- Posted November 16, 2012 by
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Travel photo of the day
Temples and Pagodas in Bagan, Myanmar
- Anika3, CNN iReport producer
President Obama is off to Yangon, Myanmar, on November 17. I returned from there less than three weeks ago after a whirlwind trip to Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, and back to Yangon, photographically covered on my Flickr page.
I chose to go now because this was the first year in a long time that it was easy for an American to get a visa. I wanted to get there ahead of tour groups and the growth of Western influence. The country was fascinating, and I was surprised at the contrast between the less developed spots I visited (Bagan and Inle Lake) and the more developed cities (Yangon and Mandalay).
The oddest thing was the cash economy. Even though I paid for my flights, hotels, and tour guide in advance, everything else was on a cash basis, since there are only a few places in the whole country that accept credit cards. I'm sure that this phenomenon is temporary for the tourist oriented shops, restaurants, and hotels. The tourist infrastructure is quite well developed in the places I went, though there is clearly a shortage of nice hotels in Yangon.
The accompanying photo was taken facing east in late afternoon in Bagan (formerly Pagan) from the top of ShweSanDaw pagoda. You can see dozens of other temples and pagodas from here and can go to the other side of the pagoda for a great view of the sunset.
If you go to Myanmar, you shouldn't miss Bagan, since it is here that you can learn the early history of the country, as well as that of Buddhism in Myanmar.