The VOYA guide to the enchanting ancient city of Bagan, Myanmar.
10,000 temples were built in Bagan, by the Pagan Empire, between the 11th and 13th centuries. The Pagan Kingdom was the first Kingdom to unify the regions making up modern day Myanmar.
Of the 10,000 temples, an incredible 2,200 have survived many centuries of invasions, rebellions and earthquakes. Today each Temple & Pagoda in the Bagan Archaeological Zone are in various states of repair, but all have their unique story to tell. We recommend taking a guided tour and exploring the area by tuk-tuk, taxi or bike to take in as much as possible, as it is a huge space to cover by foot alone.
For an unforgettable experience in Bagan, we recommend waking before sunrise and climbing the Mingalar Zedi Pagoda, which is one of the last temples in Bagan that people can still climb up. Sitting on the side of this Pagoda watching the sunrise over Bagan's temple-dotted skyline and the hot air balloons rising is like no other experience in the world and has remained unchanged for centuries. Take many photos as the hot air balloons start to rise. Remember to dress modestly, cover your shoulders & knees and remove your shoes, as the temples deserve respect, and need to be preserved.
As well as watching the sunrise, watching the sunset is a must-see too. The best place to see this is at the Bagan viewing tower. This tower was purpose-built as a vantage point, so is not architecturally fitting with the rest of the city, but by far has the best sunset view. The Tower has an open air viewing platform on the 12th floor with a bar, perfect to sip a cocktail or have a glass of wine while the sun is setting. For a slightly less crowded experience, check out the restaurants on the 9th and 10th floors, where you can really relax and enjoy the breathtaking view over some delicious food.
If you want an adventure and see the more rural way of life then we recommend taking a day trip to Mount Popa, which is around 90 mins drive from Old Bagan. On approach, the temple looks like a fairytale castle perched on the top of the once volcanic mountain. At its base is the Popa Taungkalat Shrine & Statues, the home of 37 animist spirit entities. The sacred climb to the top is not for faint hearted, the gruelling 777 step climb is quite challenging - particularly in the heat and with monkeys evading! The climb must also be done barefoot, so be sure to take some wipes to clean your feet afterwards!
Bagan is in the "dry zone" of Myanmar.Although the monsoon can arrive in May and can stay until Sept. Year round temperatures are between 23-33* with the exception of Dec, Jan & Feb, when temperatures can get as low as 15*.
Burmese, but in Old Bagan people do speak a little English. We always find learning just one word can really help break language barriers,our one word here was,
Thanks - pronounced ; Chay-tzoo-beh.
VOYA FAVOURITE PLACES TO VISIT
For something different, see the temples from the sky with balloons over Bagan. Arrange a sunrise ascend for the most spectacular views.