Old Bagan was nice. It’s a bit hard to describe. Imagine a giant dusty/grassy field of about 5km by 5km (I’m just guessing for the size…) and on this field, there are thousands of old (thousands of year old) brick pagodas and temples. Some are the size of fridges, while some are 5 stories tall and as large as an apartment building. So take those two extremes and fill this field with building within this range. Put them everywhere. There are some roads, but not all buildings are roads. Think about that, and you’ve got an idea of what Old Bagan is like.
On our first day, we got bikes and with a guide (a sharp 16-year-old Burman kid), we checked out the main sites. On our second day, we rented a horse cart and saw sights that were hidden or inaccessible by bike due to bad roads. It made for two nice days, but we’re both pretty templed out.
Between these two days, we checked out Mount Popa. It’s a temple built on a rock spire shooting out of the ground. My guide-book made it sound super amazing, a praise that, while was pretty neat, it didn’t totally deserve.
We decided to go to Mandalay by boat. It’s a day trip, but at least we figured it would be smooth and it would be neat to see life by the river. We got super lucky with the boat. We were only 11 passengers (and 11 staff). I guess there is usually over 100 people on board. It was great. Mandalay is hot. Hot and humid. We’re staying on day here to check stuff out in the area. Big cities (especially the ones here) aren’t really our thing. Our next stop is a place called Hsi-Paw. It’s supposed to be a really cool place to relax and enjoy the small town Myanmar vibes (thought I figure there are many tourists now that Lonely Planet put it as a Hot Destination in their book).