Top 5 Things to Do in Bagan 

The land of Bagan in the Mandalay Region has long been known as the city of ancient ruins and pagodas, which outnumbers every other city with the number more than 10,000 Buddhist monasteries and ancient red-brick temples. Today, the plain of Bagan reserves more than 2,000 left, still, it creates such magnificent scenery that enchants any tourist and traveler.

Being one of those people who truly understand the land of Bagan, we would want to note down some tips of what you should do when visiting this ancient land in Mandalay Region. 

Ride the Hot-air Balloon

Once arrived at Bagan, taking a hot-air balloon ride is something you would not miss for the world, even if you are traveling on a budget. Waking up early to catch the first sunlight of the day from high above will melt your heart instantly. 

The hot air balloon is a magical ride over Bagan.

It gets even much more romantic when you can see dozen of other balloons glide along the horizon. 

Explore the Temples 

The sunrise over Bagan is also spectacular from the ground of the ancient red-brick pagodas. 

The Dhammayangyi Temple - a huge pyramid temple

The temples in Bagan, though some are fallen into ruins, some still overcoming the rapid change of time to retain the sacred and ancient spirit of their own. 

  • The Ananda Temple: it is said to be an architectural wonder in a fusion of Mon and adopted Indian style of architecture. 
  • The Gawdawpalin Temple is the second tallest temple in Bagan and built as a place for meditation, devotional worship of the Buddha and Buddhist rituals. 
  • The Dhammayangyi Temple: the temple is a huge pyramid temple which resembles the early steps pyramid of Egypt. In March 2016, people filmed a mysterious triangular UFO with glowing lights hovering over the temple. 
  • The Sein Nyet Sister Temples: they are the two sister temples where are holding a large number of mythical ornaments such as decorative scrolls, birds and animals figures, and ogre-heads disgorging flowers. 
  • Shwezigon Pagoda: from a far distance the pagoda appears to be standing on a hill. For your information, when a drum is beaten on one side, it cannot be heard from the other side of the pagoda. 
  • Sulamani Temple: the temple was built by the King Narapatisithu in 1183 AD and is being a massive cave pagoda structure in Bagan and the entrance is definitely a superb architectural work of art.

Go on a Walking Tour 

The vibe of Bagan is best to explore by going on a walking tour, the sites in Bagan are easier to access by foot. Follow the trails of the footpaths, you will discover the hidden beauty of the people and the scene on the road. On this walking tour, you can even pay a visit to many villages, and local schools.

A walking tour around Bagan will help you understand more about the local life.

Meeting the people from the city of Bagan, you will learn traditional practices and crops, and how the local climate and soils influence Myanmar hospitality, diet, and livelihoods. In case you could not travel on foot, you can use other means of transportation, you can check out getting around Myanmar guide for more information. 

Wandering around the local markets

Nyaung U Market - just like Bogyoke Market, one of the best things to do in Yangon - is the biggest market in Bagan and also offers a wide range of products from daily necessities to fresh food and drinks. 

The market offers a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables

The guide can introduce you and help you dig deeper into the local life of inhabitants and perhaps, they can teach you how to use the ingredients to cook Myanmar’s specialties. Inside the market, tourists and travelers can also have a taste of authentic market’s dishes at the food stalls and try out tropical fruits from the region as well as many more unusual flavors. There are also several other sections in the market that will definitely please the eyes and gladden the heart of many professional photographers. 

Visit Lacquerware Workshops

During the golden era of the Bagan Dynasty between 11 to 13 century A.D, there existed some records of the use of lacquer in Bagan with a few fragments of basketry vessels. Bagan lacquer has its own style and design made by etching needles, which is absolutely different from lacquerware in Vietnam and China. 

Lacquer working tools in a lacquerware workshop

The best thing to be a souvenir from Myanmar is lacquerware. By the time you are visiting the workshop, the local people will explain the process of making them, from using bamboos to create shapes, glaze, decorate, and to apply colors in the designs. Some well-known workshops in Bagan are The Bagan House, the Golden Cuckoo Lacquerware, Jasmine Family Lacquerware Workshop and Ever Stand Lacquerware Workshop. 


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