The place that should be on everyone’s bucket list!
Situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, we were blown away by the sheer expanse and magnificence of Bagan. Historical and peaceful, the temples and pagodas in this archaelogical site are a marvellous sight to behold.
With thousands of pagodas, I will not tell you which ones you should visit. Every one that we explored has its own unique character, shape and story. The amazing thing is, regardless of size, there is always a buddha sculpture in each of them. The big temples such as Shwesandaw and Ananda are the tourist draw and can get really crowded so head out early to secure a good spot for sunrises or sunsets. We found the smaller ones way more fun to explore! Savour a more peaceful experience at smaller temples such as North Guni- we had to squeeze through narrow stairwells and tight arches to get right up the top, where we are rewarded with a private experience and the sunsets/sunrises were equally marvellous, it felt like the place was ours.
Bagan sunrises are stunning, with rays peering through the morning mist and hot air balloons flying across the plain as the sun slowly rises, bringing warmth and illuminating the pagodas across the ocean of green.
That being said, Bagan is the perfect place for a hot-air balloon ride! It is a fantastic way to have a collective view of pagodas that dot the landscape. We flew with Eastern Safari and had a great time, right from the start where we were picked up in a cool vintage van from the hotel, to savouring the panoramic views from the top, and having the experience completed with a champagne toast. Tickets are seasonal and its recommended to book well in advance.
Rented electric bikes were our option to get around Bagan. Roads are well-paved and the dirt paths are fairly easy to ride through and explore. In our opinion, far more exciting than having a guide or a car. Ride into the countryside discover the smaller and less visited temples, you will be amazed at what you find. Be prepared to take off your shoes when you step foot into the temples, it is only respectful.
Oasis Hotel was our choice of stay and we loved the location of Nyuang U. It is a short 10min e-bike ride away from the archaeological site and away from the touristy areas of Old/New Bagan. For food and drinks, we turn to our cozy little restaurant "A Little Bit of Bagan” that offers free WIFI and rentals of e-bikes. Be sure to try their avocado smoothie!
Our trip has been made further memorable by the warmth and hospitality of the Burmese friends that we met on this journey, who has been so kind to share with us so much about this amazing place.
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