Bicycling around Burma's Archaeological Wonders

May in Pagan is low season for good reason. The relentless sun bakes its temple-strewn plain into a shimmering illusion of a chess game—if chess had 2,217 pieces, rather than 34. At midday even mad dogs take refuge, though not straw-hatted tourists on five-day whirlwind tours of Burma shuttling through their checklists of temples in air-conditioned comfort. The heat has its benefits, however. Summer is the time of flowers: thick bougainvillaea blooms in shockingly bright pink, jacarandas litter the paths with purple petals, and flame trees force starbursts of red against whitewashed temple walls. The air is thick with the scents...

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