Myanmar and the Ancient Temples of Bagan. There is no other place throughout all of south east Asia that stole my breath away quite the same.
Two hours before sunrise, in the quiet darkness of the early morn, we set out on electric motorbikes through cold sandy terrain with the promise of adventure in our hearts.
Hazy outlines of the temples emerged as we entered Old Bagan, their decadent rooftops just about visible against the night’s sky.
Myanmar. The hot heavy atmosphere of yesterday seemed to have sunk into the sand as we pierced through the fresh morning air with scarves wrapped twice around our faces.
My mind seemed to have emptied itself, ready to be filled with wonder, while my heart pumped heavy in my chest, completely full.
After an hour of journeying into the unknown, slipping and sliding in the sand, we came across a temple more magnificent than the rest.
Its brickwork began to present itself as we drew closer on foot and the sun prepared to rise.
An angry guard dog made itself known, growling and baring its fangs as we entered the sacred courtyard.
But we were spared by the groundsman who knew just how to calm the hairy gatekeeper.
“Sunrise” we said, and the bald headed gentleman raised a finger towards a hole in the wall.
We slipped through the archway and into the temple, with hand over brow as we tried not to disturb the bat colony hanging above our heads.
The staircase leading up to the roof was narrow and crumbling as we struggled to find our feet in the dark. But after a twist and a turn, the morning light began streaming in from the top of the turret.
Exiting onto a flat terrace, I stood in silence towards the horizon. I scrambled onto the brickwork and perched on top of a pillar to consume the sunrise in all its entirety.
All of the atmosphere, all of this ancient land, just for me.
If you are dreaming of a trip to Myanmar to visit the ancient temples of Bagan, I would recommend staying as close to the temple zone as possible.
We chose a simple guesthouse in Old Bagan, just two miles away, with bicycle and E-bike hire for independent exploring.
Navigate through the sands, visit traditional villages and get lost amid some 2,200 temples spread out across the flat desert plains.
Planning your trip to Myanmar? Get in touch!
I’d love to share travel tips and hear about your own adventures.
Be kind and stay safe,