Bagan Myanmar is Southeast Asia’s newest gem. More and more people add it to their Southeast Asia itinerary. And rightly so. But how do you secure the right spot for that epic balloon sunrise that you see on all those gorgeous Instagram shots?
Keep reading, and you’ll find out! 🙂
BAGAN: HOW TO GET THERE
Easy peasy; Fly into Yangon (this can be done on a oneway ticket, YAY!), spend one or two days exploring (no more, trust me) and book a sleeperbus to Bagan.
WHERE TO STAY IN BAGAN
Ostello Bello is your best bet. Lot’s of opportunities to meet other travelers, it’s affordable and they serve good food. Myanmar food is generally very fatty and not Southeast Asia’s pride, like Thai Curries or Indo Nasi Goreng, but there are plenty of good options here.
RENTING A MOTORBIKE IN BAGAN
What I love most about Southeast Asia is renting a motorbike and getting lost. And Bagan lends perfectly for it! I’d say reserve at least 3 days for your motorbiking adventures around Bagan. Enough to see.
BAGAN PAGODA HIGHLIGHTS
42 km2 scattered with 4400 pagodas. That’s quite something. Which ones are a must? Don’t frat, here are some highlights:
♥ Gawdawpalin Temple – second tallest in Bagan and a real gem.
♥ Pahtothamya Temple – oldest temple of Bagan with beautiful perforated stone windows.
♥ Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery – wooden monastery with gorgeous wood carvings.
♥ Sulamani – with a beautiful and warming glow it’s considered Bagan’s crowing jewel.
♥ Shesandaw Pagoda – Bagan’s highest Pagoda with viewpoints overlooking the region.
♥ Dhammayangi Temple – the largest of all temples in Bagan and a fine piece of work.
♥ Htilominlo Temple – last Myanmar style temple built.
♥ Mingalazedi Pagoda – has beautiful glazed terra-cotta tiles.
♥ Shwezigon Pagoda – a golden bell shape beauty.
♥ Nanpaya Temple – not the most beautiful exterior, but it has beautiful stone carvings.
WHERE TO WATCH THE SUNRISE?
Alright, let’s get down to business. It might seem super easy to just go down to Bagan and venture out early in the morning for that amazing sunrise everyone seems to chase down here. I know that was our plan. In reality, it’s not that easy.
Ofcourse there’s the Shwesandaw Pagoda, the tallest of them all. And with it’s many viewpoints over the region, it’s a beautiful, yet very very crowded spot.
I’m guessing that’s not what you’re after? I know it’s not what I was looking for.
So where do you go?
Things changed in Bagan after the earthquake in August 2016. Some temples can not be climbed anymore or are even closed to visitors! First and foremost, if I had to recommend the perfect quiet spot, I’d definitely say the Nagayon Pagoda.
However, what I found most useful when it comes to finding the perfect spot, is to just keep asking around. Ask Pagoda key holders, ask locals, ask other travelers, ask everyone! Since things tend to change down here sometimes, this for sure is your best option!
WHERE TO WATCH THE SUNSET
For our first sunset, we went all the way up to the Bagan Viewing Tower. Didn’t like that place too much. Way too many people and you can’t really see the temples from there. Downstairs was much prettier and NO people! Which resulted in this beautiful shot.
THE PERFECT TIME TO GO DOWN TO BAGAN
A small detail, that a lot of people tend to overlook. Yet quite an important one. Especially when it comes to watching that amazing Bagan sunrise.
When is the perfect time to go?
There’s only one rule of thumb for this matter. Go when it’s least hot and look for those cooler less humid winter months.
Why? Because the hotter it gets, the more dusty that sunrise is going to get. And you don’t want to be missing out on those gorgeous orange colors!
Opt for December & January. Although you should be fine between November and May as well!
FULL BAGAN VLOG GUIDE
Watch my Bagan Vlog for a more detailed guide to this amazing place in Myanmar! And don’t forget to support my content by subscribing! 🙂
Enjoy beautiful Bagan! Let me know in the comments below where else you would love me to go explore! 🙂
See you soon! xo