Bagan to Chiang Mai

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Our second to last night in Burma found us back on an overnight bus. This one did not breakdown. We almost wish it had. We arrived in Yangon at the too early/too late hour of 4am. When our previous bus broke down we arrived at a far more reasonable hour. After the most frightening taxi ride either of us had ever experienced we arrived at our hostel, where not surprisingly, our room would not be ready. We were allowed to sleep in the dorm though, and felt lucky to have found a bed in general. It was the beginning to our trip to Chiang Mai. Though Bagan is actually much closer to Chiang Mai we would have to back track through Bangkok given the uncertainty of land borders.

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Bicycle Touring Bagan

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It may be a sweltering 42 degrees outside, a temperature hot enough I can’t quite even conceive it, but there’s really no better way to see Began than by bike. And so, after breakfast we rented a pair and set out through the sand and patched pavement towards the temples. I had imagined the temples to be a sight in which you drove from a city to view. Instead, they are littered everywhere throughout the city (or really, town). Even from the roof top of our hotel you can see small, red stucco buildings popping up all around. During the 11th and 12th century Began’s king went on something of a building frenzy, commissioning around 4000 buildings. Though not all remain today, it is none the less an incredibly impressive sight. This morning, before the heat of the day would require us to retire to the air conditioned comfort of our hotel room, we biked through Old Bagan to see the highlights. Pictures below. Continue reading

The Bus to Bagan

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To save on outrageous airfare, and an extra night of accommodations we opted to take the night bus to Bagan. It would leave at 6:00pm (real time: 6:30) and arrive around 5am the next day. One slightly uncomfortable night sleep in exchange for saving a few hundred dollars seemed perfectly reasonable. The bus was actually pretty nice, too. Continue reading

Arrival: Yangon

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Apparently, this is Burma. I hadn’t known what to expect, but this certainly wasn’t it. As our bus shuttles us from the airport to our guesthouse a light monsoon rain whips across the windows and seeps into the cracks between the windows. It’s dark, so I mostly see headlights streaming by and hear the familiar cacophony of a city at night. I have to admit, it felt immediately more developed than I had expected. It feels like what Bangkok must have been like a decades ago, a bustling city, but devoid of high rises, efficient mass transit, and ubiquitous 7-11s. It is difficult to describe, but truly, it feels much like stepping back in time. Continue reading