"Historical wonderland." Top 5 Page for this destination Bagan by planxty

Bagan Travel Guide: 340 reviews and 1,411 photos

Bagan - a genuine wonder of the world.

OK, let's get it out of the way early, Bagan is everything you have heard about it, and then some. I'll try and get all the superlatives out of the way here, so I don't bore you with them in inidvidual tips.

Bagan is awe-inspiring, magnificent, incredible, jaw-dropping, mystical, magical, vast, other-worldly, wonderful and just about every other adjective or superlative you have heard about it.

I have been lucky enough in my life to have seen some fairly incredible places - Angkor, Everest, the Corinth canal and so on, but this really is very high on my list of places that everyone should see before they die.

So what's the attraction? I realise that Bagan draws continual comparison with Angkor, and I wouldn't like to say which one is the "better" site to visit. I'm certainly not scholarly enough to draw comparisons about the relative architectures or importance historically or sociologically.

To my untrained eye, the thing that struck me about the Bagan complex, and it is huge, was the comparative lack of people there (comparative to Angkor, that is). Obviously, both Myanmar and Cambodia are still relatively unvisited places, but I think that Bagan probably attracts far fewer visitors than Angkor, with the result that you can walk, cycle or cart round vast tracts of the site without seeing another person for hours on end. The act of "discovering" your own temple (out of about 3000, I believe) is really quite special.

I can't really hope to describe to you what it is truly like, although I hope my amateur photos may give you some idea. All I can realistically hope to do is fire your imagination to either visit yourself or, if that's not possible, at least investigate the place further either online or by way of literature.

I hope I've got it right!

I took a few notes as I was travelling around the Bagan site, and I took a huge amount of photographs. As VTer's will appreciate, the problem now comes marrying the photos to the text. I have worked hard on this, and I hope I've got it right, but if anybody spots any glaring mistakes (i.e. the wrong photo with the wrong piece of information), please get in touch with me and I'l amend it with suitable credit given.

It all seemed so simple then with just the bicycle and the camera!

Just on a slightly technical note, I haven't put many "practical" tips like hotels, restaurants, transport etc. on this page. This is for a couple of reasons.

The traveller really has three options of places to stay whilst visiting the Bagan site. Like the majority of backpackers I chose Nyaung U, which tends to be the cheapest of the three (and probably the livliest, although it's all relative as none of them are "party" towns) so please check out my Nyaung U page for other tips.

The other two options are New Bagan and Old Bagan and, whilst there are still a few budget optiions, they tend to have more of the upscale hotels and complexes with all that imples in Myanmar.

The second reason is purley the way the VT site works. I could either have made all the temples "off the beaten track" tips for Nyaung U or do it this way. I thought this way was best.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:One of the "must see" sites of the world.
  • Cons:Perhaps the persistent vendors.
  • In a nutshell:See it before you die!
  • Last visit to Bagan: Feb 2006
  • Intro Updated Jul 21, 2009
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Reviews (15)

Travelogues (1)

Comments (18)

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    Great inspiration for our imminent trip!

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    May 18, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    Near the top of my :Must Do" list.

    • planxty's Profile Photo
      May 18, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      It really was quite incredible when I visited a few years ago. I am not sure how it is now with the increase in travellers but it will certainly impress you, it is magnificent.

  • tumbytraveller's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    I have just returned from my Myanmar trip feb/march 2013. Went with a travel virgin so did it in comfort on a Pandaw Cruise. Reading your report and seeing your great photo's took me back there. I very much agree with and enjoyed your comments about it being a special place with friendly people..

    • planxty's Profile Photo
      Apr 10, 2013 at 2:24 AM

      Hello Marie, nothing wrong with travelling in comfort if your budget runs to it. I bang on about this all the time, there is no "one size fits all" travel solution. I really cannot stand "backpack bores" who boast about saving 20 pence on a train fare, that is not what it is about for me.

      Thank you so much for your kind comments about the photos, I was still learning my DSLR then, although I was pleased with the results. Obviously I don't post the out of focus rubbish ones, and there were many!

      As for Burma, yes it is a very special place. I am not sure how things will pan out in light or recent developments but I think they can only be for the better. I am really glad I visited and I hope you enjoyed your trip as much as I did mine.

      Speak soon,


  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Apr 24, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Cool page, I am considering Burma for my next destination

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Jul 20, 2009 at 4:45 PM

    Impressive temples Fergy :o) Beautiful opening pic too. Enjoyed the read. Cheers, Ann :o)

  • junecorlett's Profile Photo
    Jun 22, 2009 at 7:27 AM

    A truly good page on Bagan - that sunset is awesome. Thanks for your nice comment on the forum.

  • Aug 28, 2008 at 3:12 PM

    Excellent Bagan web site! I travel often Thailand and hope that i can find the time to be in Bagan my love-ancient city!

  • Tijavi's Profile Photo
    Jun 30, 2007 at 2:52 AM

    Thanks for this wonderful tour of Bagan. I think Bagan is a case of sooner rather than later before it becomes a World Heritage site and suffer the curse that comes with it. Cheers from the desert!

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2007 at 2:18 PM

    Fergy, nice to see your page. I was only one day in Bagan laying in bed with fever up to 40. Two fellow travellers came to get me at the end of the day with a carriage to show me some of the most impressive temples. I saw them almost hallucinating.

  • zlatiq's Profile Photo
    Jun 3, 2007 at 8:03 AM

    seems like i have to practice my biking skills to be able to get to all these temples!beautiful! thanx:)


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