Have you ever fallen in love with a place before you even got there? Ever since the first time I saw a picture of Bagan at sunrise, I obsessively scoured Instagram looking through other people’s photos, dreaming of a time when I would be there myself. My dream came true last year when I finally got to explore the Burmese plains and took over 3,000 photos during the 3 days that I was there. Even the great explorer, Marco Polo was in awe of this place, calling it “one of the finest sights in the world”. Continue reading
Yangon is filled with hundreds of pagodas and other religious monuments, and you could spend days exploring them. But this was the first leg of our trip and we didn’t want to get temple-fatigue, so we only visited a few. The following are some of our favorite religious shrines found around the city:
This morning Fausto had a little celebrity moment when he came out of the temple and ran into a bus load of locals on their way in. They were quite excited to see a white person, so they started to shake his hand and take pictures of him. Then everyone wanted to be in the photo with him. One lady took possession of his arm and wouldn’t let go. I was relegated to the sideline while Fausto soaked in the limelight. Then another white guy walked by and they couldn’t decide who to take pictures with, so they got both of them to pose together. It was a little surreal, we were not sure what was going on, but I think Fausto enjoyed himself.
This morning we woke up early and rode our bikes out to one of the temples to watch the sunrise, and were rewarded with the sight above. The hot air balloons rising over the temples of Bagan in the early morning makes for a magnificent sight. In addition, with the thick fog rolling in from the river, it also creates a sense of mystique to the whole shot.
Hanoi, Viet Nam
This picture was taken of Tran Quoc pagoda, located on a small island near the southeastern shore of Hanoi’s West Lake. This temple dates back to the sixth century, making it one of the oldest in the city. The main tower consists of eleven octagonal floors representing the various stages of of Buddha’s life. On the grounds of Tran Quoc, you’ll find a bodhi tree, supposedly grown from the cutting taken from the original tree where Buddha sat and achieved enlightenment.
Standing on the shore, you can see the pagoda clearly reflected on the surface of West Lake. Even though it’s in the middle of a noisy bustling city, there is a sense of calm and tranquility when you step onto the island. People speak in hushed tones in deference to the religious silence observed throughout the temple. Like many people over the years, we had gone there to pray and pay homage to Buddha when we visited Vietnam a few years ago.
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