OK, so we’ve all heard of Bagan – known as one of the most beautiful cities to visit and explore its thousands of pagodas. But, you may still be asking yourself the question, “Do I need to book one of the Bagan Tours?”
TRAVEL IS LIKE LOVE, MOSTLY BECAUSE IT’S A HEIGHTENED STATE OF AWARENESS, IN WHICH WE ARE MINDFUL, RECEPTIVE, UNDIMMED BY FAMILIARITY AND READY TO BE TRANSFORMED. THAT IS WHY THE BEST TRIPS, LIKE THE BEST LOVE AFFAIRS, NEVER REALLY END. — PICO IYER
In short, no, you don’t need to organise one of the many Bagan tours. And rest assured, we’ve got you covered with the ins-and-outs of how to explore on your own. From where to stay, see and eat, we’ve got everything you need right here at your fingertips.
- Shwe Na Di Guesthouse – in Nyaung U, this central location puts you in walking distance to everything you need including great restaurants & local temples. With great onsite amenities, including dorm & private room options, free breakfast, and bicycles and e-bikes available for hire, you don’t need to look anywhere else!
- Explore Pagodas & Temples – Let’s face it, you wouldn’t be in Bagan if this wasn’t on your agenda! Certain temples are popular for sunrise and sunset – just ask once you arrive and take your pick. To be honest, some of our best glimpses of sunrises and sunsets were away from the crowds; impromptu stops wherever we were. Grab a map and just go with the flow. Stop at any temples that strike your fancy, stay as long as you want, and just take in the beauty of it all along the way!
- eBike/Bicycle Rental – There are multiple companies (and most hotels) renting bikes. We paid 6,000 kyat ($5) for an e-bike & 1,500 kyat ($1) for a regular bicycle.
- Sunset Boat Tours – Contact either Bagan Boat Trips (our top pick!) 4,000 kyat/person ($3) for a 1-hour sunset cruise or Cruise de Bagan to secure your spot on a boat. Otherwise, just show up to the jetty and arrange with the boatmen on site.
- Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Tours – There are currently 3 companies offering tours – Oriental Ballooning, Balloons Over Bagan & Golden Eagle. Whilst we didn’t make the investment in the trip, we’ve heard multiple accounts of how brilliant it is. If you’d go, we’d love to hear your story!
- Moe Pyae Son – Some of the best and cheapest vegetarian food in town…nom, nom, nom!
San Kabar – Specializing in Italian food, the restaurant also offers Chinese and Myanmar food menus – be sure to check it out for yourself!
- A Little Bit of Bagan – Choose from a selection of Indian, Thai, Chinese and traditional Burmese food – you can go wrong!
- The Moon – With a Tagline of “Be Kind to Animals,” don’t expect to find any meat at this vegetarian restaurant. Fall in love with the setting and the food in one of its two convenient locations.
- Make the effort to get up for sunrise; yes, it’s an early morning, but it’s worth it.
- Get yourself settled for sunrise/set early, to avoid the rush and set yourself up to get that perfect picture.
- Be respectful of Burmese traditions; do not climb pagodas with signs advising you not to.