Date: 26th June 2017
Cycling around Bagan, Myanmar is like pedalling back in time.
Bagan was founded in the first century and it was during the 9th and 10th centuries that it flourished and the temples we see today were constructed. These days they still stand, although crumbling, and retain their silent elegance.
Located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, it is the largest and most concentrated collection of Buddhist religious structures in the world. Although tourism in Myanmar is currently growing, it still has a lot of historic charm and remains largely unchanged.
It is possible to get around Bagan via horse and cart or even mini-van if you are craving modern comfort – but what’s the fun in that? If you are a true adventurer, biking between each of the temples is the most exciting way to explore.
The area is mainly flat, so the only challenge is dealing with the heat. A cycling trip around the temples will keep you fit and healthy and will also allow you to take much more in. Here are some tips that you should know before you begin your journey:
1. Get Up Early
If you can drag yourself out of bed earlier, you’ll not only enjoy riding around in cooler temperatures before the sun begins to bake the plains – but you will also have the chance to see the temples against the beautiful backdrop of the sunrise. It is a good idea to rent your bike the night before, as the bike rental place may not be open early enough.
2. Drink More Water Than You Think You Need
The heat can reach incredible highs, especially during the summer months, so make sure that you are drinking water throughout the day. Drink more than you think you need, because it is sometimes difficult to realise when you are dehydrated. Also, be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.
3. A Sarong is Essential
A sarong is one of the best items you can bring with on your Bagan trip, as it is lightweight and serves so many purposes. You can wear it as a headscarf to keep you cool and shield your scalp and face from the sun. You can wrap it around your shoulders or legs in order to be respectful and not show too much skin when visiting a temple. You could even use it as a picnic blanket if you stop to have some lunch.
4. Test Your Bike First
There are several bike rental places around Bagan where you can rent bikes cheaply – but make sure you give your bike a short test ride and an inspection before you pay for it. Some of the bikes are old and may be in poor repair, which is not something you want to notice when you’ve already paid and started pedalling and it’s too late.
5. Relax, It’s Not Possible to See All of the Pagodas
At its zenith Bagan had around 13,000 temples and these days you’ll see around 2,200 left standing. You’d have to be able to cycle at light speed to be able to see all of them on your trip, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself and rush between them.
It’s better to choose a few temples you are really interested and explore them in detail, noting the exquisite carvings and statuary. These really are gorgeous buildings and a lot of time and effort went into making them as beautiful as possible.
Have you cycled around Bagan? Let us know about your travel tips in the comments below.
Kelly Dunning is a Canadian freelance travel writer. She lives a nomadic lifestyle with no fixed address – working from the road for the last 5 years with her partner Lee, a web-designer from England. They have traveled to over 40 countries and they offer travel tips, stories and inspiration on Global-Goose.com.
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Date: 14th June 2017
By Emma Cunningham
Out in the Aegean Sea, lies the sun-drenched,
elegant, Cycladic island, of Mykonos. Arriving to the island will be a treat in
itself, as you dance across the sapphire Greek waters via ferry, welcomed by a
shoreline so psychedelic, your eyes pop.
you will say to yourself as you step foot to land, far too mesmerized at the
view to notice you’ve been waiting for a taxi for 20 minutes to take you to
your hotel. Later you will learn how Greeks do not hold any sort of
conventional time scheme for life.
“I thought the club closed at 4am?” You will
shout to your new found friend somewhere along Paradise Beach. “It’s already 7!
How are we still here?” You laugh about it over souvlaki for breakfast.
And with so much zen, views, food and fun to
indulge in, you might begin to feel a tad overwhelmed by the tiny island.
Worry not though. By all means, continue to
stroll down those angelic white streets, (but don’t forget snag a spot near the
town windmills for sunset) because I took it upon myself to provide you with
some secrets of the stunningly picturesque, Mykonos.
WHERE TO STAY
Chances are you came to Mykonos for the
party and scenery. Paradise Beach is where you’ll get both.
There are two main accommodations spots
near Paradise Beach where all the party dwellers and budget travelers post up.
1.Paraga Beach Hostel
- Outdoor pool and bar
- Mini-market on hostel grounds
- Free shuttle bus to town and ports
- Ocean side restaurant
- 250km walk to clubs/bars on Paradise Beach
- 24/7 reception
- Great sunset views
- Rates starting at 16€/night
2. Paradise Beach - CAMPING
- Cabins and bungalows available sleeping 2-3 people
- Free breakfast
- Steps away from the infamous Paradise Beach
- Located near endless shops, restaurants, and water sport centers
- Located near bus station for Mykonos Town
- 24/7 reception
- Over looks ocean and Paradise Beach
- Rates starting at 45€/night
Looking to splurge a bit or not interested
in staying in a camp ground or hostel? Click here to search for your ideal spot
WHERE TO EAT
SAVE: Sakis Grill House - Mykonos Town
For Mykonos Town, this place is a steal.
Delicious gyros and pitas starting at 3€!
The perfect spot for a quick and cheap
bite before losing yourself around the mystic white streets.
SPLURGE: Kastro’s Restaurant & Bar -
Every meal, no matter where you are, should
make you feel the way Kastro’s makes you feel. Sit for a cocktail, listen to
some chill-out tunes and try and wrap your head around the sensational Greek
sunset before your eyes. The vibe is so euphoric, you won’t know what to do
with yourself. Especially when you eye up the waiters! Most thing can/should be
ordered to share here, due to prices. I highly recommend anything with black
olives or feta cheese, because GREECE.
BEACHES & NIGHTLIFE
The beaches on the south shore of the
island (Paraga, Paradise Beach and Mykonos Town) have the best sand, views, and
wind protection, but are pretty crowded at the height of the season. Like
mentioned before, Paradise Beach is where the party is at. But if you’re
looking for a beautiful beach without the chaos then head to Agios Sostis.
There are zero lounge chairs or umbrellas in sight, so
you truly feel as if you’re at a secret beach. So secret, some people may even
go nude. Platis Gialos and Ornos, are quieter, less crowded
and more popular with families.
If you’re looking to drink and dance until
the wee hours of the morning, Cavo Paradiso is your spot.
Everything is outdoors and built into a dramatic cliff top just east of
Paradise Beach. There are international DJs there practically everyday
throughout the summer, from DJ Snake to Steve Aoki, you’re bound for an epic
night. If you are feeling something a little lower key, then Paradise Club is
the place for you. A smaller spot sitting right on the water, with fun music
and a very fun crowd.
GETTING AROUND MYKONOS
Don’t you DARE sit around the beach
nursing your hangover all day. Mykonos is too extravagant to not see every inch
of. March yourself up to your hotel/hostel’s information desk and ask where the
nearest ATV rental is. It’s easily the best way to round up a few new friends
for some exploring and you’re able cover the entire island from coast to coast.
They’re incredibly easy to operate (and
much safer than scooters/mopeds). And side streets in Mykonos are incredibly
narrow, meaning not many cars are able to fit! So you can get by very easily
without worrying too much about traffic. Be sure to bring a map with you so you
can hit all the secret beaches!
Prices start at about 20€/day and you must
have a valid driver’s license.
GETTING TO MYKONOS
If you’re on a time crunch or just
extremely anxious to get to Mykonos, there are daily direct flights from Athens
to Mykonos airport.
Check out Skyscanner.com or kiwi.com for your
cheapest and best rates.
Depending on the route and vessel, you can
reach Mykonos from Athens within 4-6 hours. Piraeus and Rafina are the two main
ports in Athens.
You can book a ferry online to Mykonos (as
well as other Greek Islands) via Blue Star Ferries, Hellenic Seaways or Sea
A true European playground, Mykonos is a
flawless mix of luxury fantasy and a wild ride of an island, offering something
for everyone. It’s everything that it’s hyped up to be, and more. So go
grab your suitcase and passport, because the psychedelic shores are calling…
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