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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate in Old Bagan, Myanmar


During the budget hearing (held over FB group chat) of our planned Myanmar trip late last year, nobody mentioned about "staying in a classy hotel bustling with swanky features" which is the kind of talk nobody mentions among the company of fellow backpackers. I was just happy to be going to Bagan, Myanmar that sleeping at the foot of a random temple seems like already a great idea to me. However, everything changed when a marketing person read the signature on the email sent by Ron - one half of Flip Travels website, asking for the usual rates for a group of 10 travelers. Without solicitation we were offered a free stay for two nights at this hotel with a renaissance-age sounding name called The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate.

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Fresh out of the our first morning at New Bagan where we stayed the previous night after a long trip from Yangon, we boarded a van for another 15 minute ride to Old Bagan where most of the temples are located. The van pulled over this hotel located just opposite of the Ananda Temple, with the sun scorching at almost 40 degrees Celsius, we quickly rested at the lounge of the hotel. A few minutes later the General Manager showed up and greeted us. Upon hearing we're from the Philippines, GM as we call him, told us he was also based before in the Philippines and his wife and son are still residing here, he also mentioned that the hotel's head chef is a Filipina.

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10 minutes into our stay and we felt at home already. I walked around the place to check the swimming pool and the first thing I noticed was the towering temples seen from the grounds of the hotel. It certainly gives a feeling of being encapsulated by these ageless temples and ours is just the only modern infrastructure built in between.

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GM hosted us for a lunch and called out Chef Jana who will became a part of our trip as she ended up going with us to Mount Poppa two days later. After lunch we retired to our designated rooms. I shared mine with Dong and Ron while Melo, Reuben and Jerome were on the other while the girls Gaye, Monette and Baby Luna shared another room.

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Back to the budget hearing days. All I expected before was just a place with a tiny bed and just enough place to drop my rucksack. The room that greeted us were decorated with local hard woods and fabrics. It is very spacious that it can easily sleep the three of us with arms and legs outstretched. Lush gardens of bougainvillaea and tropical plants planted over perfecty landscaped soil lined up the walkways leading to the rooms.

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After resting for a couple of hours we went out to bike around Old Bagan to check out the nearby temples. Before sundown we proceeded to Shwesandaw Pagoda to witness our first sundown in Old Bagan. Monette suggested we gobble the bottles of Myanmar Rum, Whiskey and Dry Gin when night falls, but that night we got so tired from seeing some of the most amazing things I've seen. Imagine circling your thoughts while you stare at the setting sun on the horizon while the foreground is littered with structures dating back to many centuries ago. The bike-ride and all, the feast of the senses got so exhausting we all retired to our bed earlier than planned.

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The next morning we got up at around 4:30 am, this time to catch the sunrise at Buledi Temple. After a few hours we returned just in time to feast on the buffet breakfast. Fruits, bacon, eggs, noodles, fresh juices, cakes, sausages, breads and a lot more filled the buffet table. It was a great feeling devouring everything on my plate as  I process the images of the morning bike ride in my mind.

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After going out for another bike ride after lunch, which had the skin of my lips cracking up because of the torrid heat, I came back to join baby Luna, Gaye and Ron at the pool. While I practice my butterfly stroke, a number of Ravens hovered above us and flew nearby.

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We would stay at The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate for another night completing our stay at Old Bagan with a dose of Burmese hospitality and a new friend to boot in Chef Jana. Not originally a part of our plan, notwithstanding the Universe's design it did and now I've an additional memory of Old Bagan that I am really thankful for.

For Inquiries and Booking:
The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate
Email
sales@hoteltharabarbagan.com.mm
Location
Near Tharabar Gate (Old Bagan )
Nyaung Oo Township,
Mandalay Division, Myanmar

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