Exploring the amazing pagodas of Bagan on E Bikes is something I will not forget very quickly!

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Bagan Archeological Zone which is spread out over a 50 sq km area, is made up of 2000 monasteries, temples, shrines and stupas from the 11th and 13th centuries. A week before we arrived in Bagan there was a 6.8 earthquake (which we felt in Chiang Mai) and some of the monuments were damaged.

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Most of the damage was to the rebuilt/renovated sections of the monuments which some have described as being done with little regard for the original appearance but as our guide explained people are not trained but are now getting more expert help and advice. When we were in Bagan there were various officials and archaeological groups visiting, including a local movie star that was donating a lot of money.

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We were lucky to have a very knowledgeable guide (U Htein Lin Maung), a uni student in his last year of economics, and also a volunteer who belongs to a group of people who call themselves New Generation. They spend tireless hours fixing up and caring for the monuments.

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The day before our tour, he had spent the day at one of the temples moving rubble caused by the earthquake and covering some of the broken stupas with plastic sheets (raincoats as he referred to them). We were lucky to be allowed into one of the closed monuments to see the work that they were doing as part of the clean-up. The group were very jovial and friendly, and thought it was funny that we were wearing our e bike helmets as hardhats!

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We hired electric bikes which are apparently Chinese-made bikes, a bit like little scooters. We spent the day following the guide around looking at monuments, pagodas and learning all about their history and designs. So much information that we couldn’t take it all in.

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We finished the day watching the sunset from one of the pogodas. I think it was from OakKyaung Gy,i where you climb up some narrow stairs up to the top to enjoy the beautiful view over the landscape dotted with pagodas, with the mountain range and river in the background. Just spectacular!

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We even enjoyed the adventure of getting back home in the dark, down a little track using a torch as the headlights. As the batteries in the e bikes start to run out, the headlights are the first thing to go! The guide was very gentle and kept checking that we were okay.

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We visited so many stupas and pagodas during the day, that we asked U Htein Lin to circle the monuments we had visited and mark the route we had taken on a map. A bit of a plan for the next time we visit! The place is absolutely amazing, very surreal and definitely a highlight of our trip.

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Some of the main pagodas we visited included:

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Thatbyinyu

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Ananda Temple

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Some more pagadoas included Gubyzaukgyi, Shwe zi gone, Dhamma-ya-za-ka, Shwe San Daw. By then I got very mixed up with my photos so here are some more pagoda photos!

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We drove the e bikes around the Nyaung U, Old Bagan and New Bagan areas, sometimes on the main road but mainly on lovely, dusty little tracks in the archaeological zone. So much to see!

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Had some lunch and visited a lacquer work factory just for a break from pagodas!

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Ended the day feeling very dusty and a bit sunburnt after a long very educational and memorable day! Feeling very privileged!

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