Magic in Bagan


I have been procrastinating writing this post for many months now, given that neither my words nor my photos will ever begin to do Myanmar the justice it deserves.

The days spent in Bagan, Myanmar were some of the most tiring of my life, yet I have never felt more alive. In the past, the only times I have seen the sunrise were when I was suffering from jet lag or still up from a big party the night before. However, while in Bagan, my sister and I woke up for the sunrise more than once. This wasn’t because we had to, it was simply because we wanted to. When you’re somewhere as magical as this, you don’t want to miss a minute of daylight in which you can fill your head with the beautiful surroundings you want to remember forever. Yes, we even waited until the sun was set before ever heading back to our hotel.

We arrived in Bagan late at night, it was dark and all we could see was a tiny little village. We ended up wandering the streets only to be turned away from one hotel after another. Finally, when we were very close to tears and in the furthest reaches of this dark and empty place, we found a small hotel who said they would take us in. I didn’t tell my sister at the time, she was already freaking out enough, but this was one of the most worrisome travel experiences of my life to date. Luckily, we found a place to stay. What we didn’t realize at the time, was that this would end up being one of the most special hotels we would ever stay at.

We woke up in Bagan, unsure what to expect after a somewhat unsettling arrival the night before. We sleepily stepped out the door of our bungalow to be instantly greeted (bombarded) by a woman named Wah Wah. She was smiling so big, grabbed us by the hand and dragged us to breakfast, where we were greeted by various cute young boys, wearing bow ties, who were waiting to serve us food. It was all very endearing to watch as the boys (literally, boys) tried to serve us as professionally as possible, while Wah Wah directed them from the corner of the room.

By the end of breakfast, Wah Wah had arranged our entire day for us. After years spent in Thailand, where a large portion of interaction in the service industry involves people trying to get a much money from you as possible (no offense to Thailand), I was somewhat skeptical of Wah Wah’s pushy attitude. It wasn’t until I had finally made it through the first day, all planned by Wah Wah, that I realize her interest in our experience in Bagan had nothing to do with money. This woman was more than willing to go out of her way to make our time there are easy and enjoyable as possible, getting the most out of being there as we could, with the budget that we had.

I am aware that hotels all have a concierge service, but this was entirely different. It was completely personal and not for the sake of the hotel. Wah Wah loved this place and needed to share it’s beauty with it’s visitors. It’s because of Wah Wah that our experience is Bagan was as wonderful as it was. She gave us her heart up until the very end of our trip, when she woke up at 4 am to hug us goodbye and give us little packed lunches, as we headed off on a sunrise cruise down the Irrawadee. My stay at the Ruby True Hotel is one that I will remember forever. Wah Wah is one of the most loving individuals I have ever met. I will always think of her with a smile on my face and a little jump in my heart as I remember her yelling, “good morning” and grabbing me by the hand to get me started on my day, making sure that I miss nothing that Bagan has to offer.

This is the first of 2 posts I will write regarding my trip to Myanmar. I realize that I didn’t touch much on the ruins or the town itself. This is because I am simply at a loss for words to write. Bagan was one of the most magical experiences of my life. I want to return as soon as I can, yet part of me fears ever going back. There’s nothing like the feeling of first setting your eyes on a place so special, that unexpected jaw dropping moment. I’m not sure If I would ever truly return, simply because I don’t want to risk anything effecting the memories I share with my sister in Bagan, Myanmar.

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  1. Wow! What an incredible experience! Your photos are breathtaking, the story is even more so and I am so envious of your go with the flow attitude towards a situation I would have ran back to the airport and left! Sometimes in life you stumble upon what is meant to be and I would say that your story is that! I am excited for part 2! xo C

    1. Exactly! I almost did run back to the airport, there is a somewhat more traumatizing story that occurred upon arrival in Bagan that I decided not to share on the the blog haha. Will tell you another day! Anyways, I’m so happy I stuck it out because you’re right, the experience was wonderful! Hope you’re having the best trip ever back home. In fact, I KNOW you are having an amazing time. xoxox

    1. Yes, sometimes the unexpected is the best! I definitely had to keep an open mind at the beginning to ensure that I will still seeing this positively :P. Hope you’re well!

    1. It’s true! Aside from a few of the main temples, we spent the majority of the time on our own. There were still backpackers, but many of the other tourists we saw were more middle aged people, who were “holiday type traveling” and they tended to stick to the temples you can drive to with a car haha.

  2. Wah Wah made ME smile big while reading this! Its almost like you were led to this hotel by an invisible good force! Amazing story from an amazing place!

    1. Exactly! Wah Wah was meant for us! I think you two should meet one day, you would find her sooooo entertaining Vio. In fact, I think you would love Myanmar in general. It’s such a relaxed and happy place.

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