After Yangon and Inle Lake, the next major destination was Bagan in the central region of Myanmar. After another long night bus and pre-dawn arrival, the same procedure was repeated; taxi from the bus station with eyes not yet open, to the first hotel we could find for a few extra hours of (horizontal) sleep. Upon awakening and realizing the room wasn’t actually very nice or clean, we checked out and found a more comfortable abode just down the street. Anyway, now to the reason we came here. Bagan is quite a serene corner of the Earth, with hundreds of Buddhist pagodas, temples, stupas, or as their known, payas, spread over a decently sized area, most dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Let’s go have a look!
From the top of a temple very popular with the tourist crowd for sunsets, however this day didn’t prove to be too amazing, but not too bad either.
After just an hour or so of shooting temples, which were beautiful, but I was getting a little bored, I tried to get a bit more creative than just shooting the typical landscapes of the temples…
A popular way to visit the area is by horse cart. Though it seemed sort of cool, yet slow, we opted instead for powered bicycles, which moved just slightly faster than the horses I think, but allowed much more freedom to move about.
I’d say it’s pretty impossible to photograph in Myanmar and not get into a bit of monkery, sometimes also lovingly referred to as ‘monk porn‘ in the photo community. While there were some scenes that I wish some robe-cladden (yes, I just made up a few words here) devotees would have walked through, in the end, I got my fix in a monastery I found near one of the big temples. These kids were actually fairly evasive and adverse to being photographed, as I guess they’ve been bothered by countless tourists, but I hung in there a bit, waiting for them to forget about me, and eventually got a few frames I was happy with.
Continuing to explore, we followed a dirt path which led us to another monastery, but with no evident action or people to photograph, I wondered on past it and ended up at the river’s edge, where I found these guys loading bamboo logs that had arrived by river.
I saw this place in a few postcards, and after some asking around, I figured out it was called Shwezigon and where it was. The next problem was, there wasn’t anyone there! I knew I had to have some humanity in the frame, so after hanging out for an hour or so, I eventually got my wish. Here, students pass through the long pillared hallway on their way to school.
We passed by a farmer waiting at the roadside for his cows to have their lunch. I thought he looked interesting, so we stopped the bikes to chat with him for a bit.
After photographing the sunset one day and heading back at dusk, I saw this temple’s lights come on, and thought it made a nice contrast against the darkening sky.
And finally, another of the views around Bagan, but in monochrome, because well, I wanted to!