A Dream Come True, Bagan Myanmar
This is the final post of a four post series about my recent Mommy Walk About to Myanmar. A Momma Abroad's focus is on cultivating positivity while living abroad, specifically in the Philippines, however with these few posts I share more personal matters about motherhood and travels outside of the Philippines. Regular programing will resume on Monday. Kita kits!
Where do I begin? Red dirt? Scooters? Ancient temples? Hot air balloons? My gulai, it was remarkable. I felt so alive. Everything was intoxicatingly new. Bagan was the perfect taste of adventure during my recent Mommy Walk About. I read recently that when you do something new it actually creates a deeper memory in the brain because the novelty requires more work and focus. I believe memories of Bagan will be etched in my mind forever.
Hot air BALLOONS FLOAT OVER A TEMPLE DURING SUNSET IN BAGAN MYANMAR
The desert has long been one of my favorite places. Gallivanting on a scooter from temple to temple in one of my beloved landscapes will never be forgotten. Riding an e-bike (scooter) for the first time was also quite the adventure. They have much more of a ‘kick’ than anything I have used before. It took a solid few hours before I began to feel comfortable. The novelty of the experience gave new life and excitement to this Mommy on her Walk About.
Me on a e-bike (scooter) for the first time in my life
I have wanted to stay in a canvas tent for years. I am always a little bit embarrassed to say I enjoy glamping, like I am not legit enough unless I roll around in some mud. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy dirty camping but canvas tents make glamping so dreamy. When I first saw Bagan Lodge I knew it was the place for Mommy Walk About.
Nestled on red dirt and planted between hundreds of temples, Began Lodge fits its surroundings perfectly. The red brick, Indiana Jones inspired interiors and canvas roof tops were extreme eye candy and played perfectly into the overall 'feel' of Bagan. The amenities at Bagan Lodge were pristine and equally as charming. Our breakfast was also wonderful, the best part being their delicious cheese and nuts. When I ordered a hot chocolate at breakfast the waiter had me rolling when he said, “You want the drink of a child?” Ha, yes, I do. I have no children and I am going to drink whatever I want, even if it’s hot chocolate.
RUSTIC BOHEM AT ITS FINEST
Bagan is an ancient city nestled in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. I imagine a birds eye view would reveal the 2,000+ temples scattered across the area like sprinkles on a pastry. Everywhere you turn there is a temple, pagoda or monastery. The temples of Bagan were brilliant and inspiring. An assortment of the temples have been updated while others still have original 1,000 year old details. The solitude and regal beauty found in the temples of Bagan is unprecedent.
BUDDHAS ARE PLENTIFUL IN ANY buddhist STRUCTURE of MYANMAR. This particular buddga, bhudda kasapa of the Ananda temple, stands OVER 31 feet TALL.
Temples at sunrise
Temples at sunset
Details at Shwezigon Pagoda
Since I wasn't on mom duty during my Mommy Walk About it freed up a lot of mental space that allowed me to soak in my surroundings and engage creatively with them. I was greatly moved by the architecture in Ananda Temple built in 1105 AD. The smooth ceilings, flat ground and ancient wall paper had me swooning. The open space near the entry ways had my mind reeling as I played on the idea of a future home in my mind. It is not often as a mom I have the liberty of being in tune and inspired by my surroundings, what a fortunate experience I had.
Original wall paper from 1105 AD
PUPPETS OF MYANMAR|
It was actually these exact puppets that first piqued my interest to visit Myanmar. A friend had participated in the nations water festival, Thingyan, and upon her return she mentioned how much I would love the puppets she saw during her visit. I was hooked! A bright colorful handicraft that has a useful purpose - count me in! While the puppets can be found in Yangon, Bagan was for sure the cheapest and had the most plentiful selection. I bought four puppets for around $20 USD. And as I write this sentence I wonder why I didn't buy more.
is the Burmese name for marionette puppetry, the local form of string puppetry. Like most of Burmese refined art, yoke thé performances originated from royal patronage and were gradually adapted for the wider populace. There are only five theaters that still have puppet shows, you can read about my experience with htwe oo here.
Nanda Restaurant is the place to see a puppet show in Bagan. They have two show times that included dinner in the evenings at 6 and 7 pm. We visited the area in the morning but in the end were not able to attend but it comes highly recommended and looked very nice. You can make reservations by calling (+95) 253936662.
Nanda Restaurant has been performing since 1992
The food was a bit more exciting in Yangon however, we found some real gems in Bagan. Black Bamboo is a quaint haunt we found in Bagan and the menu did not dissapoint. In fact, I would have probably eaten at Black Bamboo many times during our trip had we stayed longer. The interiors were brilliant, the salads were peppered with spice and the ginger slush hit it out of the park! I can still think about that fiery crunch right now. They do not skimp on ginger in Bagan.
Interiors at Black Bamboo
Exteriors at Black Bamboo
Be Kind To Animals The Moon is the second location of the well known vegetarian restaurant, the first being in Yangon. I had a quick of fried banana and ginger juice. Overall the food was only ok but the ambiance of seeing the ancient temples while eating was pretty remarkable.
SUPPORT SOCIAL ENTERPRISE|
If there is a social enterprise I will find it (my friend actually found it :) and I will support! As mentioned in my last post, Myanmar knows how to market Social Enterprises, even all the way up in Bagan. Bagan is quite underdeveloped so having access to the beautifully crafted home goods was a highlight for me. We visited the store of M'Boutik and Yangoods. Yangoods is right on the corner of a busy road and is an open air shop. They have a distinct kitchy style that is eye catching. M'Boutik was so lovely, you could really feel the soul of the store. I am partial to textiles and baskets so M'Boutik felt like heaven to me. I even had to shove a basket in my e-bike seat and ride around all day with in there. Both are definitely worth a visit.
My friend had the genius idea of visiting the public market in Bagan and I am so glad she did. For sure the trinkets and handicrafts were cheaper at the market but it was also very enlightening to see how a community works in that particular part of the country. I was especially fond of the metal lunch pales called a Tiffin Box that everyone carries with them. Seeing another cultures simple daily life tasks can often be the most educating while traveling.
baskets! They find me everywhere.
I added one more mobile to my collection, it was $1 USD
A Tiffin Box set to rest until lunch time
Bagan, you were a dream come true. Thank you for sharing your wonder with me during my Mommy Walk About. I am better having explored just a fragment of your history and grandness. Stay charming forever please! I am so encouraged when I visit a new space of the planet and remember that we are all connected through our humanity. I can only have these lesson through traveling, I am truly fortunate.