Leave your map and your plan behind, ride out to sunset or sunrise (or both) and explore Bagan ala Indiana Jones. Minus the leather jacket, it is too hot here for that.
Ride to sunset
For more than four centuries was Bagan the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, which set the foundations of modern day Myanmar. Of the 10,000 Buddhist temples built during that time, only 2,200 or so have survived. The area is so vast that it is almost impossible to be crowded-out.
The temples come in different sizes and many of them hide beautiful secrets inside. The best way to find the most authentic ones is to get lost in the first place!
The place to be at sunset is Pya Tha Da Pagoda. A sandy road shared with cows and other locals leads to the popular temple and it is a good idea to get there early, before everyone else arrives.
Wake up for sunrise
A ride in one of Bagan’s famous air balloons is $300 per person. We thought the price tag was a little bit too much and instead decided to just witness the magical moment.
Waking up at 5.00 am may not be everyone’s cup of tea, which is probably why our chosen spot for sunrise, Shwe San Daw Phaya, was not too crowded. And it was well worth it!
Can we stay longer?
Despite being one of the country’s highlights, for some reason, the whole place does not feel touristy, there is room for everyone.
We left Bagan, perhaps too soon. As with Son Kol, we felt it was going to be one of the highlights in our trip.
But maybe it was better this way. There were big things waiting for us next door.
Follow us on 3 day trek to one of Myanmar’s key attractions, Inle Lake.