Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pagoda Hopping by Bike - Bagan Myanmar

Biking in Bagan Myanmar
 Pagoda Hopping by Bike - Bagan, Myanmar

 Other than walking and running, I believe that the very best way to sight-see when traveling is by bike. Almost every city that I visit, that is one of the first things that I try to do. I either book a local bike tour or rent a bike, grab a map and explore. In Bagan, Myanmar I decided to rent a bike and explore the 2,000+ Pagoda's on my own with a traveler that I just met from England. Now of course I don't think it's possible to visit each Pagoda in one day, but you can actually see a plethora of them from the bigger ones (posted below). I do recommend that you at least spend 2 days of exploring the Bagan Pagodas and Temples.

Bagan by Bike

So first things first, I would definitely make sure that you get a map from wherever you are staying. Most hotels, hostels and guest houses can provided FREE maps for you, if not, they cost only $1,000 Kyat which is about $1 US. Next you will of course need a bike. There are different options for bikes, and of course you can get a motor bike if you want, but that's not going to get you fit =). If you do not know, I am a Beachbody Coach, so staying active when I travel is top priority. While some people travel to relax, I mostly travel to explore, and enjoy doing adventurous things that keep me and my body active. I mean even visiting these Pagodas with a motor bike, you will still have to climb steps, and I mean a lot of steps if you plan to see a lot. The best views are from the bigger Pagodas, and there is no heli-service to take you up =). If you are on a time crunch, then a motor bike might be right up your alley. Bagan is a very spiritual place, so I recommend allowing some time to get off the beaten path and explore, but also make time to relax and enjoy the moment of just being in an ancient city.

Running up the Sunset Pagoda
shwe-san-daw pagoda - sunset pagoda bagan

*Best workout programs for traveling: Insanity, P90X, T25, and Piyo

As far as bicycle rentals, you can rent a bike for $1,000 Kyat ($1 US) for a whole day. I actually paid $1500 Kyat which isn't bad anyways, that's only $.50 cents more =). Most hotels and guesthouses have bike rentals around Bagan, but I would recommend going straight to a bike rental place to get the best deal, because the guesthouses charge more to get their commissions if they do not own their own bikes.  Motor bikes can run anywhere from $5,000 Kyat (only $5 US) and up.

There are basically 3 main places to stay in Bagan: Old Bagan, New Bagan, and Nyaung-U (where I stayed). Depending on your starting point in Bagan will determine which is the best route for you to take. Just grab a map and start exploring. There are many things to see along the way, and you will just be amazed with all the Pagodas, markets, street food etc. If you were to ask me where I would suggest to go, it would be the Monastery (the one with the broken Pagoda top, you can't miss it, there are almost always tour buses parked out front), the Shwe-san-daw Paya (which is considered the best place to watch the sunset), and some of the remote villages way past all the city life such as Min-tan-thu Village. Once you pass through Min-tan-thu Village, you will see less Pagodas and more village life.

On top of the Sunset Pagoda (Shwe-san-daw)
Shwe-san-daw - Sunset Pagoda Bagan

 Other tips:
- Request a bicycle with gears =)
- Bring a day pack with you and include snacks and water. There are places to buy snacks, but it's always good to have some handy.
- Bring sunscreen and some sunglasses
- Be respectful and wear conservative clothing such as longer shorts, shirts with sleeves etc
- If you want to enter the Pagodas and Temples, be prepared to take off your shoes and socks.
- You might get hassled by a lot of street vendors at the Pagodas, don't let that turn you off. Everyone has to make a living, and you don't have to buy anything if you don't want to.
- Ask before you take pictures in the temples. Some allow you to take photos, some do not, so always ask and do not assume it's ok.
- If you plan to see the sunset at the Shwe-san-daw, make sure to get there at least one hour early to get a good spot. It fills up fast up there!
- Don't fall off a temple! =)

Myanmar is beginning to have more and more travelers every year. I would make plans to visit this gem before it gets over-populated with packaged tourists and get's more commercialized. If you've always wanted to visit Myanmar, then the time is now.

As always, stay active my friends!

Headstand on Pagoda - Bagan Myanmar

Pann Cherry Guest House - Bagan, Myanmar
Pann Cherry Guesthouse - Bagan Myanmar

I stayed at the Pann Cherry Guest House in Nyaung-Oo. The guesthouse is located on the Main Road near the Shwezigon Pagoda Nyaung-Oo (Bagan), Mandalay Division, Myanmar. They have rooms from $7 US for a single room (fan) up to $30 US for a double room with A/C, TV, Hot Water (they have more options). I stayed in both types of rooms and they were all great. The staff was very helpful and provided information on onward travel, bus tickets, tours, volcano treks, and bike rentals. I highly recommend it especially for adventure seekers, budget travelers and/or backpackers. Free Wi-Fi is available, but just like anywhere in Myanmar, it's not that great.

Pann Cherry Guest House
Phone: +(95)-61-60075 or +(95)-61122
Main Road near Shwezigon Pagoda
Nyaung-Oo (Bagan), Mandalay Division, Myanmar 

 Meet other Single Cyclist - Free Sign Up!
Cycling Singles

Related Links:
- More travel posts
- What is Beachbody Coaching?
- How I Earn A Living While Traveling
- Working Out While Traveling

Take the Beachbody Challenge - Start a Fitness Journey Now! Free Coaching from me =)

No comments:

Post a Comment