Chasing sunrises & sunsets in Myanmar

Posted on April 2, 2017 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

bagan sunset

Sunset in Bagan

 

There are some places in this world that offer spectacular sunrises and sunsets, and Iceland is definitely one of them. Now though, I can also add Myanmar (Burma) onto this list. Apart from Iceland, I have never been able to watch sunrise and sunset daily throughout my holiday, so it was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my trip.

Bagan is an ancient city in central Myanmar, and it is one of the world’s greatest archeological sites, yet it is not as famous as Cambodia's Angkor Wat. There are over 2000 Buddhist temples and ruins in the 26-sq-mile area, and the original ones were built between 1057 and 1287. The temple setting creates a perfect backdrop for sunset viewings, and it is almost on every tourist's itinerary to watch sunrise/sunset from the top of a temple.

 

bagan sunset

bagan sunset

 

Our first sunset viewing experience on the top of an over-crowded temple was not pleasant at all, as it was a gauntlet where the tourists fought to occupy the best spots for photo opportunities. It was hardly a serene experience. Luckily, on the next day, our tour guide took us to a tourist-free secret spot where we were able to watch the sunset without tourists elbowing around us.

 

bagan sunset

bagan sunset

bagan

bagan sunset

mandalay sunrise

Sunsets in Bagan

 

Sunrises are equally spectacular in Bagan, though strangely, the colours seem to resemble sunsets in the photos! Unfortunately, my travel companion and I were unable to take the air balloon ride at sunrise since all the tours were fully booked, but we did manage to watch sunrises and sunsets from the cruise on the Irrawaddy River over the following few days.

 

sunrise bagan

bagan sunrise

Sunrise in Bagan

 

Our 5-day river cruise tour started from Bagan and ended in Mandalay, and our Mandalay tour itinerary included sunset viewing at the popular Taung Tha Man Lake where the famous U Bein Bridge is located. U Bein Bridge is the world’s longest teak footbridge, and it is a magnet for tourists and locals alike. We got onto a small rowing boat and were taken to the middle of the lake with other boats full of tourists around us. The sunset was beautiful, but the attraction felt like a tourist trap, and we were starting to feel apathetic towards these 'picture perfect' moments.

 

mandalay U Bein Bridge

u bein bridge  sunset at u bein bridge

mandalay U Bein Bridge

mandalay U Bein Bridge

Sunset at Taung Tha Man Lake and U Bein Bridge

 

After disembarking from our cruise boat, we spend the night in Mandalay and on the next day, headed towards Pyin Oo Lwin, a colonial hill station loved by the British as a summer retreat during the colonial days. The main attraction of the scenic hill town is the 435-acre National Kandawgyi Botanical Garden founded in 1915 by an English Forest Researcher Mr. Alex Rogers. Modelled after Kew Gardens in London, the garden features more than 480 species of flowers, shrubs and trees. This is one of my favourite sights during my trip in Myanmar, and I almost thought I was in the UK until I saw some Buddhist monks and nuns strolling around in the garden.

Before the garden closed, we climbed up the odd-looking (East meets West-style?) 12-storey Nan Myint viewing tower to enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of the area, and free of tourists too. It turned out that we were the last visitors in the garden, thus we were able to experience some tranquil sunset moments as we were leaving.

 

National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens

National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens

National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens

Tranquil sunset at National Kandawgyi Botanical Garden

 

When my travel companion and I were planning our trip, we did not intend to visit Inle Lake in the Shan State, but since it was highly recommended to us by various people, we decided to spend a few days at the second largest lake in Myanmar. The most popular way to do sightseeing in the area is to hire a local motored wooden canoe (a Burmese gondola) and a coxswain for the day, as there are many sites worth visiting around the lake.

After a long day of sightseeing around the lake, our coxswain stopped the canoe in the middle of the lake, and we watched the sun setting behind the hills without any disturbance. At last, we both agreed that it was our 'perfect' sunset moment during our trip.

Sunsets are the best time to unwind and appreciate the natural wonders of this world. Hence, it's best avoid the touristy sunset-seeking spots in order to enjoy an authentic and relaxing experience.

 

inle lake sunset

inle lake sunset

inle lake sunset

inle lake sunset

inle lake sunset

inle lake sunset

inle lake sunset

Sunsets at Inle lake


This post was posted in Travel, Nature, Myanmar and was tagged with nature, sunset, Myanmar, sunrise

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