The Bagan Temples
Asia is a fascinating continent to visit, I have enjoyed the time that I have spent there travelling through countries such as India, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia. One of the things that I find interesting about Asia, are the many impressive temples that can be found scattered around. Almost every country boasts a major, ancient temple complex of one description or another, with perhaps the most prominent being Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Most of these lay within a relatively well trodden tourist trail. Whilst this in no way detracts from their beauty or significance, I always prefer to venture where fewer tourists have been. In this sense, Myanmar (or Burma), really appeals to me. The country is gradually undergoing reforms, and although it is far from perfect, the doors are starting to open to independent travellers as well as to organised tour companies who have some great contacts on the ground.
One area in particular that appeals to me in Myanmar, is the ancient city of Bagan, which was once the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan. At the height of its importance, this city boasted over 10,000 temples and pagodas, and even today, over 2000 survive. The pictures that I have seen of the Bagan Plains featuring the temples are really inspiring, and I have definitely added this area onto the list of places that I want to visit during my next cycling expedition around the world. It looks like I could quite easily spend a week or even two in the area!
Note – Bagan has yet to earn UNESCO World heritage Site status due to some bad renovations on some of the temples. I am not going to let me put this off though, as I would prefer to see with my own eyes what exactly is there. In all honesty, it is probably the sense of scale and majesty overall which i would like to experience as opposed to the finer details of architectural reconstruction.