Populated by settlers dating as far back as the 9th century, the rolling plains of Bagan are home to some of the world’s oldest and best-preserved concentration of Buddhist monuments and pagodas.
Experience Bagan, as part of our 9-day Highlights of Myanmar escorted tour. Visit the 11th century gilded stupa (dome-like structure primarily used for meditation and reflection) of the Shwezigon Pagoda and its sacred Buddhist relics, believed to enshrine bones and a tooth of the Gautama Buddha. Explore the long, winding corridors of the mysterious Kyansittha and Gubyaukgyi cave temples, renowned for their historic frescoes lining the walls. If you’re up to the challenge, ascend the imposing steps of the Shwesandaw Temple in time for sunset, rewarded by panoramic vistas of the Bagan landscape and its golden temples.
Admire the Indian-influenced Mon architecture of the Ananda Temple, considered Myanmar’s finest, and gaze at its four-iconic standing Buddhas and intricate murals, before departing for traditional Min Nan Thu Village by horse and cart. Marvel at the meticulous wooden carvings of the Nat Htaung Kyaung monastery and witness craftsmen creating lacquerware at the Maung Aung Myin Lacquerware Factory.
Tour Mandalay Yangon
“There’s no better way to take in Bagan’s incredible landscape than by hot air balloon. The views are spectacular, truly awe-inspiring.”
“I highly recommend a horse and cart trip through Bagan. While slower, drivers may be privy to information regarding little-known sites of interest, and it’s a charming way of enjoying the country’s beauty.”
“Make sure to visit the bustling Nyaung U Market while you’re here – there’s a whole host on offer, from lacquerware and souvenirs to fresh fruit, spices and street food, such as caramelised pork or giant Irrawaddy prawns. A real feast for the senses.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a dress code for the Bagan temples?
As Bagan’s temples are sacred Buddhist monuments containing holy relics, it is required you remove all footwear and cover your legs and shoulders before entering. Failing to adhere to this will result in you being refused entry. Nearby vendors may offer you longyi (a sheet of cloth worn by locals) to help you cover up, but you should not rely on this.
What currency should I bring to Bagan?
The official currency of Myanmar is the kyat, though locals often prefer to be paid in US dollars. Please keep in mind that only smaller denominations of dollars will be accepted, as change will be given in kyat, and many vendors will only accept ‘pristine’ dollars – unfolded and without creases. While cash machines will be prevalent across the likes of Yangon during your tour, they become less frequent in Bagan, and users may incur international withdrawal fees. There is also a maximum withdrawal of 300,000 kyat, sometimes less, which equates to 22 US dollars.
What’s the best way to get around Bagan?
E-bikes (powered by battery that lasts around seven hours depending on usage) and bicycles are a popular method of travel for visitors and are widely available across Bagan. Typically, e-bikes will cost roughly 8000 kyat for the day, while renting a bicycle will cost around 5000 kyat. Alternatively, you can be taken across Bagan by horse and cart. Horse and cart rides will cost between 20,000 to 25,000 kyat – less if you only require a half-day.
Popularly known as the “the city of a million pagodas”, Bagan’s gilded stupas, temples and monasteries offer an enchanting journey through Myanmar’s Buddhist history. Photographers, nature-lovers and historians will be in their element.
Why you'll love Bagan...
• Climbing the steps of the 100 metre Shwesandaw Temple for sunset views
• Exploring the corridors of the Kyansittha and Gubyaukgyi cave temples
• Observing locals craft ornate lacquerware at the Maung Aung Myin Lacquerware Factory
• Seeing the ancient Buddhist relics of the Shwezigon Pagoda
• Trotting across Bagan by horse and cart
• Slurping delicious Myanmar mohinga (a spicy rice noodle and fish soup) and barbecued pork skewers
• Shopping for handmade jewellery and souvenirs at the Nyaung U Market
• Being hypnotised by Bagan from the air on a hot air balloon tour.
• Sketching a copy of the beautifully-preserved 18th century murals of Ananda Temple
Did you know?
• Though historians refute the exact date, the Burmese chronicles cites that settlements were established as early as AD100.
• Bagan’s early Pali title was once Arimaddana Pura – which literally translates to “City that Tramples on Enemies”.
• Myanmar is home to the Kayan Lahwi tribe of the Shan state, known for their use of brass neck rings that serve to depress their collarbones and give an appearance of an elongated neck.
There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.
Sign up to our newsletter
Receive the latest travel inspiration and destination news.
How we tailor make your holiday
The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.