The Ultimate Backpackers Travel Guide to Bagan in Myanmar
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 backpackers travel guide to Bagan 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!
How Many Days To Spend In Bagan?
I spent a total of four days in 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, if you are just 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 backpackers travel guide to Bagan 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 Yangon
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.
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:
The ultimate backpackers paradise in Bagan. Rooms starting from $14.00.
Live in hotel luxury with prices from $22.00 per night for a dorm room including breakfast.
Spacious private rooms starting at $130.00 per night including a delicious breakfast.
A gorgeous riverfront location starting at $110.00 per night including breakfast.
Getting 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.
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 Yangon
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.
Make Sure You Visit…
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.
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!
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Now, I understand that not everyone can afford a hot air balloon ride, and I certainly could not when visiting Bagan. 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.
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.
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.
How I Book Cheap Transport In Myanmar: 12Go Asia
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