Bagan can be overwhelming even for the most seasoned of travelers. First, the natural conditions can be unforgiving, sometimes unbearable. If you visit in the wrong month, you’ll be wiping thick layers of dust off your face in the 43C heat. Second, the sheer number alone is daunting. Over 2200 temples and pagodas! I always joked that if you close your eyes and throw a rock aimlessly, you’re probably going to hit one. And lastly, an ocean of ancient structures that stand not too far from one another isn’t easy to navigate.
Three words and I was sold: hot air balloons.
A simple mention of Bagan conjures up an image of hot air balloons floating above an ocean of temples at dawn. If that wasn’t enough to convince me to someday pay a visit, I don’t know what could. Even when I had to endure a total of 10 hours on the plane (I was flying from Dubai) and another eight hours on the bus from Yangon, I was a happy traveler. Too bad, there were no hot air balloons when I arrived because, uhm, I didn’t plan this trip well. (And you should learn from me. That’s why I’m creating this guide. LOL.)
Still, I was not complaining. Bagan may be smack at the heart of a vast, almost barren land, but it is brimming with beauty, there’s hardly any place for disappointment.