Bagan was the highlight for me and one of my joys was the horse-cart ride that I took together with my room-mate to one of the temples on our 'free' afternoon. It was wonderful to really experience the landscape close up, rather than being in a coach with a slightly elevated view point and behind glass. From the horse-cart we saw birds and vegetation, we heard the birds singing too and we really appreciated the size of the temples. It was so peaceful, just natural sounds and the clipity-clop of the horse as we joggled along. I could have easily spent a few more days there just to enjoy the spaciousness and the gentle colours of the landscape, but we had to go.......
I was really surprised at how inspirational I found the Teak Bridge visit in the early morning. The Teak bridge itself is quite something, but that wasn't really the treat for me, it was the expansive landscape and beautiful colours in the early morning sky, the reflections in the water and watching the local people going about their morning activities before it gets too hot - fishing from boats or standing in the water waiting, ploughing with oxen or rounding up their ducks. I can't believe how many photos I took! There wasn't enough time for me to get to the other end of the bridge and back again, I was too busy taking photos but others in the group managed it. I would have loved to have been able to return there again to enjoy it some more!
I underestimated how hot I would get, so my advice would be to take many rehydration sachets with you and use one a day say, don't save them incase you are ill, just keep drinking!
I am veggie and I found this trip extremely difficult. The meat and fish eaters were served with delightful looking meals, but mine - steamed rice or fried rice, a few veg sometimes not well cooked and some tofu on a good day - was utterly boring. Very few places served 'western' food such as cheese sandwiches, there's very little dairy or bread!! I made the most of it when I came across it. You can get eggs for breakfast though.
If you suffer with jet lag, as I do, you might want to head out before the group. I did this and it helped me quite a bit. The trip starts very full on with early start after early start and together with the heat - especailly if you've just come from a cold UK - takes a bit of adjustment, the others managed OK, its probably just me. There's plenty to see in Rangoon if you have extra time there, I did extra temples (!!!!). Taxis are pretty cheap so its easy to get around.