Journeys in foreign lands / sampling ice cream on different soils / new friends / new memories / living a fulfilled life.
This doesn't only serve as a memory bank for me but also as a way to help others that are going to, or are planning on, making the same footsteps as me.
I just wanted to show some quick love towards this property as this was one place that I will never forget. Wai Wai, the owner, is incredibly hospitable, generous and absolutely lovely. She has recently opened up another house to accommodate all the extra people that are lining up wanting to stay at her house. She is also an incredible chef and will happily host dinners for her guests without wanting anything in return just because she loves cooking! She makes sure your stay in her city is comfortable, exciting and fun. She gives great recommendations on what to see and where to eat. I wish we could have stayed here longer as she made our stay in Myanmar so special.
I truly recommend anyone going to Yangon to stay at Wai Wai Place. You will never want to leave!
This was hands down one of my favourite places in Luang Prabang. It is a major tourist attraction so the biggest tip I can give is to go there early. If you want to feel like you have the place to yourself for a little while before your photos get overtaken by tourists then head there about 8am; the mornings are still warm enough that you'll enjoy taking a cool dip in the pools.
There is a small entry fee into the park but it's no big deal. Also, they have a pretty sweet rehabilitation centre for hurt or mistreated Asian bears within the park which you can walk by and view the enclosures on the way to the pools.
The hostel we stayed at offered a driver to take us there, but at certain times only as it was a group deal. We were able to find another tuktuk driver on the way to the night markets who gave us an awesome price for the 3 of us, and also arranged a van instead to pick us up the next day at the time we wanted. The van was a much better idea than taking a tuktuk as there is a bit of uphill travel and the van definitely navigated the windy, beaten roads a lot more comfortably than a motorbike would.
My travel buddies and I decided to splurge
for our time in Bagan. We did have a budget we were trying to stick to but there
was one accommodation that we couldn’t pass on. Accommodation prices for Myanmar are relatively expensive compared to the
rest of Asia, so we decided to pay that
$10-$20 more to get something that was better quality than the others we were
looking to book with. We definitely made the right decision, too. We were going
to Myanmar in April, which is one of their hottest seasons. Bagan is pretty
much a desert. Around midday the heat can get so unbearable you do have to be very
careful with your water intake and getting shade, as there is a very high
chance of heat stroke. We luckily had booked into a hotel that had AC (that
actually worked!) and a (clean) pool to cool us down. If you do head to Bagan,
especially around this time, I do recommend having AirCon and a pool high on
your list when choosing where to stay. It really does help because you won’t
understand how hot it gets there until you arrive. The best times to go out are
either very early in the morning and later in the evening when the sun is going
down. In between it’s best to stay back at your hotel/hostel. The only time we
were out during midday was when we hired a taxi for the day to drive us around
to certain sites.
The place we stayed at was called Blue Bird
Hotel. It is a small property therefore only a few rooms so best to book this
one in advance. The staff were so great and the facilities were immaculate.
Also, they have amazing waterfall showers in their rooms. These were the best
showers I have had in my life! You’ll understand when you stay there =)
Anyway, that’s enough about the awesome
place we stayed in. I just had to give them the credit they deserve. This post
was about my top three temples to see amongst the vast amount of temples
sprawled all over Old Bagan.
In no particular order:
1)Dhamma Yan Gyi
The largest temple in Bagan. It’s 9 stories
high, however, shortly after construction some of the higher levels weren’t as
well supported as they initially thought so many areas were closed off soon
after opening. You are able to climb to the second level and there are still
great views from there.
2)Shwe San Daw
While not the most elegant temple, it is a
very popular spot to see the sunrise and sunset. Also, it is the one of the
best spots to see a panoramic view of Old Bagan .
Said to be the most beautiful temple in
Bagan and they aren’t wrong. It is also the most intricate with many beautiful
old stone carvings and paintings within. It survived a major earthquake in 1975
however it was still badly damaged. When we were there a lot of renovations
were happening and they even had some landscaping going on. Once everything is
all finished, I’m sure this is going to be one grand place.
The two best ways to see these temples are:
I have a love hate relationship with these
things. They are awesome but they are a bit hit and miss when it comes to the
quality. You can rent these usually from the accommodation itself. They are a
great way to get around and are a lot of fun however, just like normal bikes,
they are hard to handle when you’re driving through soft dirt or uphill.
If you’re with one or two more people, this
is an inexpensive and comfortable way to get around. Plus you can get to
temples that are further away and, if you’re stuck on time, you can go during
the hottest part of the day. You can request a driver that speaks some English
where you can ask them for recommendations on which temple to see. Otherwise,
if you already know where you want to go and have a map then all you need to do
is point and they will drive.
FYI: As you enter Bagan the bus will stop where they will request all
foreigners to pay a $15 USD entry fee, which then you will be given a Bagan
Archaeological Zone card. It is best to carry this around with you whenever you
sightsee as some temples will ask you to see this card to confirm you have
Also, they have only just started to learn how
to really restore all their historic temples. Many have been ruined when they
thought it was a good idea to cover all faded paintings with ugly, white paint
and cover the floors with kitchen tiles. One temple was so bad that it made us
really upset we just had to leave. Luckily, they have stopped doing this.
Lastly, just remember the more popular or
modern the temple the more pushy and persistent the vendors will be. Be strong
and you can say no!