It would be a crime to go to Nepal and not see the mountains. Seriously, Nepal is the home of the highest mountain on this planet(!) However we certainly didn’t climb Mt Everest, and after our little adventure in the Indian Himalayas a couple of years back, even base camp was out of the question, but we got to see that peak in a far distance. It looked really small to be honest but that was mostly because we were so far away. However we did go on a sunrise walk where we had company of the Annapurna range with peaks over 8000 m. That was impressive and it almost felt unreal to look at.
We walked through small villages with peaks over 8000 m tall as backdrops to their backyard. At the end of our 12 km walk we decided to paraglide down to the lake again. Well, lets just say it was a great start of a great day!
While in Nepal we took part in The Beyond Workshop. One of the days we went to the outskirts of Kathmandu to try and capture some real life moments of the hard working people of Nepal. We went there to primarily to meet the women harvesting the fields, but next to the fields we found families working at a brick factory in the valley, making bricks with their bare hands.
We talked to them and they showed us how to make bricks, some of them came up to us and wanted us to take their photo without us even asking, even though they were working hard and not really taking breaks, they posed in front of us and giggled as they saw the results on our cameras. We gave some of them polaroid photos as a memory. They told us that they work and live 7 months a year at the factory, then they go home to the village as the monsoon starts. Some of them worked to save money to study abroad, some to support their families. As the sun settled on the horizon the factory ovens were still glowing hot but it was time for us to leave.
Holi festival of color is a religious Hindu celebration that happens once a year. It’s a celebration of the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and end of winter. For us it just happen to be the perfect ending and most vibrant experience on our trip to Nepal.
Our last day in Nepal we went out on the streets in Kathmandu armed with color powder and a smiling face to be part of the big celebration that was going on the streets of the city.
Okay, so if you can’t make it to a sunrise while here in Bagan (there is no excuse! drag you’re lazy ass up from bed and go!) you can aim for the more crowded experience of a sunset. On every map of the area you will find some special temples marked sunset view. Here you will get good 360 views of the fields but you will also be fighting for a good spot at the top with at least 100 hundred other people. The sunset here is amazing but if you don’t get up for an early sunrise you’re missing out.
One more thing to add about Bagan is, be prepared for some serious pain in your behind. Spending your time on the saddle of a worn out bike all day is the best way to go, but it comes with it’s sacrifices.
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
The main goal on our trip to Myanmar was to see the surreal temple fields surrounding a little town called Bagan. Here mighty kingdoms from the past displayed their faith and wealth by building the over 2000 temples that are scattered on around the fields. Tourism found it’s way here ages ago but because of shear size of the site, you can easily find yourself all alone climbing onto one of the more inaccessible temples. The best way to explore the temple fields are to hire bikes and go early, before the sunrise. Biking out on the pitch black fields with the stars above lighting your way is just that an amazing experience.
The first morning we found ourself on the top of the most popular pagoda with maybe 20 other people waiting for the sun to show, but on the second morning we aimed for a lonely temple we’d seen the day before. On our way there Fredrik’s bike broke down but with the help of friendly locals we had it fixed and as the sun started to climb over Mt. Popa we climbed the stairs of the pagoda all alone for an unforgettable sunrise. As the sun colored the sky, hot air balloons started to take to the sky in the distance and for a while you feel like you’re in a movie.
Going to Myanmar, taking the crazy bus ride from Yangon to Bagan, and getting up in the middle of the night two days in a row may seem like a crazy thing to do. But when you’re sitting there in total silence, all alone watching the silhouettes of countless pagodas appear before you, you know it is all worth it.
Here in Bagan the menu at the local restaurants usually looks like this:
– Fried noodles (chicken/pork/beef/vegetable)
– Noodle soup (chicken/vegetable)
Lucky us that we love noodles for breakfast! Surprisingly one of the best noodles we had in Bagan was actually at the place we rented our bikes for three days, Thumbs up Ever top!