Bagan is considerably smaller than Mandalay and considerably more touristy. Most people spend only 2-3 days here, as the only thing to do is visit temples and pagodas and it is a hot and dusty part of Myanmar. (Actually, you can also take a day trip to Mount Popa and climb 700+ monkey poo covered stairs in your bare feet. So, like I said, really the only thing to do is visit the temples and pagodas….)
Robert and I booked 6 days in Bagan – far longer than most tourists, but we decided it was going to be a place for us to really relax. And it started out that way. Our hotel had a beautiful pool area, so we spent our first full day relaxing at the pool. Both of us want to read quite a few books on this trip, and that is exactly what we did. (No, neither of us is reading anything serious. Robert is currently reading Songs of Ice and Fire and I finished off The Selection series while in Bagan). Before we knew it the day was over.
The next day was a pagoda day. There are several ways to get around and see the pagodas. You can walk, ride a bike, rent a horse drawn carriage, go up in a hot air balloon (Robert saw one place quoting $350/person — ouch!), or rent an e bike. Given the heat, we chose the e bike (basically, a battery operated bike that maybe goes up to 8 mph or so). The first day touring pagodas was quite fun. Believe it or not, there are about 2200 temples/pagodas in Bagan that can be visited. They come in numerous shapes, colors and designs. There are a handful that are heavily visited by tourists, but the vast majority are small little places where we were frequently the only visitors (well, us and the goats). We much preferred the small places, except for when we got hassled by little kids asking for money.
Back to the pool the next day, and our plans for a relaxing visit were going along swimmingly. But then it was e bike day again. Everyone who has driven with me knows that I don’t have the best reputation as a driver. But I topped myself in Bagan. I crashed. Somehow managed to hit the accelerator when I meant to hit the brake and boom – I ran right into Robert. Robert was fine, the e bikes were fine, but I was not. I am not entirely certain what my foot hit, but I sliced a corner of my big toe nearly off. After nearly passing out (twice), and after repeatedly refusing to set foot in the hospital that we were right in front of, we managed to get the e bikes back to the hotel and wash and disinfect my toe. I think it looked worse than it was and should be fine in a few days. Fair warning, this is ugly, but Robert made me post it. He has also banned me from driving!
A pizza and a bottle of Myanmar wine (surprisingly, not that bad) for dinner that night made the recovery nearly complete.