A trip to Myanmar is not complete without experiencing the temple town known as Bagan! There is no place on Earth quite as unique as Bagan, once a powerful ancient kingdom in central Myanmar, where 2000+ Buddhist temples and pagodas cover the vast African-like landscape and the Ayeyarwady River drifts down the northern and western sides.
I have put together this complete guide of 5 Awesome Things To Do In Bagan to help you plan your trip!
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5 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN BAGAN
#1 BALLOONS OVER BAGAN
There are several Bagan hot air balloon companies to book a flight with, however, I highly recommend flying with Balloons Over Bagan, the most reputable hot air balloon company in Bagan.
You can book a Bagan Balloon Ride online in advance to get the best rates. The Balloons Over Bagan tour is the most top-rated tour with great reviews and hundreds of bookings.
This tour includes a 5 am hotel pick-up, pre-balloon flight refreshments, a hot air balloon tour in Bagan, champagne breakfast upon landing, a personalized certificate, and hotel drop-off around 8 am.
- Bagan Hot Air Balloon Season: October – April
- Bagan Hot Air Balloon Price: USD $330
Book Now → Balloons Over Bagan Tour
The hot air balloon lifted our basket off the ground with ease and barely any bumpiness at all. The Balloons Over Bagan pilot steered us swiftly across the tops of countless Buddhist monuments that covered the wide-open plains of Old Bagan.
The sun begun to rise up slowly over the horizon in the far distance, emitting a magical orange glow across the entire region. I was honestly left speechless… This moment was definitely one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen!
The airspace was dotted with dozens of colorful balloons as we floated aimlessly across the Bagan Archaeological Area with distant views of Mount Popa and the Ayeyarwady River.
Balloons Over Bagan really put on a show, spinning the hot air balloon around in all directions to give you the best possible views of Old Bagan from your corner of the basket.
As the flight comes to an end you’ll float over peanut farms and rice fields being harvested by the local farmers. Don’t be shy, give them a wave and I guarantee they will give you a wave back!
The Bagan hot air balloon will then descend on the outskirts of a local village and land safely on the sandbanks near the Ayeyarwady River.
Awaiting on the sand upon landing are the crew members from Balloons Over Bagan with glasses of champagne and light breakfast snacks to celebrate! The courtesy bus will also be there waiting to kindly drop you back to your hotel.
Full Blog Post → Balloons Over Bagan
#2 BAGAN TEMPLE HOPPING
Temple hopping was one of my favorite things to do in Bagan!
As there are more than 2000 Buddhist temples and pagodas dotted around Bagan, it is impossible to see them all in a few days. However, a few of my favorite Bagan temples that are not to be missed on your Bagan itinerary are listed below:
- Ananda Temple
- Shwezigon Pagoda
- Dhammayan Gyi Temple
- Dhammayazaka Pagoda
- Sulamani Temple
- Ta Wet Hpaya
Dhammayan Gyi Temple
Ta Wet Hpaya
Shwezigon Pagoda – What to do in Bagan
#3 WATCHING THE SUNRISE IN OLD BAGAN
Catching a sunrise in Old Bagan has been on my bucket list for years and when I first arrived, that was the first thing on my list of things to do in Bagan!
Here is a list of the best sunrise viewpoints in Old Bagan:
- Bagan Tower
- Utrecht Temple
- Sunrise Pagoda
- Ta Wet Hpaya Temple
- From a hot air balloon
Must Read → 2 Week Myanmar Itinerary
Watching the sunrise
#4 SUNSET DINNER BY THE AYEYARWADY RIVER
The ancient temples aren’t the only Bagan attractions to be seen during your visit. A candlelit dinner while watching the sunset behind the mountains on the Ayeyarwady River.
I highly recommend having dinner at the riverside restaurant attached to Bagan Thande Riverview Hotel for the most unforgettable sunset views over Ayeyarwady River.
Take your pick of a western meal or indulge in some local cuisine, complemented by a glass of wine or a cold beer.
Dinner on the Ayeyarwady River
#5 BAGAN E-BIKE ADVENTURES
Last but not least on this list of things to do is renting an E-Bike in Bagan which is one of the best ways to zip silently between all of the best Bagan attractions!
E-Bike Bagan rentals can be found in and around New Bagan, Old Bagan, and Nyaung Yu. If you can’t find a Bagan E-Bike rental in town, simply ask your accommodation and they will be sure to help you get some wheels.
Bagan E-Bikes cost around 5000-8000 Kyat per day and the battery only lasts from sunrise to sunset, so make sure you are fully charged before heading out to explore!
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Bagan E-Bike adventures
HOW TO GET TO BAGAN
There are a few ways of getting to Bagan and that is either by bus, train or plane.
Whether you are on a budget or not, I recommend traveling by bus throughout Myanmar. The main bus companies (JJ Express, Elite, Ok Express) are very efficient and will get you comfortably from A to B.
The cost of bus transportation between cities in Myanmar is on average around $10 to $30.
GET YOUR BUS TICKETS:
Yangon to Bagan / 9 hours / $22
Mandalay to Bagan / 4 hours / $11
Inle Lake to Bagan / 8 hours / $22
GET YOUR PLANE TICKETS:
I search and book all of my flights on CheapOair.com which is the best online flight directory to find the cheapest and most convenient flights in Myanmar.
Search All → Flights to Bagan
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Each foreigner must pay a 25,000 Kyat entrance fee upon arrival to the Bagan Archaeological Area. You may be asked to present this ticket at the entrance to the main temples and pagodas in Bagan, so make sure to carry it with you at all times.
As of late, authorities are preventing the temples and pagodas in Bagan from being climbed by tourists. Most of the temples have now been locked, guarded by security, or fences put up around them to stop anyone from climbing them.
I did manage to find a couple of random pagodas to scale, which I thought were off the beaten track, but I was caught out by some locals who told me to get down and threatened to call the police. So just be mindful of this and respect the authorities should you get caught.
WHERE TO STAY IN BAGAN
Bagan has dozens of accommodations to choose from so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to suit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Bagan Thande Riverview Hotel
Mid Range: Bagan View Hotel
Budget: Maya Bagan Hostel
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN BAGAN, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
Another option for accommodation is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals.
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BEST MYANMAR TOURS
MORE MYANMAR TRAVEL GUIDES
Myanmar Guide: 2 Week Myanmar Itinerary
Mandalay Guide: 10 Things To Do In Mandalay
Inle Lake Guide: 5 Things To Do In Inle Lake
Hpa An Guide: 5 Things To Do In Hpa An
LONELY PLANET MYANMAR
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Myanmar Guide!
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