Sitting on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, located 290 kilometres southwest of Mandalay and 700 kilometres north of Yangon is the city of Bagan, of which the mysterious ambience, ancient temples and rich local culture has captured tourists' interest in many years.
2. HOW TO GET TO BAGAN
To be noted that, there is no international flights to Bagan so that you have to use domestic transfers to get to this destination.
There are a variety of choices for you to choose depending on your time and budget from luxury cruises, airplane to overnight bus and train. Below are some information for your reference:
By Cruise: Luxury cruises are operated on Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers of Myanmar offering a unique chance to contemplate the country's hidden charms and peaceful nature. There are many cruise ships including Bagan in their itineraries along with many beautiful destinations of Burma. Therefore, if you want to enjoy a relaxing river expedition with excellent service. Don't hesitate to choose this mode of transportation.
Day cruise from Mandalay to Bagan and vice versa is also available with a cheaper price and standard services.
» For more information about Myanmar river cruises, contact us for more details.
By Plane: Flight from Yangon to Bagan takes aprx 1 hours and 20 minutes; Inle Lake - Bagan (40 minutes); Mandalay - Bagan (30 minutes). The price is pretty expensive, starts from 80,000 kyatt (about $53USD) for a one - way ticket.
- Pros: Fast, good service
- Cons: Expensive
By Overnight Bus: They have bus routes from Yangon, Mandalay, Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake), Taunggyi, Kalaw and Pyin Oo Lwin to Bagan with comfortable seats, air - conditioning and good service.
- Pros: Comfortable, realiable, cheap
- Cons: Take time
By Train: They have train from Yangon to Bagan and Mandalay Bagan with different kinds of seat class and sleeping cabin.
- Pros: cheap, great view
- Cons: Very slow, old facilities, take a lot of time (train from Yangon to Bagan takes around 17 hours)
3. BEST TIME TO VISIT BAGAN
Bagan has 2 distinctive seasons: dry (Oct - May) and wet (June - Sept). In which, April and May are the hottest months when the midday temperatures can even hit 40°C. If you visit the area in this time of the year, remember to bring a lot of water, sun proctection items and start off the tour early.
Rainy season begins in June and end in September. However, the precipitation in Bagan is lower than other parts of the country so that it won't affect much on your vacaction. Moreover, this is also the low tourist season with less crowds and lower prices.
The best time to visit Bagan is from October to the end of March when the weather is most enjoyable. The temperature is about 30°C. This is also the perfect time to experience the incredible hot air balloon ride over the temple plain of Bagan.
4. THINGS TO DO IN BAGAN
No wonder that exploring temples is the most popular activity in Bagan where a large number of Buddhist constructions survive from the ancient time. Each temple carries its own story waiting to be discovered. Although some are abandoned or fell into ruins, the sacred and ancient spirit still significantly remains. Don't miss out on a chance to visit these following temples:
Ananda Temple - the most beautiful structure in Bagan temple plain, Thatbyinnyu Temple - the tallest monument of Bagan, rising up the equivalent of about 21 storey building, the bell - shape Shwezigon Pagoda where preserves Buddha relics or Dhammayangyi Temple - the only pyramid temple style.
Furthermore, you can also find a private spot in the massive plain to immerse in the breath of Burmese culture, and enjoy the magical sunset or sunrise of the Golden Land.
Take a Hot - air Balloon Ride
Another way to admire the stunning structure of Bagan temple plain is taking a hot - air balloon ride. The incredible 45 - minute flight leave at dawn and drift over much of the sites, with miraculous views of the mighty Irrawaddy river, distant mountains as well as the entire view of the stupas and rural village life creating a truly once - in - a - lifetime experience.
Sunset flights are also available. If you have a wide budget, should not hesitate to enjoy this experience in Bagan.
- Price Range: vary from $300 - $500 per person (Companies provides the service: Golden Eagle Ballooning, Oriental Ballooning, and Balloons Over Bagan)
- Opening Times: mid-October to mid-March
Riding a Bike around Bagan
As the motorbike is forbidden to ride in order to protect the archaeological site and the distances between temples are quite far from each other.Visiting pagodas and temples with the help of bicycles or e - bikes will make your trip to Bagan more exciting and memorable than ever.
Riding bicycle allows you to go wherever you like, to the famous and lesser - known temples. Stop for a photo or interact with the local. You can also ride to the rural village to get a glimpse of the rural life and be welcome by the friendly people.
You can easily hire a bike in Bagan, from the stores or even in your hotel. The cost is varying, from $4 - 6 per person depending on the duration and the bike you choose. Remember to prepare water and sun-cream for yourself.
Visit a Lacquerware Workshop
Lacquerware is a unique and iconic product of Bagan, though tourists can find it in almost every cities across Myanmar. Then, when in Bagan - the homeland of this sophisticated product, it is a great ideal to pay a visit to where it is made. You will have an opportunity to witness the making of lacquer products with your own eyes. Moreover, the owner will also explain the steps of the process, from using bamboo to create the shapes, to glazing, decorating and applying colors in the design.
Explore the Local Market
If Yangon has the famous Bogyoke market, Bagan also has one which you should spend time exploring around. Nyaung U Market (opened from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm) offers travelers great opportunities to take photos and experience a part of the local life. Here you can find almost everything from fresh fish, vegetables, handicrafts to traditional "longyi".
Location: Nyaung U Market is a local market in the village of Nyaung U to the northeast of Bagan and not far from one of Bagan's renowned pagodas, the Shwezigon Temple.
5. THINGS TO BUY IN BAGAN
Sand paintings is a popular souvenir of Bagan. Each sand painting tells its own story, may be illustrates the local people, the cultural spirit or the history of Burma and Buddhism. This special gift can be bought everywhere in Bagan, mostly around pagodas and temples and has affordable price range.
Lacquerware is the most unique form of Burmese handicraft which is widely used and created. Bagan is considered to be the center of making this special art in high - quality and beautiful design, especially, the black lacquer bowls lined with gold leaf. Some addresses you should consider to buy lacquer ware are Chan Thar Lacquerware Workshop, Golden Bagan Lacquerware Shop and Shwe La Yaung Lacquerware Shop and Store.
Tamarind flake, a unique local sweet that comes from tamarind. Tamarind flakes are made of tamarind paste and sugar, which will impress the visitors with its addictive sour and sweet taste. This unusual local sweet is only available in Bagan, hence remember to add it in your must-try list.
6. DO'S AND DONT'S
- Avoid using your left hand
- Watch where you point your camera
- Respect the local religious customs
- Ride a bike, an e-bike or sit on horse cart for temple experience
- Take extra water
- Climb on temples to protect you and the relics.
- Point your feet
- Touch someone’s head
- Wear shoes in pagoda or on temple grounds
- Leave knees and shoulders exposed when visiting religious architectures
- Party, sleep or climb on pagoda where tourists are not permitted
- Drink tap water
- Visit restricted destinations