During our holiday in Myanmar, the most magical place of all was the ancient city and archaeological area of Bagan, which hosts more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments from the 9th to 13th century. The best advice that someone gave us about things to do in Bagan: rent an electric scooter from your hotel and just drive around the archaeological area and explore remote areas with different types of Buddhist temples!
Exploring Buddhist Temple in the archaeological zone
You can reach Bagan by the Irrawaddy river from Mandalay or by bus or flight from most places in Myanmar. However you arrive, you will be stopped and asked to pay a fee to enter the archaeological zone – make sure you carry this ticket around you at all times, unless you want to pay twice! We spent two full days exploring the famous and also many remote temples (including a little spooky night scooter ride) and loved it.
Sunrise & Sunset
Since recent years, tourists can book a balloon ride to see the sun set over Bagan. Apparently, it’s a magical experience, but as it costs around $200-300 per person, we decided against it. It turned out to be a good decision, as it was just as nice to see all the balloons rise into the sky with the rising sun above the temples in the background.
And we were also blessed with stunning sunsets around one of the main temples…
Most hotels offer a shuttle service to one of the temples or lookout points from where you can see the sunsets. No matter how you decide to view it – be prepared to get up at 3am!
Bagan has been devided into Old Bagan / archeological zone in the north and New Bagan in the south, as Bagan expanded due to the rise of tourism in the 1990s. With a population of 200,000, it still feels fairly rural in most places and you can discover different aspects of local life of the Burmese.
All in all, if you plan to visit Myanmar, Bagan is a must-see place that will inspire you visually and culturally. I hope this post excites you to go and visit Myanmar and explore this fascinating country! If you have already started with your itinerary, please also check out our post about Yangon and Inle Lake.