In July 2012 I traveled to Myanmar with fellow travel blogger The Most Alive. It was a very interesting trip to a country, which was hardly accessible for travelers and tourists for so many years.

Before the mass tourism would come, Ash and I decided to give it a try and visit the country.

One of our stops was Bagan. Known for its landscape we landed from Yangoon with Yangoon Airways with 9 hours delay on a hot Wednesday afternoon. It was good to feel dry heat again after having lived a year in Bangkok where humidity is king.

Bagan what? Old, New, different?

We checked into our lovely little guesthouse called Royal Bagan Guesthouse and walked around town. The guesthouse was located in New Bagan. The area in Bagan is divided into three different towns. You will find New Bagan in the south, Old Bagan about 3 km’s north of New Bagan and in the north, about 3 km’s to the east of old Bagan you will find Nyaung Oo, which seems to be the newest town in the area and is also located to the little airport.

What to do in Bagan

Bagan is known for its landscape of Pagodas. While you descent you will already see hundreds and thousands of Pagodas as far as the eye can see. Obviously, that is also why you are going there and so far this is also the only thing you can do: Watch Temples, Payas and Pagodas.

what to do in bagan

The easiest way to go and check them out is by bike. Most guesthouses and hotels are renting them out and it’s the easiest way to get around.

One day is enough to see the biggest temples and some of the small ones and see the sunset. If you have a lot of time in Myanmar and don’t want to rush things stay for two days.

If you decide to rent a bike and bike around the country I’d recommend to bike from one part of town to the next and do a whole round: New Bagan-> Old Bagan -> Nyaung Oo -> New Bagan. This will keep you busy for the day and you will sleep very well at night!

How to get to Bagan

Flying

There are a couple of ways to get to Bagan. The easiest and often the fastest (unless your plane brakes down and maintenance takes 9 hours) is flying. There are several airlines that offer direct service from Yangon. Flights vary between $99 – $115 one way.

 Yangon Airways

Air Bagan

Air Mandalay

Bus

There are several bus operators that connect Yangon with Bagan and also retour. They don’t have websites and schedules can vary. Best option would be to ask tour operators when in Yangon.

Most buses are overnight buses and leave around 6 PM and arrive in Bagan at 5-6 AM. The fare is between 15 000 – 18 000 kyat ($16-19) one way.

Most of the time a water is included in the fare. Make sure that you are wearing warm clothes. The buses are moving freezers.

Car

You can travel from Yangon to Bagan by car but it is only allowed with a guide provided by the government. Traveling in Myanmar is still very restricted and the government only opened a couple of cities for tourism.

Have you been to Bagan or do you plan to visit it when in Myanmar? Let us know your opinion in the comments blow!

Bagan at dawn

Sunset over Bagan

Temple in Bagan

yoga in bagan

pink temple in bagan

Pagodas in Bagan

inside temple in bagan

temple in bagan

 
Sebastian Canaves

Sebastian Canaves

Publisher & Marketing Consultant at Transit Media
Sebastian is the main contributor of Off The Path. He has been writing here for more than three years. Until today he has traveled to more than 60 countries and lived in more than 7 countries around the world including Australia, The Netherlands and Thailand.
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@offthepathcom

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22 Responses

  1. Waegook Tom

    These photos are stunning! I’m seeing a lot about Bagan lately and, as a complete temple geek, it’s making me REALLY want to go to Myanmar. Shame about the 9 hours maintenance getting to Yangon, though?!

    Reply
  2. Escaping Abroad

    I’ve seen a lot of blog posts recently about Bagan but I have to say your photos might be the best yet! Which method of transport did you take? I don’t think I’d like getting a plane from a sketchy airline.

    Reply
    • sebastian

      We flew into Bagan with Yangon Airlines and took a bus from Bagan to Inley Lake and from Inley to Yangon. The bus ride between Inlay and Yangon was the worst I’ve ever been on. Ask if the bus operates new or old buses. We were in an old one and saw a couple of new buses going the same way. They also paid less than we did!

      Reply
    • sebastian

      Thank you for your nice words! We flew into Bagan from Yangon and took the Bus from Bagan to Inley Lake and from Inley to Yangon. Bus is much cheaper but the roads aren’t that nice.

      Reply
  3. Andrea

    Great photos! I plan a visit there in 2015. How long is the bus rode from Bagannto Inle lake? My family is from Burma, my dad, grandma and a lot of family were born and raised in Yangon.

    Reply
    • Erohisms

      The bus from Inle Lake to Bagan took us about 9 hours, so I would assume the same. Make sure you book a room in Inle Lake in advance! Or you may end up in a monastery: http://erohisms.com/impressions-of-inle-lake/

      We recommend taking the night buses in Myanmar, it’s much cooler, even freezing. Just make sure you get a newer bus. Our worst bus ride was a day bus from Bagan to Mandalay–windows open and hot.

      Reply
  4. Feli

    I also loved Bagan very much. We explored it by horse, bike and balloon. The ballooning was awesome (everyone who wants to do it: book ahead). As the city is hot and dusty it is a good idea to jump in the pool of some of the other hotels for 5 dollars. We stayed at Pynsa Rupa which was very nice. To get to Mandalay we took the boat up the river because we had enough of the bus rides, too :).
    The best restaurant: “A little bit of Bagan”.

    Reply
  5. Jo

    I went to Bagan in January. I totally fell in love with the place. It’s so mysterious and the views are amazing. I love your photos!

    Reply
  6. OCDemon

    This is like Persepolis or Petra…looks like a whole city just waiting to be explored. Aaaaand back to checking flight prices to Southeast Asia!

    Reply
  7. Angela G

    Brilliant Bagan – So many buildings to see dotted around the countryside. Very hot most of the year except when it rains. Overnight bus from Rangoon is horrible experience, the sleeper train is much nicer but takes slightly longer !
    Take the plane if you are short of time. Hire a horse and cart if you are only here for one day, it covers a lot of ground, most of the main temples and it much less sweat inducing than walking or cycling, however if you use the latter methods of transport you can get to see unique views etc.

    Reply
  8. MaineSqueeze

    I will be in Bagan for an entire week in a couple of days– half work, half pleasure. From what I can tell Bagan is all temples, but what about Yangon? Isn’t there some contemporary art and some cool street fashion in this area? Any info appreciated…. Thx!

    Reply
  9. Mare

    We plan to go there during Christmas holiday later this year. Thanks for all the helpful tips of best ways to get there & to get around to see the pagodas!

    Reply

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