Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar

Visit the sense-assaulting markets of Bagan, where vibrant spice stalls and tropical-flower stands make for a kaleidoscopic experience.

easy to get lost without going anywhere at all. The
conventions and comforts of our daily routine mean that we can
struggle to leave the familiar, the predictable, the safe. We fail
to see the opportunities and forget that we have choices. The
threat of this monotony is what inspired me to book a one-way
ticket to Asia earlier this year.

During my time journeying across the continent I stumbled upon a
photograph of the magni cent Unesco World Heritage Site of Bagan
and immediately knew I had to experience its beauty first-hand. I
wasn’t ignorant of its difficult political situation, but have
always believed that the best way to understand a country and its
people is from close up rather than afar.

In the evening light, the temples radiated a furious terracotta
against the tangles of encroaching greenery, surpassing the
postcard-perfect vision I’d carried with me. Yet I found my
greatest connection to Bagan in its markets. I wove my way through
baskets bursting with sharp-tongued flowers, bartering for spices
with sellers. At a sugar-palm plantation I watched sap being
harvested and made into a syrup, which was then rolled with coconut
and peanuts to make sweet treats.

Through the juxtaposition of Bagan’s decaying former glory and
the vibrant shock of its marketplaces, the country reminded me that
the world is a vast place, stirred through with an array of strange
yet familiar encounters.

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Myanmar, Southeast Asia