Bagan: A Collaborative Post
Words by Anna Aclan
Travelling to Myanmar particularly to Yangon (former Rangoon) and Bagan has exceeded my expectations regarding this trip. Though pictures look magnificent in the Internet, being there and being integrated in their community added more beauty and significance to it. From Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, to Bagan, we fell in love with the intricacies in their culture that are still left untouched like applying Thanaka on their faces to protect their skin from the sometimes unbearable heat of the sun and wearing Longyi as their everyday outfit. The people are genuinely friendly even if communication was a struggle. Aside from these, the journey that we took to explore temples, pagodas, and stupas made us appreciate their religion as well as the rich history behind each one. Each temple tells a different story, stories that we somehow learned through the beautiful statues and intricate wall carvings both inside and outside.
This trip was also physically exhausting yet it’s also one of the best that we’ve ever done. Witnessing the sunrise, together with the surreal movement of the hot air balloons as they fly over the temples, was worth the 8-hr bus ride from Yangon to Bangan. It felt unreal at first until it hit us that after almost a year of planning, we were really there. All the muscle pain, sunburn, bruises, and scrapes from riding an e-bike so that we can explore as many temples and stupas as possible became insignificant as we reminisce how overwhelmed we were with the beauty of Bagan.
But more than anything else, this trip became a celebration of friendship. A friendship that we have been sharing for more than a decade now and there’s no better way to celebrate such a bond but to visit Myanmar together. I would have to agree with Miguel when he wrote that this is the most memorable travel experience that he has so far. It’s also mine but more than memorable, it’s also the most enlightening trip I’ve ever had. My heart and soul are full of gratitude and appreciation not only to the place but also to the people who I’m blessed with.
So if you want to explore places that some people still call “the road less travelled”, then there’s no better time to explore Myanmar but now when travelers can still experience the unadulterated Myanmar culture.