The Beauty of Bagan Myanmar (Burma)

Hot air balloon flying in the sky in Bagan at sunrise | Buy My Morning

The Beauty of Bagan Myanmar (Burma)

There are some 2,000+ temples and pagodas across the Old Bagan region, built over thousands of years, with many still visible today. When you arrive, you really do get a sense of taking a walk through living history, with so much of it untouched and unspoil.

Bagan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is encompassed within an archaeological zone, and whilst you can pass through you do need to purchase a ticket, with the proceeds going towards the continued preservation of the sites. We explain more about this ticket further down the page.

If you’re not sure how to get to Bagan, we have put together a page to give you the options, travelling from Yangon to Bagan, or Mandalay to Bagan.

Quick Links:

Exploring the Temples & Pagodas
Our Favourite Spots – The Not to Miss List When Visiting Bagan!
Taking a Balloon Ride Over Bagan
Important Local Information For Bagan!
Where To Stay In Bagan – Accommodation Tips

Exploring the Temples & Pagodas

Once you arrive in Bagan, you are nearly ready to start exploring … but due to the vast region you are going to need some form of transport to get around.

Transport Options

We personally recommend you take advantage of the E-Scooters, these electric bikes should give you a full day of exploring on a single charge. They are also able to carry two persons so don’t be worried, you will see loads of tourists doing the same.

You won’t need to get anywhere at a great speed and to tell you the truth, because of all the mud dust around on the roads (or dirt tracks you may have to use), it’s best to take it really slow.

Pretty much every hotel offers these and even if yours for some reason doesn’t, or has run out, there will be no shortage of places local to you to find one of these E-scooters.

Watching a horse and cart go by in front of a beautiful temple | Buy My Morning

Another option is hiring a Tuk Tuk driver, shop around for the best price but also make sure you have your route mapped out to get the most out of your day.

Dan & Fani posing for a photo outside the Shwezigon Pagoda | Buy My Morning

Archeological Tourism Ticket

Something you will need to purchase before you get started is an archaeological ticket for each person. Expect to pay around K25,000 entry fee (around $16.50 USD), once purchased you have the freedom to explore this area at your own pace for three days.

Our Favourite Spots – The Not to Miss List When Visiting Bagan!

  • Ananda Pagoda
  • Dhammayangyi Pagoda
  • Thatbyinnyu Pagoda
  • Shwesandaw Pagoda (Golden Pagoda)
  • Shwezigon Pagoda (another Golden Pagoda)

Taking a Balloon Ride Over Bagan

This is an experience that we really want to recommend to you, but it does come at a huge cost. We were told that all of the companies set up to deliver these trips in Bagan are European, and everything is done to the highest health & safety standards.

If you’ve travelled around a number of countries in Asia, you’ve probably got your own perception of patchy health & safety but here everything is done to the letter in the book! With all of this added assurance, there is a price you pay for it, and it’s going to cost you around $350 USD each to join the flight.

If you can’t budget for that, then Bagan is still going to be memorable for you, and you can take advantage of watching the balloons fly by close up every morning.

The balloon bus and the team getting the hot air balloon ready for flying in Bagan at sunrise | Buy My Morning

Assuming you are able to take the ride we recommend you shop around for the best price. All companies should include a hotel pick up & drop off, with the addition of a glass or two of champagne after the flight.

Booking online isn’t always the cheapest option either. If it’s one thing we’ve learnt, from tours in Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, … is that visiting the companies office is likely to save you money.

The balloon bus and the team making the prep work for the hot air balloon flight in Bagan, at sunrise | Buy My Morning

We selected Balloons Over Bagan and we couldn’t have been happier with the package. Everything was run like clockwork and it was a perfect trip, with a super funny pilot and an awesome ground crew in support.

As a bonus we got some postcards (perfect gift for the family) and a baseball cap, something that to this day Dan seems to be happy to wear when we travel around outside of the UK.

Flying in the air in a hot air balloon over Bagan, at sunrise | Buy My Morning

Don’t let anything like the fear of heights put you off or the idea that claustrophobia will kick in with the basket, the whole experience is smooth, slightly breezy and tranquil.

It’s almost like you are hoovering with the breeze as it pushes its way through sunrise over the beautiful misty region eventually to a swift landing in a field.

Important Local Information For Bagan!

You should all really beware that there are snakes & scorpions in Bagan, and it’s important you are cautious when moving around the region. In no way whatsoever do we want to put you off going to see this area, but it’s really important you take into consideration where the nearest hospitals are in the event of an emergency.

We didn’t do our research and on day one had an encounter with a small snake taking it for granted that it was non-venomous and was just bad luck we saw one. It was the only one we saw but it was also probably one of the most venomous around and one you really don’t want to get close too.

The thing is Bagan is extremely sandy, warm and dry, add to that a huge landscape of little infrastructure you have an idyllic environment for snakes and other animals to thrive.

Enjoy the region but just consider being extra cautious when you move around especially the more remote pagodas and temples. These little friends could be outside or hiding inside waiting to say hi. 

It also wouldn’t hurt you to go into this situation prepared so check out the latest advice for treating snake bites & wounds.

Where to Stay In Bagan – Accommidation Tips!

– Luxury – Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort Bagan – If you are looking for luxury, a pool and an awesome view out to the pagodas then this is the hotel for you.

– Mid – Hotel Temple View Bagan – We stayed at this hotel and were pleased with the quality & cleanliness of the room, plus the location is very good. They should also accommodate for an early check in if you book in advance (make sure you contact them, it’s not guaranteed).

– Budget – Maya Bagan – Not only is the Maya Bagan in a great location, it includes breakfast and has great reviews … all for a lower price!

If you’re turning up at 05:00 am, it could be hours before you are given access to your hotel room. Either you need to book the night you travel so you can stroll in after 05:00 am and get checked in to go straight to bed, or you will need to wait to the earliest check-in time, typically 02:00 pm (14:00).

We’ve found that if you shop around for a hotel, you will find that if you ask enough in advance they are willing to accommodate an 11:00 am check-in. You may really benefit from a free cancellation booking to achieve this and not leave you further out of pocket with unnecessary expenses.

2 Comments

  1. Mike
    13th August 2019 / 7:57 am

    Thank you for sharing this. Bagan has been on our list for so long, hoping we can book this trip soon!

    Mike

    • Dan&Fani
      Author
      13th August 2019 / 7:57 pm

      Hi Mike,
      We cannot say enough good things about it, hope you get there soon and enjoy it as much as we did!

      Safe travels, Dan & Fani

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