I’ve never had the desire to ride in a hot air balloon and originally said no to the Ballons Over Bagan option during the planning of our trip. Debra and John opted out as well. Our travel agent highly recommended it so we reconsidered and signed on…….and I’m so glad we did!
We were picked up before sunrise at our hotel and taken to the launch site in a really cool refurbished antique bus.
After arriving at the launch site, we were briefed on passenger safety and then watched the crews inflate the balloons.Surprisingly to me, the baskets held seventeen people (16 passengers plus the pilot). Below, our pilot (Chris) blasts the burners and we climbed aboard soon after.And we’re off……The flight was very peaceful and quiet, with the exception of occasional blasts from the burners.Up next: Flying over the stupas and pagodas.
Myanmar has been producing lacquerware for over four century’s. Bagan became the industry’s hub in the 20th century, and in the 1920’s the British founded a lacquerware school in the city to foster the craft.
The lacquerware shop we visited had items for sale on the lower level. The second floor had about 15 people working on various pieces that would eventually end up for sale downstairs.
The first 2 photos below are panoramas of the 2nd floor. Workers can be seen engaged in various stages of lacquerware production.
The process of making lacquerware includes weaving of bamboo (like in the photo below), molding and drying of lacquer putty, engraving, and polishing. A small bowl can take a few months to complete while a large object with elaborate designs can take up to a year to finish.
Lacquerware goes up in price based on the finer the detail and the more colors and layers of lacquer applied to the piece (15 coats is the norm for a quality item).
Erich did some serious negotiating for the goods I wanted. He was so proud of himself that he had me take a picture of him and the salesgirl.
After three nights in Yangon we headed to Bagan. Not having had much down time, Erich and I snoozed during the 1 hour 20 minute flight.
The Bagan Archaeological Zone is a popular destination for Myanmar’s tourists. Between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in this area (formerly Pagan.) The remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive today.
We stayed at the Aureum Palace Hotel and Resort which has an open lobby and dining area.
The hotel villas exteriors resemble pagodas that surround the property. Villa interior photos are below.
Our guide (Ko) took us to a local restaurant for lunch.
Up next: Tour of a traditional lacquer ware workshop.