at 5am, and caught a taxi straight to the Shwe San Daw Pagoda in the dark with a fellow traveller. It was very cold, enough for several layers (a surprise from the heat of previous days). We clambered barefoot up the very steep, very large steps of the ancient pagoda to the 3rd level and found a spot on the wall. We were there early and soon our level filled up, and some more filled the 2nd level. It didn’t feel cramped though, compared to Angkor Wat I guess, and we all had a spot to easily see the sunrise that was to come.
The pre-dawn light started changing, and with it the silhouettes of so many pagodas appeared. As the sun eventually rose from behind one of the larger pagoda’s, the whole valley came alive uncovering hundreds of pagodas amoungst the trees and mist. Such beauty I have never before seen. Unlike the grandeur of Angkor Wat, the pagoda’s here are smaller, and nestled amoungst trees. They poke their stupas out above the treeline.
The fog that was hugging the ground began to shift as the sun rose, moving across the front of the large pagoda like an eerie movie. The hot air balloons, for which Bagan is so famous, began to rise and move across the sky above the pagodas. Everyone was speechless. No photo taken was showing the real sense of it, but we all desperately tried, until in resignation, we just put our cameras down. This place had a magic about it that is rarely found. I could have stayed in this spot forever.