On the eastern bank of Ayeyarwaddy river, stands the city from the past, Bagan. Bangan was the illustrious capital of the very first Burmese empire, and it served as a capital for the Kingdom of Pagan for almost 450 years. If you love the sensation of bygone era this is the place you cannot miss.
Myanmar is very hot and humid in the summer season. So the best time to visit Bagan would be the winter season which is from November to February. In summer temperature often goes beyond forty degree Celsius. Bagan seems a bit costlier than Yangon. Hotel prices start from 30 dollars though you can bargain and actually you have to bargain to get the best possible price.
Traveling within the city is tricky. There is taxi, which is not too expensive (cost around $30 to $35/day), there is horse cart which is very cheap ($15-$20/day) and in times of rain causes problem. Then there is bicycle and electronic bicycles. These are cheap but ill maintained and in times of sudden rainfall, it is hard to find shelter, also in hot days it could be very uncomfortable. But if you are on a budget vacation and there is no way of sharing a taxi, then this is the best option. There is another fun ride available. That is balloon ride. You can hire a balloon for a day and visit the city, though it will cost you around $320-$350/person.
Most of the hotels are in New Bagan or Nyaung Oo. Also most of the temples are in the Nyaung Oo Road or Nyaung Oo township as well. Though there are a lot of temples in Old Bagan, as the whole city is quite big and full of temples. But I would suggest living in the Nyaung Oo town, as you can’t cover this big city by just walking and need to hire some transportation anyway.
Myanmar presents its visitors with some delightful specialized cuisine that you cannot get anywhere else in the world. Bagan itself has some strong beverage and food items on its shelf. Like Bagan style Monhinkha, Pone Ye Gyi and Tamarind Leaf Salad. These are some wonderful dishes that you should try before leaving. Also there are some pretty strong liquor it offers like Toddy palm juice & Sky Beer and Jaggery liquor. Costs are not too high, similar to Yangon. You can have a budget meal three times a day for only $10 to $20 dollars.
It is the largest temple is Bagan, located in Nyaung-U. You can see this massive 12th century beautiful building from anywhere in Bagan. If you are staying at Nyaung-U, you can just walk there. This place has a very mysterious and cruel history. It is said that King Narathu built this place to atone for his sins. Well if you are aware of his sins and believe that it is possible to clean sins by creating holy places, then you should also agree that he needed to build at least couple of thousands of those. For those who are not aware of his sins, some of his notable sins are killing his father, brother and wife. Also he chopped of the hands of the workers who made this temple, for the sake of uniqueness. View more
The only surviving gate of Bagan, located at the old city. This gate was built with 9th century brick. It’s around three and a half kilometer away from Dhammayangyi Temple. But there is a short cut if you are willing to walk. This reduces the distance by more than a kilometer. On Anawrahta Road you need to turn left, then like in 250 meters turn right and go straight. On your right will be able to see the gate. View more
This is one of the finest temples located in Old Bagan. If you are not in Old Bagan then get a transport of your choosing and get here directly.
This place on the left side of Bagan-Nyaung Oo Rd, just before the Tharaba Gate you would be able to see this.
The whole city is like three thousands or more temples in it. You can’t visit them all. Before you go you need do proper research which ones you want to visit and this one you should not miss, as this is in the top four. There some myths attached to each and every temple here. You will hear some surprising and horrible stories that will give you goose bumps, that actually makes your experience complete. Well it is said that King Kyanzittha was shown some vision of Nandamula Cave temple in the Himalayas by eight Indian monks. To show his gratitude King made them this wonderful temple, and killed those architects who built this place, again for the sake of uniqueness.
Another legend says one man and one child were buried here alive so that they could guard the place. You will hear these kinds of stories about a lot of ancient South Asian architectural monuments; even Taj Mahal has a similar story. View more
Another beautiful temple located at the west side of Nyaung U. I would suggest visiting there at night, when the place is stunningly lit up. It is a little more than four kilometers away from Thabara Gate. From Thabara Gate head North West straight and you cannot miss it. View more
Also at Nyaung U, little more than a kilometer away from Tharbar Gate. This is Bagan’s most famous spot for viewing sun set, so leave accordingly. But expect crowd. The place will be very very crowded at this time of the day. If you are walking here take Anawrahta Road, this is a short cut and you will reach here within fifteen to twenty minutes. View more