a guide to the ancient city of Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan cannot be missed on a trip to Myanmar. Its ancient pagodas and stunning sunsets are well worth the overnight bus trip to the city. Bagan is not a UNESCO Heritage Site, which still baffles me. Apparently, this is due to the restoration techniques used to recover the pagodas. Despite its lack of UNESCO standing, visiting Bagan was a highlight of my travels through the country. 

Here's a guide to the ancient city...


What's the language?

The people of Myanmar speak Burmese. 

Where to stay?

If you are looking for a very affordable, private room with airconditioning and complimentary breakfast then I suggest staying at the Shwe Nadi Guest House. Rooms start at USD$16 a night, meaning $8 per person if you have a travel partner. The guest house is located near a variety of restaurants {all of which are among the top recommended by TripAdvisor}, a night market, and many pagodas. The guest house also offers affordable E-Bike rentals {with helmets} and free WiFi {though extremely slow}. A side note: the showers and bathroom are located outside of the guest house in a separate building in the same complex. 


What and where to eat?

For inexpensive Asian/Burmese/Thai food, try Leo Restaurant. La Pizza is a delicious splurge for those wanting the comforts of Western food. Bibo is another inexpensive option, though the food is nothing out of the ordinary and Leo has nicer food for the same price. 


How to get around?

The best decision we made in Bagan was renting an E-Bike. Electronic bikes are similar to motorbikes, though they lack almost any power or speed. In the heat and dust of Bagan, the last thing I'd suggest is pedal biking around. Pagodas are spread out across the ancient city and have I mentioned it's incredibly hot?! Because it is. The hottest place I think I've ever been. So...rent an E-Bike, k? 

The best way to map out the city on your E-bike is to download the Maps.Me app. If you're traveling around Asia and haven't downloaded the app already, you're doing life wrong. 


What to do?

Pagodas, pagodas, pagodas! You'll want to catch the sunset in the evening for seriously breathtaking views. 

You can ride a hot air balloon, but it will cost you {rides will start at around $300 per person}. It's important to know that these rides don't operate during low season {May-September}. 


Some of my most cherished memories from Myanmar were moments spent in the drylands of Bagan. My visit to the city gave me a glimpse at how special the country truly is. 



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