I went on an impromptu trip to Macau to accompany my paternal grandma two Saturdays ago. My cousin from my mother’s side resides in Macau so she brought me out the entire day. The morning started with her picking me up at 9:30am. I was so excited when I saw her two dogs putting their heads outside the window of the car so yes, we had the company of her helper and two dogs as well! My cousin (Jie Jie Seow Yuen) drove for about 10 minutes before we arrived at this place, whereby we had to start taking the stairs that leads to the walking trail from the carpark.
大潭山 / Tai Tam Mountain
澳門 / Macau
The route is 160 meters above sea level and will take you 360 degrees back to the point of origin after walking for about 4000 meters. This could be done in about an hour or less. Throughout the brisk walk, there are a lot of taps so as to quench the dogs’ thirst if needed. This is the reason why we saw so many dogs along the way. When my cousin and her helper let go of the leash of the dogs, the dogs were running around on their own, while we brisk walk and catch up. No matter how much a person trains for his runs, he will never beat the speed of the dogs. Along the way, you will also be able to meet other Macanese and they are so friendly as they will strike a conversation with you while you cuddle with their dogs. One of the hikers was not feeling well and felt like vomiting though. Even though my cousin did not know her, she went around asking other locals if they have mint sweet for the lady to calm down and ease her urge to puke. However, the mint sweet was nowhere to be found. This is one of the major difference between staying in Hong Kong and Macau since it is a slower pace of life at Macau and thus, it is easier for people to make friends since they are.
Additionally, from the top of the mountain, you are also able to take in the gorgeous views of the hotels such as Galaxy Hotel located at the Taipa area depicted on the first, second and third pictures. Shown on the fifth picture, you are able to view the construction of the LRT that will soon be taking you around the Taipa area as well. There is actually a garden and playground area for kids to play at during the trail but since there were no children with us, we skipped it. Towards the end of the hiking trail, we saw the significant stone called the coffin stone, also known as “棺材石” as portrayed in the sixth and seventh pictures. When we arrived back at the original point, which is the carpark, my cousin went to drive the two dogs and helper home before we went about to another place to hike. Just look at the last two pictures above and you will be able to see how excited the two dogs are being in this joyride back home.
I would love going for morning hikes at this mountain if I ever live in Macau!
After an eight hours ride from Yangon, we arrived in Bagan bus terminal at 5:30am on my birthday yesterday morning and someone from Skyview Hotel picked us up to send us to our hotel. We rest for about 15 minutes at the reception area since the rooms were fully booked and we could not check in early. The same driver who picked us up from the bus terminal came to fetch us to a place to catch the sunrise. He charged us 15,000 kyats for the drive from our hotel to the sunrise place and back after watching the sunrise.
Sneak preview of the sunrise
I was so tired from the eight hours bus ride that I forgot to take a photo of this small temple that I climbed on to catch the sunrise. It was an easy climb up to the highest level of the temple although the stairs are steep. Since I am quite scared of heights, I cannot say the same when going down after sunrise though. I took my time to slowly come down after staying at the top for one and a half hours appreciating the view. The climb down is definitely not intensive since I have done steeper climbs at Stawamus Chief and Kawah Ijen during the day and night respectively but it may take some time for the arcrophobic to get used to it.
P/S: You have to wear skirts or pants covering your skin until your ankle area and remove your footwear when stepping foot on any temples or pagoda at Burma so one of the most crucial items to bring to Myanmar is wet wipes so that you will not dirty your shoes after your feet gets dirty from walking barefoot.
Sunrise in details
Since there are more than 2000 temples in the capital city of the ancient Burmese kingdom, being on top of the Bulethi temple provided me with one of the most glorious sunrise views I have ever seen in my life. This is the best birthday present one could ask for! I have been to Ang Kor Wat to catch the sunrise during my birthday last year but it is overly populated and very touristy. Although tourists are starting to go to Myanmar for vacations, there are way lesser people browsing through the temples at Bagan than at Siem Reap. The climb up to Bulethi Temple is comparable to my trip to Kawah Ijen for sunrise as I did not have sufficient sleep the night before and had to work my way for a beautiful view of the sun rising. I heard that Shwesandaw Pagoda has a much clearer and better view of sunrise but we did not have to pay a single cent on entrance fee climbing the Bulethi Temple. My travel companion, Ling Ling kept asking where is the sunrise when we only saw orange, pink, yellow and purple hues in the sky as depicted in the first picture. Once we saw the tip of the hot air ballons surfacing as seen in the third picture, it immediately took her attention away! Shown in the forth picture, the hot air balloon started to fly one by one and as a result, swamps of birds also flew across the sky at the same time as evident from the fifth picture. Keep scrolling down my entry and you will be able to see the sun rising bit by bit and the hot air balloons flying across it one by one. It is such a pity that I do not have better camera lenses to capture the different colours of daybreak and the hot air balloons. After catching the magnificent sunrise, we walked around the top of the temple and saw an artist selling paintings done by him and his teacher for USD$15 and USD$20 respectively. Unfortunately, my house does not have enough space or I would have purchased the sunrise painting, which is absolutely gorgeous! After climbing down the temple, there were ladies selling Burmese traditional clothings and sets of postcards consisting of 10 postcards each. I would recommend you not to buy it as they are selling it at 4,000 kyats for a set of postcards when you can get it at either 1,000 to 3,000 kyats in other temples you will be visiting later.
Will end off this entry with a lovely video of this moment!
My time in Bagan will be up tomorrow morning but I hope to come back again to see the sunrise at the peak of another temple.