After Yangon I visited the popular tourist town of Bagan. Beware, there are actually two Bagans in Myanmar, and they are nowhere near each other. I wasted a ton of cash having to reorganize my trip to adjust for the real Bagan.
Bagan is known for its lovely pagodas. If I were you, I’d schedule no more than 2-3 days in town. The pagodas are great and there are dozens of them in town, but ultimately they all kind of look the same so it gets boring pretty fast. However, one of the cool things about the town is that you can rent e-bikes which are super quiet and good. Beware though, although mine had a good battery and could get up to 50 kmph easy early into the charge, I heard plenty of stories of the bikes running out of juice without any warning in the middle of nowhere. When in doubt, schedule your lunch in town and swap your bike for one with a fresh battery mid-day.
I’ll say this, the most original pagodas I found were off-the beaten track, so you gotta take your e-bike off-trail a bit to find the good stuff:
Bagan is located next to a big river, so you can do sunset cruises. Not the most picturesque of rivers, but it’s something different to do if you caught the sunset from the top of a pagoda already. A fancy hotel also offers unlimited drinks and some hor d’oeuvres on a terrace overlooking the river, which in hindsight would have been the better deal:
This is one of my ventures off the beaten track. I managed to find a cute village next to the river:
I commented on this at some point already. Note the rice growing near the river in the shots below? I went down for a closer look and they have somehow managed to grow rice on what appeared to be mere millimeters of soil on top of sand:
I booked a boat to take me out to check out the sunset from the river. Initially it was going to set me back about $20 CDN for 1.5 hours, but the shmuck operating the boat got lazy, only took me out about half the distance that all the other operators were going AND he brought me back a good half hour before sunset. Accordingly, he got $10 CDN for his half-effort. I’ll leave you with a picture of me on the boat, prior to realizing the disappointment that would follow (it wasn’t that bad, I caught the sunset from the top of a pagoda which was plenty nice):