Tuesday, October 29, 2013

shwesandaw pagoda sunset

we saw relatively few tourists around Old Bagan after moving from one temple to another. until we went to Shwe San Daw Pagoda, which is famous for its sunset view. people gathered to climb its terraced levels. the time when we finally saw the large number of tourists there were in Old Bagan.
some came in carts, others by bike, some by van but the big bulk of tourists came in by bus. famous temples and pagodas like this one has ticket inspectors to control the access. in the same way, expect more souvenir and refreshment stalls in the area.  
no one seemed to be too old to climb up its steep stairs. some tourists of age made it all the way to the topmost terrace. all for the most awaited sunset view with the temples and pagodas turning into silhouette. 
two reasons why this spot is known for its sunset view:
 - it is one of the few larger and taller temples where people are allowed to climb up
 - the high perspective gives a panoramic view of the many temples and the nearby Irrawaddy river (Ayeyarwady River).
but definitely this is not the only nice spot for a sunset view. another famous point to view the sunset is along the Irrawaddy river through a wooden boat cruise.
the hotel staff recommended us to be at the temple at least an hour before the sun sets as tourists will be rushing to get the best spot on top facing West. we came in time and we got a good spot at the highest terrace.
to kill time, people went around the terrace to get a view of the other side which was equally awesome. others simply took their time chatting while others simply waited on their spot setting their cameras in position.
as the day's shade changed, it revealed the beautiful sunset. the sun's reflection over Irrawaddy River gave an even awesome effect to the view plus the dusty environ which also controlled the burst of the sun's rays.
like every sunset under a good weather, the wait is always worth it. seeing it from the top of Shwe San Daw is highly recommended.

temple category:
temple name: Shwe San Daw Pagoda
built: 1057 AD
height: 127ft (three feet taller than Shwedagon Pagoda)
king during that time: King Anawrahta

area profile:
country: Myanmar (Burma)
island: Greater Eurasia
region: Mandalay
city: Bagan

GPS location:
21' 10" 49N
94' 51" 58E

temple/pagoda complex access fee: 
entrance to the entire complex is standardized at USD10 per person for the entire time that you'll be in the area. keep the ticket as some temples have inspectors checking for your pass.

touring around:
Bagan temple complex is huge and your option of renting a van, a cart or a bike will depend greatly on the time that you have to explore the temples and your resistance to heat. some temples can be as far 25kilometers while you can find some stupas almost on every corner.
bus/van/car: comfort and you save time moving from one temple to another.
horse/cow cart: slow but a good experience of old local mode of transportation.
bike: active, fast and flexible but consumes a lot of energy. cheapest way to temple hop.
cost for the van/car/cart will vary on the temples that you plan to visit.
cost for bike: USD2-3per person per day. most hotels or inn offer this service.

how to get there:
by plane: there are regular daily flight from Yangon to Nyaung-U. the closest airport is Nyaung-U Airport which is just around 15mins away from the Old Bagan temple and pagoda area. Airlines with regular flights includes: Air Mandalay, Air Bagan, Yangon Airways
by bus: 
from Mandalay: daily bus trips are available to Bagan. duration: 6-8hours (estimate: USD10-15)
from Yangon: daily bus trips are available to Bagan. duration: 10-12hours (estimate: USD15-22)
from Nyay Pyi Taw: daily bus trips available to Bagan. duration: 5-7hours (estimate: USD10-15)
by train: 
daily trips from Mandalay and Yangon are available but the trip time may vary depending on the train stop duration. 

eskapo recommends:
1. if you have limited time, don't take the train as trip duration can change from Yangon or Mandalay to Bagan.
2. maximize time exploring the temples by choosing particular temples which are in the same direction or area. so find a map, which is usually available on hotels, inns and hostel. despite the large area, the most notable temples and pagodas can easily be navigated with a map. 
3. make sure to bring enough water when exploring the temples and pagodas. very few temples have people selling water and food. 
4. not all temples can be accessed and some holy sites should be respected. foot wears are not allowed when entering or climbing pagodas and temples. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

BPI Get Out More

never too late as BPI would not just give one but two free trips on its next draw Nov 12, 2013. the next raffle will include all valid bill payments until the cut-off date Oct 31 and the lucky winner will win 
One trip for two to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. includes round trip airfare care of Zest Air, 2nights stay at The Ibiz Hotel and pocketmoney of P24,700.
One trip for two to Shanghai, China. includes round trip airfare care of Zest Air, 2nights stay at The Kai Bojia Hao Hotel and pocketmoney of P24,700.
(Bill Payment Cut-off: October 31, 2013; Raffle Draw: November 12, 2013)
two destinations known for food trip and urban photo walks. the skyline of Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai has some of the tallest towers in Asia including the Petronas twin tower and China's tallest tower Shanghai World Financial Center.
the free trip from the last draw was awarded to Ms. Olivia Sto. Domingo. you don't want to miss the chance to find something whoa! just follow the three easy steps:

1. Enroll your existing BPI account to BPI Express Online 24/7. just click here.
2. Start your online/mobile transactions. just click here.
3. Gain more electronic raffle entries. know how to earn more here.

the more transaction, the more chances of getting that Whoa! experience. to make it more exciting, BPI has launched a dedicated Get Out More site, where one can soon share your own Whoa! experience. 

Rewards/Raffle Prizes:

Three trips for two to Hong Kong, Hong Kong. includes round trip airfare care of Air Asia, 2nights stay at The Regal Oriental Hotel and pocketmoney of P24,700.
(Bill Payment Cut-off: November 30, 2013; Raffle Draw: December 12, 2013)

Travel period for the raffle prizes is January 1, 2014- June 30, 2014. Cash prize (pocket money) will be credited to winner's account number upon awarding of the raffle prizes. 


promo runs from August 1 - November 30, 2013. Check out detailed promo mechanics here



Take complete control over your finances and transactions with just few clicks through BPI Express Online. what you can do over a BPI branch can be done online 24/7. 




Saturday, October 12, 2013

thatbyinnyu temple and around

i was astonished at almost every small temple that we've seen along the highway from Yangon to Bagan. but it was nothing when we entered the historical site of old Bagan in transit from new Bagan. numerous temples and pagodas left and right came into view. 
Bagan holds the world record for having the most number of temples and pagodas in one area. they count in thousands. big and small all in a desert-like area. was once a kingdom with almost ten thousand temples.
with a large area, the challenge was to choose which area to explore first. since we only have the entire afternoon on that day, we then chose the closest ones and jumped on our bikes for a $3 day rent. 
first on our list is Bagan's tallest temple, Thatbyinnyu Temple rising at 201feet. that's almost three times the height of Baclaran church. though rusty looking, it still displays its splendor through its spires and arch doors. categorized as Gawdawpalin style temple.
though only the ground area is accessible to tourists, seeing it from a higher perspective would be interesting. so we climbed the temple just across it. steep steps to the top would require taking out your foot wear and has to climb bare foot as a respect to these holy structures.
popular temples like Thatbyinnyu has nearby vendors selling cold water, soft drinks and sometimes coconut juice. the good thing is they don' t approach you to hard sell but something we can expect in the future as more tourists visits Bagan.

temple category:
temple name: Thatbyinnyu Temple
built: mid 12th century
height: 201ft (tallest temple in Bagan)
type: Gawdawpalin Style
king during that time: King Alaungsithu

area profile:
country: Myanmar (Burma)
island: Greater Eurasia
region: Mandalay
city: Bagan

GPS location:
21' 10" 15N
94' 51" 57E

temple/pagoda complex access fee: 
entrance to the entire complex is standardized at USD10 per person for the entire time that you'll be in the area. keep the ticket as some temples have inspectors checking for your pass.

touring around:
Bagan temple complex is huge and your option of renting a van, a cart or a bike will depend greatly on the time that you have to explore the temples and your resistance to heat. some temples can be as far 25kilometers while you can find some stupas almost on every corner.
bus/van/car: comfort and you save time moving from one temple to another.
horse/cow cart: slow but a good experience of old local mode of transportation.
bike: active, fast and flexible but consumes a lot of energy. cheapest way to temple hop.
cost for the van/car/cart will vary on the temples that you plan to visit.
cost for bike: USD2-3per person per day. most hotels or inn offer this service.

how to get there:
by plane: there are regular daily flight from Yangon to Nyaung-U. the closest airport is Nyaung-U Airport which is just around 15mins away from the Old Bagan temple and pagoda area. Airlines with regular flights includes: Air Mandalay, Air Bagan, Yangon Airways
by bus: 
from Mandalay: daily bus trips are available to Bagan. duration: 6-8hours (estimate: USD10-15)
from Yangon: daily bus trips are available to Bagan. duration: 10-12hours (estimate: USD15-22)
from Nyay Pyi Taw: daily bus trips available to Bagan. duration: 5-7hours (estimate: USD10-15)
by train: 
daily trips from Mandalay and Yangon are available but the trip time may vary depending on the train stop duration. 

eskapo recommends:
1. if you have limited time, don't take the train as trip duration can change from Yangon or Mandalay to Bagan.
2. maximize time exploring the temples by choosing particular temples which are in the same direction or area. so find a map, which is usually available on hotels, inns and hostel. despite the large area, the most notable temples and pagodas can easily be navigated with a map. 
3. make sure to bring enough water when exploring the temples and pagodas. very few temples have people selling water and food. 
4. not all temples can be accessed and some holy sites should be respected. foot wears are not allowed when entering or climbing pagodas and temples. 

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