We leave very early tomorrow for Mandalay. Which makes me a little bit sad. I feel like there is still so much I want to see and do in Bagan. During our stay we’ve been bused around on a very comfortable little air-conditioned coach but I think when I come back—and I will come back—I’d like to see Bagan by bicycle or horse-drawn cart. And of course, I want to see the temples from a hot-air-balloon.
I’ve noticed that at our hotel there are dozens of blue Chinese-made bikes available for guests to use. That seems pretty common. All along the roads you see couples—some young, some not-so-young—wobbling down the road on their way to visit a temple or two. I asked one middle-aged British couple at our hotel if they weren’t afraid of getting lost.
“Absolutely!” thundered the sunburnt husband. “That’s why we hired a guide.” The guide meets them at the hotel and leads them by bike to whatever temple they’d like to visit. It seems most of these guide (whose rates are very reasonable) also know where to find the key-holders to get in to the locked temples.
Even more romantic, I think, would be to explore Bagan from one of the more than 250-odd horse carts that you see everywhere. Most drivers, from what I’ve been told, speak at least a little English and, again, can act as guides to less-visited temples. Usually your hotel can fix the price and duration of the trip for you and make any other arrangements (such as stops for lunch or dinner). It shouldn’t cost more than $15 or $20 a day for two people. Or, if you feel like splurging, you can rent a Victorian horse and cart that seats four in real seats (much more comfortable) for about $35/half day.