Wrapped on two sides by the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, with over 2,000 religious Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins dating back more than 1500 years of history, Bagan is a must-go destination in Myanmar. Unlike the dense forested stone Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bagan features a dusty plain interspersed with brick vestiges and sparse outcrops of straggly trees.
Visitors are extremely astonished at centuries-old monuments; from shape to construction, each building manifests Buddhism religion and each component part takes on spiritual meaning. With such a vast number of sites, it isn’t difficult to find your own path to discover Bagan away from the crowds.
While sunrise and sunset get busy, the light is often magical after and before these lightshows — and the temperatures kinder. Make sure you will take an idyllic sunset boat trip on the tranquil Ayeyarwaddy River to observe the stunning sunset over Bagan and conquer the hot atmosphere by a cold drink. It is a memorably reminiscent place to visit and explore.
Things to know when coming to Bagan
When coming to Bagan, here are a few things you should know:
1. Entrance fee: Bagan has an entrance fee that needs to be paid upon arrival. It grants access to the archaeological zone and costs around 25,000 kyats per person (subject to change).
2. Hot air balloon rides: Bagan is famous for its breathtaking sunrise hot air balloon rides. If you’re interested in experiencing this, make sure to book well in advance as slots fill up quickly.
3. Temples and pagodas: Bagan is home to thousands of ancient temples and pagodas. Respect the local culture and customs by dressing modestly, removing shoes when entering religious sites, and refraining from climbing on delicate structures.
4. Exploration options: There are various ways to explore Bagan. You can rent an e-bike, hire a horse cart, or even take a traditional horse-drawn carriage. These options allow you to navigate the region at your own pace.
5. Sunrise and sunset: Watching the sunrise or sunset over the plains of Bagan is a magical experience. Find a great vantage point, such as Shwesandaw Pagoda or Buledi Pagoda, to witness the stunning views.
6. Weather and packing: Bagan has a tropical climate, with hot summers and relatively cooler winters. Pack lightweight and breathable clothing, a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Also, carry a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.
7. Food and drinks: Bagan offers a variety of traditional Burmese cuisine. Don’t miss out on trying local delicacies like Shan noodles, tea leaf salad, and traditional curry dishes. Stay hydrated by drinking bottled water, and be cautious with street food to avoid any stomach issues.
8. Cultural etiquette: The people of Bagan are warm and friendly. It’s polite to greet the locals with a smile and ask for permission before taking photographs, especially of individuals. Engage in interactions with respect and openness.
Remember to visit official tourism websites or seek local advice for the most up-to-date information, as things may change over time. Enjoy your visit to beautiful Bagan!
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