Holy shit, look at all of these puppets.

In Bagan, Dhammayangyi Temple is the largest of the remaining four. However, I never even made it inside because this is what's at the entrance:

Puppets. Hundreds and hundreds of puppets hanging from a tree. We arrived right at sunset, and I was so enamored with the dangling puppets and the the amazing light and the cool shadows that I never even made it inside Bagan's largest and most famous temple. 

Up, up, and away

In Bagan, everybody seems to be trying to get the view from above. If they're not climbing to the tops of the pagodas and temples, they're taking a hot air balloon ride at dawn to look down at them. Even though rides here typically book up months out, we got lucky and scored a a last-minute spot with Oriental Ballooning, one of only two companies to offer ballooning in the area. It was not cheap: we paid $400 per person. However, from start to finish the experience was perfectly executed. They picked us up on time, we enjoyed coffee and pastries while the team readied the balloons, and our pilot was professional and experienced. They even gave us a champagne toast after landing — pretty swanky! 

Photo Diary: Bagan

Nyang U Market was one of our first stops in Bagan, and one of my favorite places to photograph. The colors, the food, the produce, the people — there are an endless interesting faces and things to capture. 

Next stop, the no less colorful Shwezigon Pagoda. Sadly, the top of the gilded gold-leaf stupa seemed to have been under renovation.

We ended the day scooting around Bagan on our e-bikes, hopping from one temple to the next. The Bagan Archaeological Zone has about 2,000 remaining temples and pagodas (down from 10,000 from its height in the 13th century), and it's easy to explore them on your own. Don't get me started on the light in Bagan — dusk here is truly magical and the best place to take it all in is on the top of a temple.