Bagan - A magical land of temples in Myanmar (Burma)
Wherever you go in South East Asia, you will always come across temples, statues of Buddha and other shrines to the regions predominant religion. Usually, they occupy city streets, sit atop hills or proudly provide the centre piece to a village. But, nestled on the bank of the Ayeyarwady River in eastern Myanmar (Burma), is something entirely different: Bagan.
Eight hundred years ago Bagan was home to a bustling ancient capital city. At that time the predominant building material was wood, while stone was used only for the most precious of structures: the temples. Today all that remains are those temples. The result is something quite surreal; a fairy tale land of gorgous temples, connected by a network of dirt roads and surrounded by little more than palm trees and fields.
Best of all? There is barely anybody else there. At times it feels like you have just uncovered this place for the first time, free to explore, climb and discover the secrets that lie within. It's certainly a huge contrast to somewhere like Angkor Wat, and although the temples on their own cannot compete with Cambodia's wonder of the world in terms of grandeur, complexity or sheer scale, as a whole the experience of being in Bagan is just as awe inspiring and a whole lot more like being in an Indiana Jones movie!
And when you have seen enough from the ground, you can jump in one of the countless hot air balloons that rise each morning with the sun and see it all from the sky. Provided you don't mind getting up at 4am of course! Well that and paying the incredible $300 price tag...you only live once right?