Famous for its scattered ancient temples, Bagan is in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. 2200 temples remain today of the 10,000 built during the peak of the kingdom, between the 11th and 13th centuries. It’s essentially the Angkor Wat of Myanmar.
Only two days are needed to see the majority of the preserved temples in Bagan. Since we arrived in the morning and left in the evening we only spent one night and had two full days of sightseeing. Flights are available from Yangon with more daily options during high season.
We took a VIP Elite bus for $22 departing Yangon at 9:30 pm. Purchase tickets in cash at a bus stand. There’s one at Dagon center but more throughout the city. Take the latest one because you’ll arrive super early in the morning. Also, don’t book the cheapest option. Allow almost an hour to taxi to the bus station and try to pay $7-10 (9,000 kyats). There are food and snack stands at the bus station. When you arrive look for the bus that matches the picture on your ticket. Your taxi driver will be happy to help you!
We stayed at the Eden Motel #2 for $20 per night and paid an extra $8 for a late check out the next day. May Kha Lar Guest House is another good budget option. Just make sure you book a room with aircon, as it gets super hot during the day.
We paid a taxi driver 65,000 kyats to drive us around Bagan for two days during the low season. When you get off the bus all the drivers are waiting to try to persuade you to ride with them to your hotel in town. Definitely negotiate down the price. We rode on a bicycle sidecar to the entrance where you pay to enter the temples area. Then they moved us into a taxi who we ended up being the man we hired to take us around named Naigh Naigh. This was the nicer way to go because he had aircon in his taxi, and we could escape crowds of kids hassling us with bracelets. Bikes and motorbikes are also great ways to get around, but we were happy to have a driver who knew where to take us. Plus, he was just awesome. We went to Buh La Ti temple to watch the sunrise and a more hidden one for sunset. We even snuck beers up! Naigh Naigh also took us on a half-day trip to Mount Popa. That was intense because of the heat, the stairs and the ferocious monkeys taking food and water bottles out of children’s hands but still really cool. Do everything early or in the evening and go nap midday. It’s just too damn hot.
Aline & Margaret in Bagan, May 2015