though its name might give an impression of a modern town or a city, New Bagan remains laid back and rustic. apart from the number of temple ruins, New Bagan is not so different from Old Bagan.
houses have big lawns but does not go higher than two floors. roads are cemented but overlapped by thick dust. sacred shrines and spacious halls around town but seemed empty. old cars and trucks deprived by time moves the city life but it still takes a major role for commerce.
like a grotto in provincial towns in the Philippines, Buddhist pagodas serves as shrines for prayer and offerings. lauded through flowers and incense in the hopes of enlightenment and samsara. this gave us a glimpse of why pagodas and temples were built in great numbers around Bagan.
coming out of the pagoda's small plaza, kids with all their smiles and thanaka approached us asking where we are from. what i noticed around town, every time we would mention Philippines, they would show us a look something like trying to figure out where that is but in the end will give a sudden surprise reply "oh Philippines!".
these kids roam around this little town when there's no class. selling postcards and personal art piece of daily life and depictions of temples to tourists. all for the reason to earn "lucky money" ,as they would call it, taking advantage of the growing tourist influx.
the little that they get from these might be too small to help the family but is way better than begging. i hope that at least one day, i'll be able to return to this community. in a longer span for volunteerism that those smiles deserve.
as we head back to our hotel, we found a restaurant that had a sign "Free WIFI". an unusual signage to this side of town of which even our hotel does not have. ordered a local soup and coffee to match this short time to update friends and family of our location after more than a day without internet.
plane: daily flights are available from Yangon to Bagan (Nyaung U) via Mandalay Air (1hr 20mins) or one can also fly from Yangon to Mandalay (1hr 30mins) then bus trip to Bagan (2hours).
bus: there are several available bus liner that serves this route.
van: you can find van options at the airport through travel agencies. you can negotiate from there. make sure to check the van capacity and assure air-condition is good. (8-9hrs)
train: has daily scheduled trips (16h-18rs)
First Day in Yangon
Travel Guide to Myanmar
Why am i going to Myanmar?
On the road from Yangon to Bagan