About Balloons Over Bagan
As Marco polo described “one of the finest sights in the world” now visitors to Myanmar can view the unique and enchanting view of the 11th century ruin as it has never been seen before. Imagine floating over thousands year old pagodas and the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River, as the sun sinks slowly behind distant mountains. Balloons over Bagan provide visitors a unique opportunity to see this ancient kingdom, as it never has been before. The sunrise and sunset champagne flights last just under one hour and take off daily from October through to the end of March.
The balloon is guided by gentle winds not exceeding 15 mph, allowing passengers a serene and bird’s-eye view of ancient temples drifting by using his skill the pilot is able to guide the balloon to a gentle landing on the banks of Ayeyarwaddy River, or in an open field, where the crew and the celebratory glass of champagne will be on hand.
The Balloon over Bagan service operates twice daily early in the morning just before sunset and late in the evening just before sunset between late October and pril.
Bagan was founded in 849 on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy river about 500 kilometers north of Yangon. Today it is only a small town ... with a big past. Bagan once was the capital of the first realm in today's Myanmar, whose area of dominance had roughly the extent of the present Burmese state. Bagan ... today it is, strictly speaking, more of an archaeological site than a town, because more than 2,000 pagodas cover in mostly undamaged condition an area of about 40 square kilometers about the extent of the classical Bagan. Besides that, one finds in this area, which can be managed in walking stages, at least another 2,000 temple ruins. Even though Bagan is less famous than Angkor Wat in Cambodia, it is occasionally compared to the templecity of the Khmer concerning its archaeological importance. Bagan's peak time coincided with Myanmar's architectural peak time in 1044 with Bagan King Anawratha's ascension to the throne. Only one year after King Anawratha's conversion to Buddhism in 1056 by a Mon monk, Shin Arahan, he went to war against the Mon town of Bago to gain possession of holy Buddhist scripts (the Tripitaka), which Mon King Manuba was unwilling to surrender voluntarily. After a siege lasting several months Manuba finally surrendered. Bago was destroyed and the Tripataka was transported to Bagan on the backs of 32 white elephants.But the holy Buddhist scripts were not the only trophies gained from the war. The Burmanese army took 30,000 Mons prisoners of war to Bagan, among them numerous craftsmen and artisans, who in following decades not only enriched, but even determined, Bagan's culture. The Pagodas of the following period were almost exclusively built in Mon style. The integration of the Mon artisans and craftsmen not only caused the pagodas to be built in Mon style, but also led to a so far in Myanmar unparalleled level of construction activity. In 1287 hordes of Mongolian horsemen under Kublai Khan conquered Bagan. The town, at least the wooden, secular buildings, were mostly burnt down. Soon after, the realm of Bagan disintegrated into many, smaller kingdoms and fiefdoms. In latter times the town was not rebuilt. In 1975 a strong earthquake damaged and destroyed many smaller temples and even a number of large and massively built temples and pagodas were harmed. Attractions in and around Bagan This is the most important pagoda of Bagan. According to lore several relics of the Buddha are conserved inside it: a tooth and a number of bones. Therefore the Shwezigon pagoda is primarily not an archaeological site, but a temple serving religious purposes ... one of the most important pilgrim destinations in Myanmar. The construction of the Shwezigon pagoda was started in the 11th century during the reign of King Anawratha, but was completed only during the reign of his son, King Kyanzittha. The pagoda counts as the first building in a unique Burmese style, while older pagodas had been built in Mon style. Like many other pilgrim destinations in Myanmar Shwezigon pagoda was subject to several additions over the course of the centuries. But contrary to other pagodas, among them Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon, the ancient basic structures were only minimally changed.
Often known as Myanmar’s Mt Olympus, Mt Popa is just a short trip from Bagan. Mt Popa, meaning ‘flower’ in Sanskrit, is an extinct volcano set amid beautiful hills. It is the most significant place for Nat spirit worship and has been for over 700 years.
It is a small town about 15 km south of Bagan, down the Ayarwaddy River. U Pone Nya Museum, formerly the Yoke Sone Monastery, exhibits antique lacquer wares, wooden relieves and a large standing gilded Buddha image. The figures carved outside the front of the building are worth seeing. Another place worth visiting is Tha-ta-na Kyaung (Keythar monastery) where Tipitaka texts are housed in a large red lacquered cabinet.
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