I’ve been wanting to visit Myanmar after seeing Bagan photos from a fellow traveller friend I met in Banaue, Ifugao last year (hello Simon, enjoy Siargao!). Booked the flights a day before my departure because #spurofthemoment and sige na nga, #maypinagdaanan. Armed with a backpack good for 5-day clothing and a selfie stick, I conquered Myanmar alone. Coming from Malaysia is a lot cheaper than from PH since they have direct flights to Yangon and also for Filipinos, we don’t need a visa to enter the country. Eazzzy breezzzy!
Upon landing in Yangon, one can already sense the laid-back atmosphere, Pilipinas 1980’s feel, men wearing longyi (traditional clothing in Myanmar) and women with mud-like yellow cream thanaka on their faces for cosmetic purposes. I don’t have other plans but to see the sunrise/sunset over Bagan temples (meditation??! Hehe!) so I went straight to the bus station and waited for the 10-hour overnight bus ride in time for the morning in Bagan. If you’re travelling within Myanmar, I recommend to book JJ Express bus for comfortable Lazyboy seat, clean blankets and ehem, designated electric socket. You can also buy cheap simcards for fast 3G connection anywhere. Surprisingly, ang bilis ng internet nila!
Struggling to reach the sunrise for ehem, morning of my 27th birthday, I hurriedly booked a taxi to Shwesandaw Pagoda, the highest point in Bagan. I was 15mins late for the actual sunrise, but I made it after climbing the 5-story pagoda. Best part of the birthday was when I had a videocall with my parents showing them the vast temples I’ve been telling them. Surreal!
I stayed in a 6-bedroom dormitory in the most popular hostel in Bagan, Ostello Bello. On the same day, I rode an e-bike for the sunset and explored the temples. The following morning, together with some of travellers I met in Ostello, we went to a different pagoda to view the sunrise then I went back to the hostel to sleep during free time and reflect on life (Gary V song pasok: “Kung wala ka ng maintidihan, kung wala ka ng makapitan…”).
Ostello Bello is the best hostel for travellers because they offer daily touristy activities in the morning and afternoon. During my stay, I joined the sunset cruise in Irrawaddy River. Spectacular view of the temples lined up on the shores of the river over sunset!
The crowd exclaimed and gaped in awe upon seeing this ball of sunshine! It’s definitely a trip of a lifetime and I won’t forget the sight of sunrise over the ancient city.