2 Days Away from the Bagan Temples
2 Days Away from the
An active biking break from temple and pagoda galore into Bagan’s rural landscape
WHY THIS TOUR?
The opulence of Bagan as a former empirical powerhouse still ebbs across the plains. With over 2000 temples, pagodas and stupas etched in the history books, there are little words to describe, without the excessive use of superlatives to come even close to the real deal, to get a sense of the region. Bagan attracts visitors from before sunrise to sunset with its stone-slabbed religious sites which are still actively used as a source for solace and reaffirmation of faith. Further away, a new world opens up – a world filled with authenticity, a sense of adventure and void of the main attraction of one of Myanmar’s largest tourism magnet.
It is a day of biking through the vastness of agricultural lands, dotted with small villages for a view in how little life has changed for decades and one day doing this in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle. Slated to bring out the best of Bagan from a non-temple point of view, this is a must-do tour option when authenticity scores top marks on your bucket list.
Bagan – Countryside – Bagan [L]
An early morning departure from your Bagan hotel starts by meeting your bicycle guide for the coming 2 days. He will assist you in setting your saddle and steering wheel at the correct height before your pedalling adventure commences. Depending on the location of your accommodation versus the Nyaung Oo boat jetty, the first kilometres are recognisable views with examples of the expansive Bagan plains passing by in a leisurely tempo. From the jetty, we cross the Irrawaddy River to the Tha Phan Pin where we unload our bicycles and start touring into a whole new world. We end this first part at Htan Taw Chauk, famous for its basket weaving industry. Local villagers use strips from sugar palm branches to weave household goods and farming items of any kind. Through and along plantations, fields and farms, we continue our journey through this lesser-known part of Bagan. Depending on the season, stops will be made to watch farmers tending their grounds to grow eggplant, corn, peanuts, sesame and more.
Our weaving stops are not completed when skipping Thazin Village, known for using cane to make all kinds of daily household goods for the domestic market. Before knocking on the door of a farm house for a locally prepared lunch, admiring the skilful hands of the cotton weavers at I Shay village completes the morning. Around this time, you have biked for approximately 25 kilometres through rural Myanmar.
A simple local lunch is served at a farm house
With lunch completed, we continue our biking trip towards I Gyi village. A community that specialises in growing Acacia Intsia (Sue Pote in Myanmar Language), egg plants and okra, the sheer pleasure of seeing these hospitable people at work as your guide explains how the local produce turns from seed to dinner plate will enrich your experience. We make our final trip of the day back to the shores of the Irrawaddy and cross back into familiar Bagan territory from the Let Pan Chaung Jetty. The final pedalling kilometres are reserved for heading back to your resort in either Old or New Bagan. In total, your wheels have traversed through the landscape around Bagan for around 45 kilometres.
Dinner is on own arrangement.
Overnight at your hotel in Bagan
Bagan – Countryside – Bagan [L]
Staying today on the Bagan side of the Irrawaddy, your guide and an air-conditioned vehicle are at your disposal to venture away from the Bagan temples and get a taste of an extraordinary local experience. For the first 30 minutes of this day, the landscape and route we’re taking heads straight to Ahtet Nyint, one of the few villages growing the well-known betel vine. Betel chewing has still maintained its popularity amongst all layers of Burmese society and continues to use the seeds for chewing…with red-tainted teeth as a clearly visible result.
Back to the west bank of the Irrawaddy via a bridge and off to Kandaw (a good 40 minutes’ drive). This town has been the centre for old car tires and recycling every little shred of rubber has become an art form for the families that work with this material. From buckets to slippers, these rubber masters are able to create anything with leaving hardly any waste material. The exploration of the western side of the Irrawaddy continues and brings you to Ohntaw, known for making broom sticks by using sticks from coconut palm leaves. Finally, as our last stop of the day, we head over to Pakokku for a local lunch and meet the people who have been making local cigars for generations.
Lunch included at a local restaurant in Pakokku
The final leg of this 2 day journeys is heading back to your resort in Bagan where you will say goodbye to your guide and thank him for showing you that there is more than temples and pagodas when exploring Bagan.
YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE THESE
The opulence of Bagan as a former empirical powerhouse still ebbs across the plains. With over 2000 temples, pagodas and stupas etched in the history books, there are little words to describe, without the excessive use of superlatives to come even close to the real deal, to get a sense of the region.