Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 82 - Pokkuku to Bagan

Decided to take the scenic river route on my way to the city of Bagan down the massive Ayeyarwady River. I took another local bus from Monywa to Pokkoku, which thankfully only took 2 hours since there weren't as many stops to pick up more locals.

Pokkoku is best known as the city that initially started the monk protests in 2007. They are also known for their tobacco and thanakha (sandalwood powder make-up) production. I didn't get a chance to explore the city, as I took a motorbike straight to the jetty.

I ended up being about 3 hours too early, so I sat around and had some tea and lunch, chatting with some of the locals about their traditions of marriage and whatnot. The area was very poor, and people kept asking for shampoo for some reason. I think that's the hot item these days. Others were selling blankets or at least willing to trade us for tee-shirts or other items we had in our backpacks.

The boat ride was pleasant, but there wasn't much to see along the river. The only thing I can really note is how wide and massive the river is. It was probably the biggest river I've rode along on a boat.

Arriving at Bagan was beautiful as you could begin to see some of the temples along the cliffs, waiting to be devoured by the river as the cliff slowly eroded.

After settling into my motel room, I rented a bike to explore the town. I headed to one of the biggest pagodas, the Shwezigon Pagoda, and along the way, I saw some small temples just outside one of the villages to climb and explore. It must be something to have some ancient temples that are hundreds of years old, right outside of your village.

I rode my bike around the village, just seeing the way the people lived. Some monks were playing soccer, mothers were walking around with their babies, and other boys were playing with rattan balls.

Along the Ayeyarwady River

Shwezigon Pagoda

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