Temples, temples, temples. If you don’t like ‘em, you probably shouldn’t go to Bagan. We thought we were done with our temple sightseeing duties, having toured the beautiful wats in Laos and Thailand and the payas in other parts of Myanmar, but since temples are the thing there and we did have a whole week, we said, Sure, why not? If anything, the temples were all accessible by bicycle, and we were sorely in need of a workout.
As we found out, these temples are nothing like the filigree-encrusted wats in Laos or the gilded payas in Yangon and Mawlamyine; Bagan’s temples are ancient wonders built of brick with faded paintings and crumbling Buddha statues found within.
That said, many of the temples have fallen victim to war and natural disasters and have since been reconstructed. Unfortunately, the rebuilt temples aren’t much of a reflection of the temples as they once were. After walls and towers came toppling down, architects took some creative license in the reformation, paying little attention to historical accuracy. The result is more than a handful of temples that lack much resemblance to their original forms.
We spent a couple absurdly hot days riding around. Take a look:
We gave in to tourist temptation and signed up for a sunset boat ride. We got a beautiful view of the temple-strewn landscape and a front-row seat to a developing thunderstrom. I’m telling you: We always get rain during the most important moments!