We were picked up by our guide and headed out on our way to climb Mount Popa. On our way we stopped by a family owned peanut farm to see how they grow and use peanuts. Apparently a majority of the peanuts and peanut oil sold in the United States comes from Myanmar. We were able to try a traditional Myanmarese peanut, garlic and tea leaf dish and it was surprisingly good. We were also able to put on traditional Myanmarese make-up that doubles as a sunscreen! Thats the white stuff you see on our faces in the photos below, the woman even drew a leaf design!
Once we reached Mount Popa we started the 700+ step climb to the top. We all got so sweaty from climbing the stairs and running away from the monkeys that would literally jump onto your head if you weren’t careful! The view from the top of the mountain was breathtaking! Once we climbed back down we had a quick snack consisting of local dragonfruit before having lunch.
Following lunch time we toured several pagodas in the valley. In the Bagan area alone there are 3,122 pagoda temples!!! We toured the most popular and renovated ones in the valley seeing the inside decor and giant Buddhas. At this point we were all exhausted so we decided to check into our hotel instead of seeing the rest of the pagodas haha.
After resting in our hotel we headed out again but this time on a horse carriage ride through the valley looking at all the different pagodas. The geography here is actually very interesting. It feels like St George, dry and hot but not too hot. It isn’t humid here at all! While riding around in the horse carriage it was interesting to see the different cacti that is here compared to the cacti in St George.
Our horse ride ended at a famous pagoda that we were able to climb to the top of. The steps were steep and we flashed about every local from below. I don’t know why Rachael and I thought it would be smart to wear a skirt and a dress on this climb – in our defense, we didn’t know it was happening!
We watched the sunset over the valley getting that iconic view of the Bagan pagoda valley. It was stunning and one of those “oh my goodness I can’t believe this is real, that this is actually happening” moments. I really soaked that sunset in.
We ended the night having dinner on the beach and then going for a swim before getting some good sleep.
Bagan has been wonderful and a must do in Myanmar for sure!