One of the best attractions in the world that claimed its instant celebrity moment nowadays is the magnificent Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. But don’t you know it has a close rival? I can’t tell it can beat Angkor Wat itself but this amazing place in the magical plains of Bagan, a town in Mandalay State in Myanmar will also take your breath away seriously! Bagan is Myanmar’s precious jewels that fascinate visitors with its ravishing scattered temples/pagodas throughout its vicinity. And that number twenty thousands? Well, to be honest, there were at least of those ancient structures rooted in Bagan’s soil. Go chase and count them!
The best way to enjoy the town’s mesmerizing scenery is by renting an eBike (6,000 Kyats/day). It’s the easiest and cheapest way to get to those out of the track temples around Bagan. For those who don ‘t want to expose themselves to the dusty unpaved roads and the striking heat of the sun, well, get a taxi (35,000 Kyats/day – can be shared with if you’re a group).
When renting, be cautious that some of the eBikes are not fully charged so better check it beforehand so you won’t end up dead elsewhere in Bagan (get the rental shop or your hostel’s contact number just in case).
Actually, there are three places that comprise Bagan – Old Bagan, New Bagan and Nyaung-U from which the temples are situated and it’s really vast to think of it! Let me tell you that you can get to these three places with ease just riding your eBike. Bagan is an archaeological site, that means before entering the town you need to pay 25,000 Kyats at the tollbooth around 1 kilometer from Bagan Shwe Pyi Bus Terminal for the entry ticket (it’s mandatory).
Sunrise with those floating gigantic hot air balloon and sunset were most of the visitor’s daily routine aside from the temples. During my stay, I’ve got two both sunrise and sunset. Fair enough! And don’t skip the wonderful setting of ravishing colorful boats of Irriwaddy River, just to make everything else different than seeing the temples in regular time.
Here are two of the important things to note, as Myanmar is a very deeply conservative Buddhist country, foot wears are absolutely strictly prohibited prior to entering the temples. Locals in any gender always wear the undergarment dress to cover their knees so you must need to cover your knees too or wear that local sarong-like thing to experience yourself like a local and I swear, it’s pretty awesome.
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Where to stay
Located at New Bagan, Northern Breeze Guest House comes with 3 bed rooftop AC dormitory rooms with shared bathroom for $15 – 1 night and free breakfast. Elegant and simple private rooms are also available. They can also arrange your transportations; rent an eBike and even a day tour.
Where to eat
There are a lot of local restaurants around Eight-Faces Paya – The roundabout, Great Restaurant and Black Rose to name a few. Most of the Burmese foods are oily and of course spicy, steamed rice always on the table and for just $1.5 you can have your ultimate meal for satisfaction.
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Bagan is very accessible via public transportation. There are regular buses that operate directly to Bagan (8-9hrs) from Yangon, Mandalay, Naypyitaw, Bago or Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake). If you’re from Yangon and prefer to fly, you can also take regular flights straight to Bagan.