Bagan is one of Myanmar’s most whimsical locations devoid of large groups of tourists and fast-paced development and noise that have filled nearby Yangon.
Bagan — predicted to be the next UNESCO world heritage site — is home to more than 2,200 temples and the most stunning views. Considered as one of the most picture perfect destinations in Myanmar, Bagan — with its Africa-like landscape and tranquil environment — is the place to go if you want to experience both the beauty and culture of the country.
Though considerably quaint, Bagan is filled with attractions both for those who love adventure and for the folks who prefer peace and meditation. Don’t miss the most popular activity here — balloon flight at sunrise. Get a gorgeous view of the sun and the landscape from up above. Go on a temple hopping activity — with more than 2,000 temples in the area, you’ll never run out of options. Have an intimate experience with the local scene and learn more about their way of living by visiting Minnanthu village. For adventure seekers, you can explore the vast surroundings — which will surely make you feel like you’re in an African savannah — by renting an e-bike.
The fastest way to get to Bagan is via plane. Flying from Yangon to Bagan is possible via Asian Wings, Golden Myanmar Airlines, and Myanmar National Airlines. Fare starts at USD 118. Online booking is available in Asian Wings and Air KBZ websites.
Another option is to take the midnight train from Yangon to Bagan. Trains often leave the station at 16:00 and would arrive at Bagan around 10:00. Fares range from USD 15 to USD 50.
The generally accepted currency around Bagan is Myanmar Kyat (MMK). Paying in USD may be useless in many establishments except for hotels and restaurants. ATMs and money exchange centres can be found in the town proper. Bring new bills as old, torn bills are often rejected here.
Bagan is a tropical location which has dry and wet seasons. Dry months start in March and can last up to May with temperatures reaching 43 degrees Celsius. Wet months last from June to October. The best time to visit is between November and February — the temperature is relatively cooler and there are fewer rain showers that could affect your tour around Bagan.
The most popular way of getting around Bagan is via e-bikes and traditional bikes. E-bikes are battery-operated and are expected to last for 8 hours. If the battery dies along the way, you can call the operator to fix it for you. You can rent an e-bike for MMK 8,000 a day (USD 6). Bicycles, on the other hand, can be availed at USD 1.5 to USD 3.5.
The local dishes of Bagan incorporate gentle flavors and tropical ingredients. Grab a bite at Sanon and indulge in a variety of small-plate, shareable dishes like catfish curry, watercress, and onion pakora, and pan seared river prawns. Kyaw Kitchen offers a creative take on traditional Burmese dishes with their grilled river prawns, risotto ala Burma, and butterfish curry. For dessert, head over to Black Bamboo — they serve the best ice cream in Bagan.
Said to rival the famous destinations Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, Bagan is Myanmar’s gem. Be amazed by its beauty and its rich history.