Day 4: Bagan Breakfast at hotel. Bagan is the main historical site in Myanmar. We will visit the great Shwezigon Pagoda, which was donated by King Anawrahta; Ananda Pahto, which is 170 feet high, with its shimmering gold, and a symmetrical masterpiece of Mon architectural style and considered to be the most beautiful among all the temples of Bagan; Ananda Ok Kyaung: Ananda brick monastery, one of the few surviving monastery buildings from the early Bagan era. The interior of the building is lined with well-preserved murals with everyday scenes from the Bagan period; Thatbyinnyu Pahto, a famous temple built in the mid-12th century, covered in white stucco, and located at the corner of the old city wall. Then we will enjoy the stunning sunset from one of the temples. Overnight in Bagan Day 5: Bagan – Mt Popa – Bagan Breakfast at hotel. In the morning, visit the Nyaung U market and you can explore the countryside around Bagan. Then, 2 hours drive to Mt. Popa, where you will walk up the huge volcanic rock on a staircase to see shrines for nats (celestial spirits of Burmese mythology) and small temples for Lord Buddha. It will take about 20 minutes to reach the top of Mount Popa and you will pass by many small food stalls and small stalls selling herbal medicine. Return to Bagan. Just in time for another spectacular sunset. Overnight in Bagan. More photos here: - The Temples of Bagan: http://www.myanmartravelessentials.com/religious-sites-and-temples/the-temples-of-bagan/ - Sunset at The Temples of Bagan: http://www.myanmartravelessentials.com/religious-sites-and-temples/sunset-at-the-temples-of-bagan-myanmar/ - Balloons Over Bagan: http://www.myanmartravelessentials.com/religious-sites-and-temples/ballooning-over-bagan-ancient-temples-from-the-sky/
How we got here: Took a day bus from Mandalay to Hsipaw. The bus left at around 9am and reached Hsipaw around 7pm. This time we took a normal bus (non-VIP) and shared the bus with tons of other locals. Every space in the bus was fully maximised to fit as many passengers as possible. Plastic chairs were placed in the middle in between the seats to accommodate more passengers! Where we stayed: Another backpacker recommended us Mr Charles Guesthouse and we decided to heed his advice. Rooms were cheap and the ambience was great! Very friendly staff, comfortable clean rooms. What we did: After much feedback from other travellers, we decided to go for the 3d 2n trek at Hsipaw. We initially wanted to do the much raved about trek from Kalaw to Inle lake, but we were told that the trek in Hsipaw was less touristy and more authentic. Boy were we glad that we did it. Definitely one of the highlights of our Myanmar travel! Our trekking guide was arranged from our guesthouse and we managed to find 6 other backpackers to join us for this trek. You need a minimum of 4 pax for this 3d 2n trek. How much we spent in total: Food – $18 Activities – $80 (3d2n Trek) - $10 (Tips for our awesome guide) Transport – $10 (Bus from Mandalay to Hsipaw) Accommodation – $28 (for 2 nights) Others – $3 (Medicine for food poisoning) Total expenditure for 2 pax - $149 Average expenditure/pax - $74.50
Kalaw, a small town in the Shan state, finds itself on the tourist trail mainly as the base for a trek to Inle Lake. Since we basically swooped in exceptionally late at night and swooped out the morning after, there is not much I can say about the town itself, but the trek is a pleasant jaunt across the countryside, cutting through patchwork fields, hill tribe villages and railway tracks. What is most enjoyable about this otherwise quite ordinary trek is the fact that you get to walk through villages that haven't seen any touristy development, where people are just getting on with life: working on the farms, laying out red chillies to dry, weaving their colourful headscarves, and generally standing around chatting about their day. The trek can be done between one and three days, though two is most ideal: you can pace yourself well, and you get to spend the night in the home of some locals. Its worth giving it to the leisurely pace.