Backpacking Bagan Travel Guide: What You Need To Know

Myanmar is an extremely up and coming country in the South East Asian backpacking trail and Bagan is the number one bucket list place in this country. This city is full of history and amazing pagodas at every turn. Though, if this is your first time visiting Myanmar the experience can be quite overwhelming which is why reading a backpacking Bagan travel guide can be extremely helpful.

In this backpackers travel guide to Bagan I will let you in on all the top things to do in Bagan, where to sleep, eat and more!

tasha amy watching the views over the temples backpacking bagan

How Many Days To Spend Backpacking Bagan?

I spent a total of four days backpacking Bagan and in all honesty this was probably too long to spend just exploring the temples. If you were going to head further out of the main Bagan archaeological zone this would probably be the perfect amount of time to spend in Bagan. Though Bagan is one of the best places to visit in Myanmar, so if you are wanting to see a couple sunrises and sunsets over the temples would recommend spending three days. Trust me, at the end you will be completely templed out! Further down in this backpacking Bagan travel guide I will let you know the best things to see in this amazing destination!

How I Book Cheap Transport In Myanmar: 12Go Asia

Cost Per Day To Travel In Bagan

When in Myanmar I spent $26.30 per day as a solo traveler. Accommodation will likely be your biggest expense in Myanmar, though if you book places which includes breakfast this can cut down the amount you spend on food, ultimately evening out your budget.

exploring around the pagodas in bagan

Where To Stay In Bagan?

Bagan is a sprawling area with numerous suburbs, so it can be difficult for first timers to figure out exactly where to stay. I recommend booking your accommodation in Old Bagan or Nyaung-U area as this will keep you close to a lot of amazing attractions and restaurants will be just a short walk away. Here are my top picks for the backpackers travel guide to Bagan:

Find the best hotels in the area

Ostello Bello BaganThe ultimate backpackers paradise in Bagan. Rooms starting from $14.00.


The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate

Spacious private rooms starting at $130.00 per night including a delicious breakfast.


Traveling Around Bagan

Getting From Bagan Airport To Your Accommodation

The best way to get from the Airport to your accommodation is definitely using one of the Airport Taxis. These are government taxis with fixed rates which will take you straight to the door to your hostel.

From the airport to Nyaung-U costs $3.70 / 5,000 kyat unless you negotiate. To New Bagan, it takes about 15-20 minutes by car, and usually this will cost around $6.00 / 8000 kyat. Be sure to check with your accommodation whether they provide free pick up from the airport.

Getting From Bagan Bus Station To Your Accommodation

This is a favorite place for taxi drivers as this is when they will quote crazy prices, and as a foreigner who has just spent their night on a bumpy bus, we just want to get to our bed. The bus will arrive at the new bus station located 7km from Nyaung-U center. The transfer from the bus station to Nyaung-U should cost should be $1.50 / 2,000 kyats by local shared taxi. Try and organize pick up from your accommodation to avoid overpaying for a taxi.

Getting Around Bagan & Visiting Pagodas

There are plenty of options to travel internally within Bagan so you can witness all the amazing pagodas. The easiest and cheapest way would definitely be hiring a ebike which are extremely easy to find. There are also bicycles, but under the hit Burmese sun this can get exhausting. Alternatively there are taxis which will cost a bit more, as well as horse carriages. As always when traveling anywhere in the world, make sure you and the driver agree on a price before getting into your ride. This will assist you from getting scammed, even if you are a first time traveler.

What I love about hiring ebikes are that is it extremely affordable as well as that the owners don’t require a deposit. This makes me feel safer as I always get nervous giving motorbike rental companies my passport elsewhere in Asia. Though, be aware you can’t drive the ebikes outside of the Bagan Archaeological Zone. Therefore, if you are looking at getting out of the tourist area and exploring further afield your best option will be a taxi.

riding ebikes around backpacking bagan

Where To Eat & Drink In Bagan

From local street stalls to shack like eateries and western restaurants Bagan has a wide variety of foodie options. Get ready for plates upon plates of delicious peanuts! These are my top picks, all tested and tried, for the backpackers travel guide to Bagan:

Cheap Food In Bagan

For dinner my go to option was always Weather Spoon’s Bagan Restaurant and Bar. It is a popular restaurant with amazing food. They have affordable western meals as well as Burmese dishes. A meal consisting of a pizza and soda costs just $4.00.

If you are missing a taste of the western world head to A Little Bit of Bagan Restaurant. This is definitely a hot spot for the western crowds with a range of cuisine and an excellent atmosphere. A meal of a scrambled egg and avocado sandwich with a soda costs just $3.60 / 5000 kyat.

lemon juice and peanuts in bagan
grilled vegetables and chicken in bagan

Things To Do In Bagan

Bagan is full of amazing activities and attractions which will keep you busy for days. Whether you enjoy a spot of shopping, experiencing a different religion or want to see a slower pace of life outside the tourist area Bagan has something for everyone.

See All the Amazing Pagodas

Bagan is rich in history and absolutely covered in over 2000 pagodas. The number one activity is over course exploring them. Also, with so many to visit you will never feel overwhelmed with swarms of tourists like you might be at other attractions. Hire an ebike to get around and feel the freedom of the road!

horse rides in bagan

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Now, I understand that not everyone can afford to hot air balloon in Bagan, and I certainly could not when visiting. Though, if you do have a bit of wiggle room in your budget I highly recommend booking in with one of the local operators. This will give you a birds eye view of the landscape with thousands of pagodas as far as the eye can see.

hot air balloons in front of the sunrise in bagan

Witness The Sunrise

Sleep ins are not a thing in Bagan, you will want to be well awake while it is still dark making your way to one of the best temples to watch the sunrise. If you are in Bagan for a few days make sure to find a new place each morning and get away from the tourist trail. Be aware that the closer the pagoda is to the road, the more likely it is that there will be buses and taxis with hoards of people.

tasha amy watching sunrise in bagan myanmar


Bagan is the perfect place to pick up your Burmese souvenirs. You will find people selling all sorts of goodies outside the pagodas as this is how they make their living. From gorgeous paintings to umbrellas and little dolls. Unless you are super far away from all the crowds it is likely you will run into multiple sellers during your explorations. Alternatively, head down one of the roads which many restaurants are located on and check out all the souvenir stores. One important thing to remember is to haggle when shopping. This is normal in Asia and is expected before purchasing an item. Be sure to do further research into important things to know before traveling to Myanmar to ensure you have a hassle-free trip.

umbrellas for sale in the travel guide to bagan

How I Book Cheap Transport In Myanmar: 12Go Asia


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3 thoughts on “Backpacking Bagan Travel Guide: What You Need To Know

  1. Avatar for Milosz Zak
    Milosz Zak says:

    Did you take any medication as a prophylaxis in advance or during your trip? Everything I hear about Asia seems to indicate that you may get sick at some point, and that’s really not an option when you’re tight with your vacation days.

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