Bagan – This Magical City Made Our Trip To Myanmar

Have you ever been to a country that just never lives up to its hype? For us that was Myanmar. Yes, that’s right, we didn’t fall in love with Myanmar, but more on that in another post.

Even though this country didn’t win over our hearts, we sure did fall in love with Bagan. The majestic pagodas, breathtaking sunsets and getting lost throughout old Bagan is what made this ancient city unforgettable for us.

Dhammayangyi Temple Bagan

Bagan is located in the Mandalay Region and is the most visited tourist destination in Myanmar. The city was once home to over 10,000 Buddhist temples and pagodas built during the Kingdom of Pagan from the 11th to the 13th century. To this date, only 2200 have survived as they are scattered across the vast plains. No matter which way you turn, there will always be a pagoda in sight. You could spend days in Bagan and still not explore all of its architectural wonders.

Treck through Myanmar from Kalaw to Inle Lake or take a journey through Myanmar in photos.

Our Time Spent In Bagan

We reached Bagan late evening, after a long 8 hour bus journey across the winding mountain roads of Myanmar. With daylight running out and not feeling up to much, we grabbed some food and left the exploring until the next day.

Waking up early the next morning feeling fresh from an early night before, we were ready to see what this city was all about. First thing was first though, we needed transport.

Bagan covers a large area and the best way to explore the city is on two wheels. A lot of people will choose the E-bikes but we opted for a traditional old school bicycle. Kitted out, map ready, we made our way from Nyaung-U town towards the temples in Bagan.

Just to clarify, Bagan is made up of three different towns. Nyaung-U, Old Bagan, and New Bagan with the temples spread out in between. Nyaung-U is the biggest of the three and the best option to find accommodation and great restaurants in our opinion. 

We only had two full days to see as much as possible. Our first day was spent cycling around and visiting the more popular temples, walking their corridors, and climbing the steep steps to the top.

To be honest, we didn’t find the bigger temples all that great. As you can imagine they were full of tourists and with the tourist came the vendors. If there wasn’t someone waving you over, then it was someone following you around trying to sell you a “precious” gemstone.

We were only a few temples down and before we knew it, it was already mid-afternoon. By then it was time for us to grab something quick to eat and make our way to the famous Shwesandaw Pagoda for sunset.

We arrived 1.5 hours early to the pagoda, which gave us just enough time to grab a seat at the top. Shortly after, bus loads of tourists flooded in and before we knew it, the Shwesandaw Pagoda was packed with people.

As everyone scrambled to find the perfect spot, calmness suddenly grew over the city as we watched one of the most stunning sunsets we witnessed in Southeast Asia.

Only, it wasn’t until the next day in which this city became magical to us.

Getting up early at 4 am the next morning, we set out back towards the Shwesandaw Pagoda, this time to watch the sunrise.

With the sun rising over Bagan the atmosphere was so peaceful, you could almost forget you were not alone. Above us, the sky filled with hot air balloons passing over the temples below.

Watching in silence, we were glad we made the early journey across the ancient city to watch the sunrise.

Sunrise Bagan Shwesandaw Pagoda

We spent the rest of our day exploring random trails across the plains, visiting smaller pagodas and getting lost in surrounding villages.

This was the real Bagan. This is what everybody was talking about when they spoke so highly of this magical land. It’s not the huge popular temples, but the smaller hidden pagodas dotted across the plains that make it special. It’s when you are standing alone on top of a pagoda with no one in sight that you get a true feel for Bagan.

Pagoda Bagan

Like It? Click it! Pin It! 🙂

Bagan This Magical Place Made Our Trip To Myanmar Pintrest

Share This Post :-)

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Related Post You May Also Enjoy ;-)

Don’t Miss Out

Subscribe now to our weekly newsletter and be the first to receive our latest posts, travel tips, and updates on our day to day life on the road ?

2 thoughts on “Bagan – This Magical City Made Our Trip To Myanmar”

  1. Your post exactly captures what I loved so much about my trip to Bagan in 2014. I never saw busloads of tourists, but walking down those sandy paths and finding solitary temples all to myself was a heartbreakingly beautiful memory. Lovely post, and sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy Myanmar all that much!

    1. Yes I guess a lot changed in two years, our photo of the tourists on top of the pagoda was about an hour before the others arrived. By the time the rest of the tourists came, there was no space at the top to catch the sunset. It must of been even more spectacular back in 2014. Where in the world are you now?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey! We are Paul and Alina a fun-loving, adventure-seeking, Irish and German travelling couple. In February 2014 we met in beautiful Thailand, and decided that travelling and being free was the life we wanted to live. Want to learn more about us?

Follow Our Journy

Recent Posts

Scroll to Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you the best possible experience on Daily Cup Of Travel.