Bagan (Pagan) the ancient city in the Mandalay, Myanmar. The region of over 2000 temples, monasteries and stupas, one of the most popular tourist destination. This amazing landscape covers around 40 square km. There’s number of things to know before you go, for easier and better sightseeing. The entry tickets are valid for three days. It’s good to book your accommodation in advance, the place might get really busy, and the standard is rather poor.
When traveling to Bagan, Myanmar I met few people in the bus and one of the girls didn’t have a companion to stay with or anything booked. We finally managed to find a double room for 15$ per day – basically two beds and a ‘shower’ – or rather a piece of cut pipe and an old toilet. Anyway I was happy to have a friend for Bagan adventure. First thing I asked her was if she wants to travel with me on a eco-motorbike, as it’s much cheaper when sharing. She agreed and we already had a plan to start early morning with a sunrise over Bagan.
Tips before going to Bagan, Myanmar
There is number of things that are good to know before exploring Bagan, Myanmar. Bagan is under a zone if silence, which means there are only bikes, eco-mopeds and droshky available for rent. The area is really huge so you need to be very fit to be able to bike such distances in a heat to reach all the incredible places. I would never use droshky, as you can’t be sure how the horses are treated, so we ended up with an eco-motorbike. Don’t forget to take a bug spray with you, there’s a lot of mosquitos in the area.
1. Get a maps of the Bagan, Myanmar
On a first day when you get there try to get a map of the place and ask for best temples to watch sunrise. You will need the maps for the rest of the days. There are only four high temples for best sunrise view. Also try driving the eco-motorbike before you rent it, it’s slightly different from the traditional one. The next day I woke up at 4 am, to have enough time to reach the temple. Unfortunately my friend only turned around saying she’s not going. I guess she met some other friends when going out last night and forgot to tell me she changed her plans… Anyway, I’m heading a sunrise adventure in this mystic place. I’m driving in a deep night, the road is completely dark! I’m trying to find the right way to reach the one temple I want for the sunrise.
The way is not that scary when I think about it now, but you can still see the glowing eyes of wild animals on a side road. I barely found the temple, even checking the way the previous day. And after half an hour I’m almost there. It’s 4.30 and quite cold outside. I’m totally sure I’m alone when climbing the stairs to the top of the temple.. where suddenly I find several huge lenses around me. The view from the top is incredible. Some of the temples are lighted and look like golden palaces sinking in complete dark. There whole are is covered by a foggy air when the sun is rising. It’s a fairy-tale landscape. Soon the hot air balloons will cover the sunrise sky above the temples. It’s up to you which perspective you choose for sightseeing.
2. Dress warm, take socks or a scarf
Remember you need to leave your shoes on the entrance, which means you will climb and stay with bare feet for couple of hours. The temperature during a day in march are between 32-40 degrees, while at night can dramatically drop to even 10 degrees. Dress warm for a motorbike and take socks to wear on the top of the temple. My feet were frozen after few hours there.
3. Read the history of the temples in Bagan, Myanmar
There’s often a history board near the temples. Some of the historic facts are really fascinating. Imagine previously there were 13 000 temples in this desert.