While in Yangon, I made friends with several other solo travelers, and we all ended up traveling to the city of Bagan together. We spent two days motorbiking around to explore the many pagodas and temples here. It was my first time ever riding a motorbike, but my friends (who had all been traveling around Southeast Asia and ridden previously) were patient while I learned. I was nervous at first, but it was so much fun once I got the hang of it!
The first day we did some exploring on our own, hunting down various temples that were recommended to us. It was very sunny and hot all day, so the breeze as we rode our bikes felt nice. The next day, we did a free guided motorbike tour through our hostel, and a group of us drove through dumping rain for most of the day. It was interesting to learn about the history of some of the pagodas, as well as learn more about the Buddhist religion from our friendly guide.
In the afternoon of the first day, Gaby, Seline, and I took a shared taxi to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano on which sits the Popa Taungkalat monastery.
The taxi dropped us off at the bottom of the volcano, from where we began the hike up to the top of the monastery. There were SO many monkeys there... and I found out that this is definitely NOT one of my favorite animals. Apparently, the monkeys hangout at the monastery because they are used to getting fed from tourists. The monkeys will steal tourists' items (cameras, sunglasses, phones, etc.) because they know that the visitors will then have to offer them food in order for the monkey to come back and return the item. Although they were cute (especially the babies), I thought the monkeys were aggressive and sneaky...
When we finally reached the top, we had a beautiful view of the surrounding area.
Bagan is beautiful and I had fun here, but I actually preferred Inle Lake and Yangon. After Bagan, I head to Kalaw, the starting point for a two-day trek with friends.
-- The best stories are found between the pages of a passport --