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Bagan

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At Asia Senses Travel we’re adventurers at heart. Our journeys are all about discovering new places and cultures while creating unforgettable memories through physical activity and breathtaking scenery.

Visit bagan

If you’ve written ‘mind-blowing temples’ anywhere near the top of your Myanmar ‘to see’ list, you need to visit the ancient city of Bagan, sometimes known as Pagan. For several centuries, Bagan was the capital of the eponymous Bagan kingdom, a powerful empire that first conquered and consolidated the territory of modern-day Myanmar. During this time, Bagan became a prosperous, cosmopolitan city, drawing visitors and travelers from across Southeast Asia. Additionally, over 2,000 ancient temples, stupas, and palaces were erected by the Bagan Empire - many of which still stand today, stud a sandy, semi-desert plain, backing onto the Irrawaddy River. Catch it at the right time of day & you’ll witness thousands of delicate spires rising through the tendrils of mist that hang low in the valley & turn the view utterly mystical.
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Bagan in central Myanmar is one of the world’s greatest archeological sites, a sight to rival Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat
Soe Myint Htay
Myanmar Travel Specialist

Things to See and Do in Bagan

bagan-Hot-Air Balloon over Bagan

Hot-Air Balloon over Bagan

A hot air balloon flight over Bagan is a perfect complement to ground touring and is arguably the single best way to take in the full splendor of Bagan’s temple-studded landscape.

This scenic hot air balloon ride starts before sunrise with a private transfer to the launch site via a converted vintage bus. After a 1-hour flight circling important landmarks, you will return to the base where the crew will be waiting with a light breakfast and a glass of fizz to mark the occasion.
bagan-Ananda Temple

Ananda Temple

With its stunning glided spire, the Ananda temple is nearly 1,000 years old and is famous for its four statues of different manifestations of the Buddha, corresponding to the cardinal directions. Though the original structure was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1975, the temple has been completely restored to its former glory.
bagan-Irrawaddy River Cruise

Irrawaddy River Cruise

Board a simple, private boat and cruise up the Irrawaddy River, a scenic stretch with vestiges of bucolic Burmese life on the riverbanks. Stop at Sae Lan, one of the riverside villages where the residents’ main source of livelihood is farming and fishing.
bagan-mount-popa

Mount Popa

Visit Mt. Popa, a soaring volcanic peak dramatically crowned with gold stupas, monasteries and shrines believed to be the abode of the powerful nats, or animist spirits. The devout worship of these animist spirits coexists with Buddhism, and Buddha is considered the greatest of the 37 nats. Mt. Popa is an important destination for pilgrims, who must remove their shoes before climbing the 777 steps to the summit rising almost 4,000 feet above the desert.
bagan-Shwezigon Temple

Shwezigon Temple

One of the oldest pagodas in Bagan, Shwezigon was built as a center of prayer and reflection for the new Theravada faith, established here in the 11th century. It encompasses three tiered terraces, with four 12-foot high bronze Buddhas surrounding the terrace stairs, and includes replicas of Buddha’s footprints.

bagan-Private Cooking Class

Nyaung-U Market and Private Cooking Class

Visit Bagan’s vibrant Nyaung-U market, where a wide range of exotic fruits, vegetables, fish, and more are sold. Select ingredients and then proceed to one of Bagan's best restaurants, situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy, for a private cooking class where you'll learn how to prepare traditional Burmese dishes.
bagan-Kubyaukkyi-Temple

Kubyaukkyi Temple

Dating back to 1113. Kubyaukkyi Temple is best known as the home of the Myazedi Stone, also known as “Burma’s Rosetta Stone.” Discovered in 1887, the stone contains inscriptions in the four 12th-century languages – Burman, Mon, Pali, and Pyu – and allowed the translation of the latter for the first time ever.

Best Time to Visit Bagan

Best time to visit Bagan is from October to end of March as the weather is generally at its best. There is hardly a drop of rainfall and average daytime temperatures don’t get much higher than 30 °C. Due to the excellent climate it’s the most popular time of year for visitors to travel to the area and thus considered high season.

In April and May the temperature is at its hottest, with average highs of over 40 °C in the middle of the day while from June to September, when the rainy season sets in, it will rain on most days (with the odd shower and it is an exceptionally rewarding time to travel).
Max Temperature(ºC)
Jan
28
Feb
31
Mar
35
Apr
38
May
36
Jun
33
Jul
32
Aug
32
Sep
32
Oct
31
Nov
29
Dec
27
Rainfall (mm)
Jan
0
Feb
1
Mar
5
Apr
14
May
94
Jun
94
Jul
49
Aug
97
Sep
129
Oct
101
Nov
37
Dec
8
Month
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

JAN
28ºC
0mm

FEB
31ºC
1mm

MAR
35ºC
5mm

APR
38ºC
14mm

MAY
36ºC
94mm

JUN
33ºC
94mm

JUL
32ºC
49mm

AUG
32ºC
97mm

SEP
32ºC
129mm

OCT
31ºC
101mm

NOV
29ºC
37mm

DEC
27ºC
8mm

Festivals, Events and Seasonal Reasons to Visit

  • 01

    Ananda Pagoda Festival (January): A festival for Bagan's Ananda temple, lasting over a week, with the busiest day being that of the full moon.
  • 02

    Full Moon Day of Kasone/Buddha Day (between mid-April and early May): Celebrates the birth and enlightenment of Buddha at the foot of a banyan tree.
  • 03

    Manuha Pagoda Festival - Bagan (late September or early October): Celebrated over three days, this festival features large, colourful papier mache figures marched through the streets as part of a parade, and the serving of rice cakes to visitors.
  • 04

    Shwezigon Pagoda Festival - Bagan (November): Thousands of pilgrims flock to the pagoda on the full moon day. Locals sell products such as glazed pots and handwoven fabrics to visitors, food and drink is enjoyed and dancing takes place, among other festivities.
  • 05

    Mount Popa Nat Ceremony (December): The Nats are celebrated at Mount Popa, an extinct volcano, on the full moon of Natdaw (December). Dancing, music and palm wine often feature heavily, attracting many people from near and far.

Suggested Itineraries

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Bagan, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists. Alternatively, if you would like to include a visit to Bagan on a bespoke touring itinerary to Myanmar, do not hesitate to contact us.

Cruises in Bagan

RV Orient Pandaw
The RV Orient Pandaw is a charming boat, built in a traditional colonial style, with finishing touches such as old prints, maps and oil paintings on the walls creating an authentic atmosphere on board. The vessel’s shallow draught means it can access more remote areas along the river that can’t be reached by some other craft in the region.
RV Katha Pandaw
Part of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company's high-quality fleet, the charming RV Katha Pandaw has a traditional colonial style. This was a radical new design, based on the old K class used in Burma from the 1880s on. This ship is the third Katha to run on the Irrawaddy. Smaller than some of the other Pandaw boats, with just 16 cabins, it evokes a personal and intimate atmosphere without compromising on comfort.
RV Kindat Pandaw
The original Kindat was built in 1886 by Yarrows in London and sank in 1920. She was named after a small Upper Chindwin town. Following experiments with the Katha and Angkor Pandaws, in this build we perfected this concept of a two deck shallow draft vessel and repeated the formula again with her sister the Kalaw.<br>
RV Kalaw Pandaw
Sister to the Kindat and identical in design the Kalaw was launched with her in 2014 Kalaw is named after the PS Kalaw launched in 1917 and sunk in 1942 in the War. Furnished in teak and brass throughout, the vessel exudes colonial luxury. Operating along the classic route between Bagan and Mandalay, the RV Kalaw is an excellent option for anyone seeking to explore Burma’s picturesque waterways and historic sites.<br>
RV Paukan 2015
Launched in 2015, the lovely RV Paukan 2015 is a charming floating hotel on the river which is the latest addition to Ayravata Cruises and one of the smallest cruisers on the Irrawaddy River designed to discover hard-to-reach destinations in this area, bring passengers authentic experiences for their Myanmar river cruise.<br>
Irrawaddy Explorer (RV Paukan 2014)
Irrawaddy Explorer (RV Paukan 2014) is a 5-star floating hotel which is a brand-new, deluxe, all-suite river cruiser of Paukan Cruises to set sail on all regions of Burma’ Irrawaddy River. This is an elegant boutique ship of 28 spacious outside cabins which give travellers a fascinating view on the beauty of the majestic Irrawaddy, an indispensable image for travelling in Myanmar.
RV Paukan 1947
RV Paukan 1947 is a fascinating vessel for cruising the mighty Ayeyarwady. Built in Scotland following the Second World War, she arrived in Burma in 1950, carrying cargo and passengers between Mandalay and <a href="https://asiasenses.com/place/bhamo" target="_blank">Bhamo</a>. In 1989 she was renovated into a comfortable cruise boat, undergoing a further renovation in 2003 to make her the modern but characterful vessel she is today.
RV Paukan 2012
The RV Paukan 2012, launched in September of 2012, is one of the latest Paukan Cruises ships running on Irrawaddy River. This lovely colonial style was born in the famous Ahlone Ship Yards situated on the bank of Yangon River. The lovely RV Paukan 2012 is really a gem of cruisers like a 5-star hotel floating on the river, beautifully furnished with a unique combination of modern and traditional motifs.

Ideas for Experiencing Bagan

Sunset Cruise On Irrawaddy River
Cruise along the Irrawaddy River by the traditional teak boat. Enjoy magnificent views of the temples of Bagan as the sun begins to go down. Observe local life and wildlife along the shore. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail as the boat sail along the river.