After a few sweaty days of motorbikes and dusty streets in Mandalay, Bagan was a refreshing feast for the eyes!
I stayed at the Bagan Umbra Hotel and was pleased with the pool and accommodation. Rooms ranged from 40-90USD depending on what you wanted. They had a newer wing with rooms overlooking the pool and I would assume that they were closer to 90USD a night. This was a great location as temples were located only a few minutes away, and Old Bagan was a quick bike ride too. Did I mention that this hotel had a pool?
In total, I spent 4 days in Bagan, but probably could have gotten away with 3. I would wake up early and have breakfast at the hotel (again, soy sauce heavy, but fruit, yogurt, eggs and rice was available), then nip out on my bicycle to tour around the temples. I would return just after lunch and have a dip in the pool, then a nap. This is best way to deal with the April heat!
After a little snack, it was then back out to one of the temples to catch the sunset! You can visit the temples with a guide, of which there are plenty, or hire a bicycle and do it yourself with a guidebook!
Now let’s talk about food
One day I tried a food stall around the Ananda Temple, just outside the Old Bagan walls. The whole thing cost me 3USD with a Sprite! There’s several little restaurants around there, and most people have some knowledge of English.As you can see, I got some vegetable soup, rice, raw veggies, potatoes, a mixed vegetable salad and tomato sauce/salad. The owner spoke very good English and informed me that there was soy sauce in the tomato thing. This is a typical lunch!
Aroma – Nyaung-U
I was looking forward to some Indian food as I totally missed it while in Mandalay. Luckily Aroma was open and I ate there several times during my stay. The owner was a bit eccentric, but their food was lovely – especially the homemade dips to accompany the papadams (didn’t eat those though – wasn’t sure what they were made from!). I tried the vegetarian set dishes, which came with rice, the main dish and a lentil soup.
The Black Bamboo – Nyaung-U
This was recommended by friends who’d previously traveled through Myanmar and I’m happy they did! When I arrived I had a bit of an upset stomach, but their special Ginger/Lime/Mint Juice put things right! While not all of their staff spoke English, you could always find one or two to ask questions. I had the salads and a curry with rice (sorry, it was raining so didn’t take the camera out). The owner is a French woman and is very knowledgeable about the area, so if you get a chance to chat with her, make sure you do! Ohh they also make their own ice cream which is amazing after a hot morning visiting the temples!
Na Ra Theinkha
One day I biked down to New Bagan and found this place. Lonely Planet told me that the Chef spoke English and has had international experience so I decided to pop in and give it a try. He made me a lovely veggie curry with rice and fresh pressed pineapple juice.