Two hours before my flight home. Try to make one more post of the trip to Tana Toraja. I decided to use some candid shots to accompany this post as it doesn’t related to anything specific.
“No matter what happens, it is for our own benefit.” I used this axiom to survive and to enjoy most trips.
After resting one night at Makassar, we took the morning bus ride to Tana Toraja. The hotel staff helped me to check on available bus on 9AM. When we arrived at the main terminal at 7AM, there was only 2 seats left at the rear seats.
The 10 hours journey on a ‘not so new’ (positive phrase for ‘old’) bus, plus the winding uphill country road was not the most enjoyable ride. I suspected the fish we eaten at the lunch stop was ‘not hygiene’ (positive word for ‘dirty’), and I have diarrhoea for subsequent days. The two ladies on by left and right keep vomiting throughout the trip, and I am running out plastic bag.
Then it started raining. The driver felt cold and decided to turn off the air-conditioning. We were almost run out of oxygen on for 2 hours. We finally arrived at Rantepao by 8pm and most of the shops were closed.
There was no taxi. The only form of transportation was ‘sitor’. The 3 wheels motorbike taxi which you can barely fit in 2 fat persons. We took two sitors and headed to the guesthouse I paid via Agoda.
After some searching, we found the guesthouse with closed door. After some knocking and yelling, the owner finally come out and greeted us, “Sorry all rooms were full. We don’t recognize Agoda’s transaction.”
Here are a few pointers I gathered from the last visit. Hopefully it could help your first visit to Bagan more pleasurable.
(1) Leave your hiking boot at home, travel to Myanmar on your slipper
one could bare feet in Myanmar 70% to 80% of the time (including your sleeping hours). Every temple prohibits visitors entering with shoe or sock. So it is more convenient to wear comfortable sport slipper or trekking footwear like Keen.
If you are visiting larger temple where you may enter and exit via difference entrances, then it could be practical to bring a recycle bag to keep your shoe in your bag (or hand carry). Some temples still enforce that you could not bring your shoes in plastic bag. In more popular site like Shwedagon Pagoda, many street kids will pass you the transparent plastic bag and demand tips from you.
(2) Shield yourself from the hot sun
We visited Bagan in winter season and yet the temperature soared above 37 Celsius. The weather gets hotter in the summer time (near 40C).
Since Bagan is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the archaeological zone cannot build any modern infrastructure such as tar/asphalt road. So the roads are primarily dirt road, and prepare yourself for the dust.
Sun screen lotion, wide brim hat, light colour breathable (cotton is the best) clothing are essential. Avoid cycling or walking during high noon. Most tourists would spend long lunch or swimming in the hotel pool to cool down. I find a large bottle of Myanmar Beer goes well with my afternoon rest.