Top 5 Amazing Things to Do in Bagan

December 23, 2023 - 359 views

Bagan is such a dreamy destination that visitors can enjoy plenty of exciting activities to enjoy the Burmese vibes. Here are the top 5 things to do on your vacation to Bagan, Myanmar.

Bagan is a beautiful ancient city, home to over 2,000 temples and pagodas. Bagan is a worth-visiting destination for every traveler with a deep passion for Buddhist temples, pagodas, and stupas because the city still remains more of these attractions than any other places in the world. Let’s find out the top 5 amazing things to do while enjoying your trip to Bagan.

1. Explore the Buddhist temples

It should be a miss if you visit Myanmar without an exploration of Buddhist temples in Bagan. Coming to the Bagan Archaeological Zone, you can find the majority of Bagan’s temples and get lost in the land of amazing temples. If you have scanty time, the first thing to do is to visit some highlights in Bagan, such as Shwezigon Temple, Htilominlo Temple, Ananda Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple, and Manuha Temple.

Templing is one of the must-do activities in Bagan

Templing is one of the must-do activities in Bagan

It’s a perfect time to marvel at impressively appealing Burmese architecture and to get a deep insight into sacred Buddhist culture here. Take your time to pray for health and fortune at Bagan’s temples. You will find a visit to temples is absolutely a must-do activity in Bagan, which makes you be surprised with incredible artistry and architecture here.

Ticket price to Bagan Archaeological Zone: MMK 25,000 (US$ 15.67)

2. Ride a balloon over Bagan

Another amazing thing to do in Bagan is riding a balloon over the gorgeous city and soaking up the beauty of Bagan from sky view. Instead of wandering around each temple, you can get an incredible experience to look down at the aerial view over glorious temples in Bagan. You can have a perfect chance to marvel at more than 2000 Buddhist and Hindu temples, farms of cotton and peanuts, as well as hundreds of palm trees.

Impressive view of balloon ride over Bagan

Impressive view of a balloon ride over Bagan

It takes you around 45 minutes to enjoy a balloon ride and soar into the sky and glide gracefully over the complex. An interesting adventure of a balloon ride over Bagan offers 2 ballon flight options, including the Classic and Premium one.

Balloon ride season is usually from October to April next year, and the peak season starts from December to January. It's highly recommended to book months in advance due to the fully booked reservation weeks before the date. Also, the Ministry of Tourism in Myanmar permits only 26 balloon rides per day.

Ticket price: The Classic package costs US$ 340 per person, while the Premium package is US$ 450 per person.

3. Visit vibrant Nyaung Oo Market

Nyaung Oo Market is a local market in the village of Nyaung U, which is settled in the northeastern area of Bagan. It can be regarded as one of the must-try things to do in Bagan thanks to a wide range of appeals to tourists. Coming to this market, tourists are offered great chances to capture vivid photos and look through the window into the daily lives of local people in Nyaung U.

Visiting local market is a must-do to get deep insight of Myanmar

Visiting the local market is a must-do to get a deep insight into Myanmar

The market is divided into many different sections trading different types of items; and there is even an area called “the wet market”, where people sell aqua products. In "the wet market", they sell everything such as fresh fish, vegetables, handicrafts and so on. You can spend time strolling around and making transactions. Almost all kinds of goods in Myanmar can be found in Nyaung U Market, from longyi (the traditional sarong of Burmese people) to types of modern clothes, from products made of rattan to tea leaves, one of Myanmar famous specialties.

Another worthwhile thing to do in Nyaung U Market is to learn how a crafter transforms a block of wood into beautiful artistic products with their craftsmanship, to observe how thankaka powder is made (“thanaka” is a yellowish powder for protecting and whitening face skin of encounter local women) and to see apprentice nuns from the nearby monastery collecting offerings from local people.

Learn about the tradition of Thankaka at Nyaung U Market

Learn about the tradition of Thanaka at Nyaung U Market

The best time to visit Nyaung U Market is in the early morning. This is the time with the largest number of people gathering in the market to trade their items and the life here is at its most vividity. You will have the chance to capture impressive photos of the colorful and lively life in the market.  

Noted: If you want to buy souvenirs from the market, try to utilize your bargain skill because the sellers often push up the price of goods. In addition, avoid people who try to put postcards into your hands or apply thanaka on your face because nothing is free here.

4. Take a sunset boat ride on the Irrawaddy River

Another interesting way to explore Bagan is to take a boat ride and watch marvelous sunset by the Irrawaddy River (Ayerwaddy River). Before your boat ride, you can also choose to explore a few of the temples located close to the river. Unlike the popular pagodas in the main area of Bagan, you can also stop by one of the riverside temples which offer a different view from the usual ancient ruins.

breathtaking sunset at Irrawaddy River

Don't forget to contemplate the breathtaking sunset at the Irrawaddy River

We recommend checking out Bu Paya Temple. You can book a Bagan sunset cocktail cruise which includes transportation from your hotel/hostel, a cocktail of choice, and a few light snacks and refreshments. If you want to watch the sunset in the style of Bagan, then consider renting your own private boat and floating down the river. You can easily charter a small local boat that will seat around four people and then go for a cruise that takes 1 – 2 hours.

5. Climb the Mount Popa

Mount Popa is an iconic Myanmar postcard sight: a sacred monastery, stupas glistening gold, and perched atop an extinct volcano. It is the headquarters of Myanmar’s most powerful Nats and four of these Buddhist spirits worshiped by the Burmese. The 777 steps of Mount Popa are a pilgrimage site first and foremost but also a famous attraction for tourists. On the way to the top, you can see vendors selling clothes and souvenirs on the stairs cleaners taking care of the monkeys messing, people asking for donations, and even people watching soccer on the altar. The views from the top of Mount Popa are magnificent and you can see for miles and miles across the land. The views of Mount Popa from afar are also spectacular.

Climb to Mount Popa

Climb to Mount Popa to achieve the awe-inspiring view in Bagan

Noted: Aside from the picturesque monastery, you also have heaps of monkeys so make sure you don’t have any loose pieces of clothing or food on you during your visit.

Hope that the above recommendation for what to do in Bagan can help you enjoy your stay in this mysterious land. Check our best deals on the Bagan tour here and come to try these exciting activities with BestPrice Travel.

Check this out for the comprehensive travel guide in Bagan

Jenny Tran

(Image source: Internet)

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