MORNING EXCURSION: Markets and Temples of Bagan
This morning, we transfer by motor coach to Bagan’s largest open market, where fresh produce, meats, spices, woodcarvings, longyis, thanaka, and rattan products are sold every day. We have the opportunity to watch the negotiations and transactions taking place, and if we are lucky, see one of the local women carrying their purchases on their heads. After our walk through the market, we proceed to the gilded Shwezigon Pagoda. This important religious site dates to the reign of King Anawrahta, founder of the Bagan Empire. The construction of this complex spanned both King Anawrahta’s lifetime, as well as his son and successor King Kyanzittha’s lifetime. The golden stupa at its center is said to contain a bone and tooth relic of the Buddha, a gold image of Anawrahta and a Chinese emerald Buddha. After exploring this large temple complex we will say goodbye to the temples of Bagan as our coach returns us to the ship and we set sail.
AFTERNOON EXCURSION: The Art and Sunset Over Bagan
After lunch, we visit a local workshop where the traditional methods of creating lacquerware (known as yun-de in Burmese) are still practiced. After a demonstration of the labor-intensive process required in making each piece, we have time to shop before continuing on our tour. A short coach ride takes us to Gubyaukgyi Temple (Great Painted Cave Temple), where the richly-colored paintings are thought to date to the original construction period in the early 12thcentury and we will also see a sand painting demonstration by a local artist. Next to this temple is the gilded Myazedi Stupa, which offers both a linguistic and a historical significance: an inscription consecrating Gubyaukgyi in four languages (Pyu, Mom, Old Burmese, and Pali), which established Pyu as an important cultural influence in the early Pagan period. For our final stop of the day we proceed to the Bagan Viewing Hill where we will view the sunset over the pagodas and stupas of Bagan before returning to the ship.