Bagan travel guide | Cruise Mekong River

Bagan travel guide

Travel around Bagan by bike

Scattered over a total area of approximately 50 km square (26 miles square), 290km (180 miles) southwest of Mandalay on the east bank of the Ayeyarwady River, the ruins of medieval Bagan are today officially known as the “Bagan Archaeological Zone”. The lost city, which was formerly inhabited by from 50,000 to 200,000 people, is now extensively deserted, with most of the tourist-related businesses and local population confined to settlements on the peripheries, allowing the monuments to rise in a state of charismatic isolation inland. ho chi minh to phnom penh cruise

Bagan travel guide

Bagan travel guide -source: internet

Being the survivors from the crop of around 13,000 erected between Kublai Khan’s invasion of the Bamar Empire in 1287 and Anawrahta’s conquest of Thaton in 1057, the plains here are under an estimated 2,200 kyaungs, pagodas and other religious structures. At any time of year, the spectacle of their finials and towers bristling from the table of flat scrubland is hypnotic, but especially so on mid-winter mornings, when cooking-fire smoke and river mist often enfold the stucco and brick structures, glowing red in the first daylight rays.

Do not underestimate the heat of the central plains or the size of the site as Bagan is huge. It is wiser to slowly explore some temples in detail than to rush through too many and of course get exhausted yourself.

Visiting Bagan

Visit Bagan for a lifetime experience

Visit Bagan for a lifetime experience -source: internet

The time between mid-December and late January, the height of the tourist season, to savour this exotic spectacle, droves of travelers converge via a complicated network of dusty footpaths and cart tracks on the more well known viewpoints. But venturing a short way off-piste is an easy way to avoid the crowds. Indeed, as the dozen or so “must-sees” that dominate tourists’ tick lists, the aimless explorations of Bagan’s fringes are just as likely to yield unforgettable visions. Along with meditating Buddhas in dimly lit shrine chambers and swirling Jataka murals in beautiful earthy red hues, glimpses of exquisitely proportioned temple towers and stupas are guaranteed wherever you wander. Vietnam holidays

From Mid-December to late January is the height of the tourist season

From Mid-December to late January is the height of the tourist season -source: internet

Despite the fact that a large number of visitors spend at least a-two-day—three-night tour at Bagan, it is possible for you to conceivably take double that here without re-tracing your own steps. Work your way clockwise around the Zone from Old Bagan, the walled city enclosing the largest concentration of monuments. The Abeyadana Temple, the frescoes in the Upali Thein, the delicately shaped Ananda Temple, with its four teak Buddhas and the enigmatic Dhammayangyi Temple, the best-preserved monument on the site are unmissable locations.

Travel around Bagan by bike

Travel around Bagan by bike -source: internet

Climbing a pagoda to view the spectacular sunrise or sunset on the temples as well as the surrounding plain is one of the great experiences of any trips to Bagan. Have the local horse-cart drivers let you know which places remain accessible. The well-placed yet rather ugly, government viewing platform with an entry fee of $5 is an alternative.

Balloons over Bagan

Balloons over Bagan -source: internet

Where you are most likely to kill time between temple tours are the riverside villages dotted around the Archaeological Zone, where most of the shops, restaurants and hotels are situated. Sunset cruises on the river offer a relaxing perspective on the site as well as its environs while a handful of waterfront cafés offer breezy spots from which you can admire gorgeous views of the distant Rakhine-Yoma hills. However, being from the air, from one of the hot-air balloons drifting over the ruins every morning and evening, is the ultimate way to see Bagan.

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