Passion Points: Active/Adventure
The temple-strewn fields of Bagan have a similar effect as seeing the canals of Venice or the pyramids of Egypt for the first time. They make you long for the gift of a poet or the skill of a painter—anything to capture their otherworldliness. This effect is magnified when you’re lofting across the expanse in one of Balloons Over Bagan’s cranberry-colored hot-air confections, which rise at dawn and make the silent journey over temples, stupas and pagodas just as they cast off their misty shrouds and gleam in first light. But truly, they are stupendous at any hour of the day, from above or on the ground, one of the reasons why the ancient royal capital of Bagan, built by Burmese kings of the 11th and 12th centuries, should figure prominently in any traveler’s itinerary to Myanmar.
I recently spent three nights in Bagan, moored on the Road to Mandalay, the comfortable boat run by Orient-Express, which normally cruises up the Irrawaddy River to Mandalay but which lay docked during my visit, due to abnormally low water levels. The...
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