This was actually a really difficult blog for me to answer and narrow down. After living and traveling around Asia for nearly 14 years, I have a ton of favourite places, memories, people, trips, hikes, dives, islands, and experiences. But there are a few that really stand out.
Thinking back one of my favourite trips was actually our last in Asia before we moved back home.
Myanmar was actually a place we were ready to move to after our first year in China teaching English. We had accepted jobs in Yangon at a school and emailing back and forth to sort out details. And suddenly the emails stopped. So we spent the summer being beach bums in Thailand and got teaching jobs in Guangzhou, China at an international school teaching English.
Me and my kindergarten class in a Guangzhou China
It wasn’t until well into September and us already comfortable with our new jobs that we finally heard back from the school in Yangon. They had such a big cyclone that destroyed huge parts of the country and taking our electricity and internet for a long while.
Finally after almost 14 years we spent our last few weeks in Myanmar and both instantly regretted not visiting there sooner.
Sunset views over Bagan city
We visited in November which is dry season. The heat and humidity were no issue for us as we’d been living on Hainan island in the South China Sea for years.
One of the many large Buddha statue at the countless temples
After spending a few days exploring Yangon we were beyond excited to get on an overnight bus and finally make it to a small city we’d been talking about for years. Bagan!
Exploring thousands of temples on our scooter
I’m sure you’ve seen photos of Bagan, the tall trees, red brick temples and the hot air balloons. And in real life is so much more amazing.
Adam at the entrance of one of the many temples in Bagan Myanmar, these Buddha statues are massive!
It’s a city famous for its thousands of old brick pagodas and stupas. Over the course of 250 years all the ruling kings each ordered over 10,000 of religious structures to be constructed. It works out to about 1000 stupas, 10,000 small temples and 3000 monasteries in just over 100 square kilometres in the Bagan plains.
wandering around outside a large temple in Bagan city
We took the over night bus to Bagan, arrived at dawn, took a tuk-tuk to our hotel and checked in. They gave us a old photocopy of a map of the town where all the big temples are and we hopped on our rented scooter and went to explore.
Adam and I enjoying some shade outside a temple in Bagan Myanmar
Our only map was old, wrinkled, blurry and in broken English. We just picked random roads to drive down as we tried to learn the city. We were soon on a dirt pathway with grass up to my knees and thinking we were going the wrong way. Within seconds hundreds of stupas and temples began coming into sight all around us. It was completely unreal and like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
Getting a good seat to watch the sunset over Bagan Myanmar
There are quite a few large temples that you can park your bicycle, scooter or tuk-tuk and spend as much time as you’d like wandering through these ancient temples. Most had huge hand painted murals of Buddhist teachings or Gods. The only areas that we saw that were blocked off were actually at the murals near the entrances. And you’ll never guess why! Elephants, yep over the years elephants and occasionally cows would wander in and rub up against the walls to relieve an itch. And eventually enough of these massive animals rubbing in the walls, was causing the hand painted murals to be wiped off.
This is actually a photo from Yangon Myanmar. With all the gold these temples are stunning!
One of the large temples that is up on a mountain and faces west is where most of the tourists gather for sunset. It’s one of the most amazing sunsets you’ll ever see. You have hundreds and hundreds of temples and stupas, hot air balloons in the sky and a beautifully coloured sky.
This is a place I’d love to visit again and again. Bagan with all its temples was such a amazing experience.