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Discovering Bagan in Myanmar
Posted On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 by Heritage
Before setting foot in Bagan, my impressions of the ancient capital were quite vague: I imagined a pious Buddhist people and a fine natural landscape with a variety of ancient pagodas. However, I wasn’t prepared for how remarkable this place truly was, its exotic culture still resonant, its mysterious temples and pagodas filling me with a sense of wonder and introspection.

Over the course of its historical ebbs and tides, this once golden land is quickly becoming a major tourist attraction. Pagodas such as Ananda, Thatbyinnyu or Shwezigon are colossal and radiant under the broiling sun of Bagan, shining with their abandoned glory. The Bagan Archeological Zone is divided into three main regions: Old Bagan, Nyaung U and New Bagan. The local population was relocated to New Bagan, five kilometers away from the ancient village, in 1998 by the government of Myanmar. In the center is Nyaung U Town with scattered restaurants and hotels around a robust marketplace.
Spectacular sunrise balloon in Bagan Myanmar tour from Vietnam
Spectacular sunrise Balloons Over Bagan

The best way to take in the stunning vista of Bagan is with a sunrise hot air balloon ride with a company called Balloons Over Bagan. My adventure began at 4:30 in the morning with a hotel pickup, the sky still drenched in a mildly cold mist. Before entering the balloon, I was given careful instructions about the one-hour journey. As we lifted off the ground, all of Bagan was draped in the fresh dawn; seen from high above; Bagan resembled a pure and peaceful fairytale land, its thousands of temples and pagodas lit up in the dawning sun. The vast plain sparkled with bright red brick walls in temples. Tower pagodas loomed behind lush trees, giving me a feeling that I was being watched over by the ancient deities.
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