AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN BAGAN!
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 5am hotel pick-up, pre-balloon flight refreshments, hot air balloon tour in Bagan, champagne breakfast upon landing, personalised certificate and hotel drop-off around 8am.
- Bagan Hot Air Balloon Season: October – April
- Bagan Hot Air Balloon Price: USD $330
Book Now → Balloons Over Bagan Tour
MY EXPERIENCE ON BALLOONS OVER BAGAN
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
Speechless views – Things to do in 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 – Things to do in Bagan
Ta Wet Hpaya – Bagan Trip
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 – Things to do in Bagan
Bagan Sunrise – Things to do in Bagan
#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 is one of the best things to do in Bagan!
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 – Things to do in Bagan
#5 BAGAN E-BIKE ADVENTURES
Last but not least on this list of things to do in Bagan 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 Skyscanner.com which is the best online flight directory to find the cheapest and most convenient flights in Myanmar.
Search All → Flights to Bagan on Skyscanner.com
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
BEST MYANMAR TOURS
MORE MYANMAR TRAVEL GUIDES
Myanmar Guide: 2 Week Myanmar Itinerary
Bagan Guide: 5 Things To Do In Bagan
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 Travel Guide!
BUY NOW ON AMAZON → LONELY PLANET MYANMAR
Another option for accommodation in Bagan is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals!
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WHAT TO PACK FOR BAGAN
Everyday Backpack: One of the best backpacks on the market! The Nomatic 20L Backpack is perfect for on the go adventures. Featuring multiple storage spaces for valuables, drink bottles, chargers, notebooks and more. This sleek backpack was designed for you.
Universal Power Adapter: Don’t leave home without one! I highly recommend getting this Universal Power Adapter so that you are able to charge all of your electronics when you’re on the road. Compatible in Asia, UK, Europe, Africa, USA, SA and Australia.
Hidden Money Belt: I never go on a trip without one! The best thing is they are always out of sight, hidden beneath your clothing. With RFID blocking, they are perfectly designed to keep your credit cards, cash and other valuables safe when you’re out adventuring!
Waterproof Phone Case: A waterproof phone case is a must-have item! This universal case will keep your phone safe from water damage, sand and scratches during your adventures. Suitable for all smartphone models.
Portable Charger: One of the best portable chargers on the market! The Anker Power Bank keeps your phone and accessories charged on those longer adventures. Featuring 2 USB charging ports, rechargeable battery, works with iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Oppo and Android.
Microfibre Travel Towel: To pack a towel or not to pack a towel? A standard bathroom towel can take up a lot of space in your travel bag. Get your hands on a quick-dry Microfibre Travel Towel which is perfect for the beach, backpacking, camping and general traveling.
Rain Jacket: A light-weight rain jacket is an absolute must when traveling! North Face waterproof rain jackets come in both men and women sizes, featuring a breathable mesh lining and adjustable hood that can be tucked away inside the collar.
Kindle: The best alternative for books! Kindle e-readers are perfect for long haul flights, reading on the beach or a quiet evening away from the bars. Kindle’s are waterproof with rechargeable batteries and adjustable light settings to suit indoor/outdoor conditions.
Packing Cubes: My favorite item in my backpack! Perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear and more. This 5 Set Packing Cubes makes packing easier and more efficient, adding extra space in your bag for your next trip.
Activated Charcoal Tablets: Want to avoid food poisoning? Most of us have been a victim of travelers diarrhea from eating street food. Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets are fast-acting and will rid your system of the bad bacteria that causes stomach upset.
MY CAMERA GEAR
Everyday Camera: The most affordable mirrorless camera on the market! I personally use the Sony A7ii Mirrorless Camera on all of my adventures. It’s compact, lightweight and super easy to use for all levels of photography. A 28-70mm Sony lens is also included.
Drone Camera: Take your photography to new heights! The DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone is at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality images and video, easy to control functions and traveler-friendly capabilities. I guarantee you won’t regret purchasing one.
GoPro Hero 8: One of the most popular cameras on the planet! I love using the GoPro Hero 8 for all of my underwater shots and fast-paced adventures. The GoPro Hero 8 captures the best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use!
Camera Bag: My favorite camera bag I have ever owned! The Lowepro Protactic 450 AW II Camera Bag features a waterproof rain cover, drink bottle holder, padded compartments for cameras, drones, lenses, accessories and it also has a laptop pocket.
Selfie Stick: Everyone loves a good selfie, right!? The Sandmarc Metal Edition Selfie Stick is sleek, stylish and can extend to 1.2m. I find it much easier to take photos and videos with the GoPro when it is mounted to the Sandmarc Selfie Stick!
Camera Tripod: The Joby GorillaPod is suitable for all cameras. This tripod is easy to use and perfect for setting up a time-lapse video or even using it as a selfie stick. The legs are flexible so you can wrap it around a tree or a pole to get creative with your shot.
GoPro Dome: Have you ever wanted to capture those under/over water shots with the GoPro? This epic underwater GoPro dome housing is the best camera accessory to have to create the perfect 50/50 shot. I use mine every time I am in the ocean!
Memory Card: The best thing about SanDisk Extreme Pro is that it delivers maximum speed for images and videos. Having 64GB of storage means that you can store hundreds of files on this SD card for 2-3 days and not have to worry about running out of space.
External Hard Drive: As a photographer, my images and video files take up a lot of space on my MacBook so I use the WD Elements External Hard Drive to store everything. With 4TB worth of storage space, this is more than enough for 1 years worth of content.
ONLINE ENGLISH TEACHING
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Before you go from this things to do in Bagan post, don’t forget to check out My Online Shop!
I’ve got a wide range of digital products for sale and I’m sure you’ll find something that will come in handy during your travels!
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FINAL THOUGHTS OF THINGS TO DO IN BAGAN
Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions about Things To Do In Bagan please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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