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Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar

Days 6-9 of our 12 Days in Myanmar (Burma) trip.

After enjoying our visits to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Ayutthaya in Thailand, we were very excited to finally get to visit the famous temples of Bagan!

Day 6 – Flight: Heho – Nyaung-U (taxi to New Bagan)

Our taxi was on time, and the trip to the airport was quick and painless (17,000 MMK / 13 USD).

Our Air KBZ Airlines flight (117,450 MMK / 87 USD each) to Nyaung-U Airport (Bagan) was delayed half an hour due to fog. We were lucky; our plane actually left before the flight scheduled before us. We arrived at Nyaung-U just before 11:30 AM.

We paid our Bagan Archaeological Zone Fee (25,000 MMK / 19 USD each) at the airport counter and walked out the door and straight into a taxi for our short ride to New Bagan (7,000 MMK / 5 USD).

We checked into Thurizza Hotel Bagan (78,300 MMK / 58 USD per night). We were happy with our stay at Thurizza Hotel. Located on the northern edge of New Bagan, the hotel is very quiet, has temples right outside the parking lot gates, is only a short walk to the restaurants in the main section of New Bagan, and has rooftop access to enjoy morning and evening views. The hotel serves a limited breakfast, but it does not serve lunch or dinner.

Thurizza Hotel Bagan - New Bagan, Myanmar

After settling into our hotel, we explored New Bagan by foot. We stopped and looked at the e-bikes at the Pyi Kyaw Lin E-Bike Rental stand on the main road near our hotel. We were quoted a price for the partial day (it was just before 1 PM) of 3000 MMK / 2 USD and 4000 MMK / 3 USD for additional full days. This was substantially better than some of the signs that we had seen for 8000 MMK per day, and the bikes appeared to be in very good condition.

We agreed without haggling and, after I took time to video both bikes to note any visible damage, we simply handed over 6000 MMK and set off to find lunch! There was no deposit requested or identification shown. Each night we returned our bikes and returned in the morning to pick up another. We were very pleased with our bikes and the friendly service.

Ebikes - Bagan, Myanmar

After getting our bikes we headed to Old Bagan to spend the evening exploring!

E-bikes:

  • The Good: The bikes were fantastic! They were very well made, quick (top speed limited to 45 KMH), very comfortable, the batteries lasted the entire day, and they made visiting distant temples easy and fun. The one day that we ran our batteries low, we simply returned to the stand and they gave us new bikes. Keep an eye on your power gauge so that you don’t get stranded!
  • The Bad: These are not electric bicycles. They are electric motorcycles (scooters). A foreign country with limited health care facilities may not be the best place to learn to ride! This goes double for people riding two up, which is much more difficult. We were very surprised by the large number of tourists that were walking around scraped up and wrapped in bandages in Bagan!
  • The Ugly: Electric bicycles and scooters are a gray area in many jurisdictions. The laws and insurance policies have just not kept pace with the technology. If you are in a serious accident, your travel health insurance may be void if you are not wearing a helmet and do not have a motorcycle license AND an international driver’s permit. If you are seriously injured, you will require a medical transfer to Bangkok or Singapore. From there, you could need a possible medical transport to your home country. There are many tragic stories (and Go Fund Me pages) because of huge medical bills from tourists being in motorcycle accidents throughout Southeast Asia and their travel health insurance being void due to not having the proper licenses or not wearing a helmet. Call your insurance provider and find out your coverage and requirements. Consider the risks before you decide to rent!

Tip – Take safety glasses to wear while you are riding. There is lots of sand and gravel on the road. If you will be riding at night, make sure that they are not tinted. If you have a helmet, bring it. While some stands and hotels provided helmets, we did not see helmets at most stands.

Day 7 through Day 9 – Bagan

There are literally thousands of temples in Bagan. It is best to plan your visit before you arrive and to have an outline of what you would like to see. A great resource and time-saver is to download the GPX file (GPS Exchange Format containing GPS points) from the Wikivoyage Bagan page (towards the top right side of page). I converted them into KML format so that I could view them in Google Earth. As I double-checked accuracy, I researched which temples I would like to visit. I then assembled a list and printed out detailed information about interesting temples as I planned our daily routes.

My next step was to simply open the GPX file in MapFactor and to save the file for use in navigation. Sites I wanted to visit that were not in the Wikivoyage GPX file, I simply inputted manually.

Wikivoyage is a great resource for planning your trips. It is a free web-based travel guide for travel destinations and travel topics written by volunteer authors. I like to contribute and edit as often as I can!

Another great resource is the free map from Magado Travel. To get the high resolution map, you have to provide a name and an email address. We printed it in color on large paper (approximately 24″ X 16″) and it served us very well!

Bagan, Myanmar

We had 3.5 days in Bagan and were on the go most of the time. We visited many, many temples, we visited the river fronts and ferry jetties, we explored the towns, we ate lots of very good meals – we had a blast! Rather than try to tell you about the temples, I will just tell you about two: our favorite one and the one we thought had the best private views.

Our favorite temple was Manuhar Pagoda. We loved the symbolism and uniqueness of this temple. One of the oldest temples in Bagan, it was built in 1067 by the Mon King Manuhar to reflect his experience as a prisoner of war of King Anawratha. Upon release, he sold his jewelery and built this temple. The temple contains three sitting Buddhas and one reclining Buddha. The sitting Buddhas are in a half-smile, but when seen from below as you enter, they appear as a frown.

Manuhar Pagoda - Bagan, Myanmar

The small size and narrow passages of the shrine, combined with the very large Buddhas, are said to purposely convey King Manuhar’s sense of confinement and claustrophobia during his time as a prisoner of war.

Manuhar Pagoda - Bagan, Myanmar

Our favorite temple for stunning and private views over Bagan was the unnamed temple #843. At least, according to our map, that is what we think it is! I can and will, of course, give you the exact GPS coordinates. Part of the fun of Bagan is exploring and finding unexpected treats. I was not even going to go up until Sara ran to the side and told me how good the views were.

Bagan, Myanmar

The views were very nice, and it was peaceful to sit and just take in the scenery. We actually enjoyed the views here more than from Nan Myint Tower.

Bagan, Myanmar

Nan Myint Tower (7000 MMK / 5 USD) – Opened in 2005, the 60-meter tall tower is located at the eastern part of Bagan. Nan Myint means “the high palace” in Burmese. We enjoyed the bird’s eye views of Bagan. We went mid-day and there were only a few people that came and went during our visit. While you can also get some very good views from the temples, the tower has an elevator!

Nan Myint Tower - Bagan, Myanmar

If you want to take photos, this would not be the best time of day, as it was hazy. A nice policy is that you can use the entry ticket multiple times on the same day. That meant that, if we wanted to, we could have returned for sunset.

Nan Myint Tower - Bagan, Myanmar
Another very nice feature is the mounted binoculars available to use.

There is so much to explore in Bagan! Spend a few hours in preparation for your trip, and you can tailor it to perfectly suit your tastes and time frame.

Prior to returning our e-bikes on our final evening in Bagan, we stopped at a store and purchased lots of snacks and water for the next day’s river trip. They serve breakfast and lunch, but we wanted to be prepared!

Our final task in New Bagan after turning in our e-bikes was to purchase our ferry tickets and to arrange a very early morning taxi. We priced several road-side ticket agents and were quoted the expected price of 32 USD each. When the booth (Than Dar E-Bike Service) near our hotel quoted 29 USD each, we jumped on the offer.

We also arranged the taxi through her (10,000 MMK / 7 USD). I think we could have hired a driver for less, but using her insured that someone who was invested in the trip was involved and we had a phone number to call if the driver did not show.

We requested the driver 15 minutes earlier than the standard time (4:15 AM vs 4:30 AM). This would allow us to secure the best seats on the boat since it is first come, first served. If the boat is full, you may have to sit outside in the chilly morning air waiting for the sun to rise!

Up Next: Read about our Bagan to Mandalay Riverboat!

GPS Coordinates:Click to expand

Day 6
Nyaung U Airport @ 21.175524,94.9287
Thurizza Hotel Bagan @ 21.136338,94.859416
Pyi Kyaw Lin E-bike Rental @ 21.132231,94.858973

Day 7 – 9
Manuhar Pagoda @ 21.153300,94.859400
Temple #843 @ 21.15472,94.88074
Nan Myint Tower @ 21.171674,94.902402
Than Dar E-Bike Service (Ferry Tickets) @ 21.132592,94.858906

Other Bagan Temples
Ananda Temple @ 21.1709,94.8677
Bu Paya Stupa @ 21.1763,94.8579
Bulethi @ 21.1739,94.8819
Dhamma Yangyi Temple @ 21.1623,94.8729
Dhammayazika Pagoda @ 21.1451,94.8834
Gawdaw Palin Temple @ 21.17,94.8567
Gu Byauk Gyi Temple @ 21.185760,94.893612
Htilominlo Temple @ 21.1787,94.8793
Law Ka Ou Shaung Temple @ 21.1622,94.8632
Lone Buddha @ 21.1426,94.8577
Mahazedi Pagoda @ 21.1693,94.8616
Manuhar Pagoda @ 21.1533,94.8594
Mingala Zedi Pagoda @ 21.1613,94.858
Myauk Guni Temple @ 21.1596,94.8711
Myazedi Pagoda and Gu Byauk Gyi temple (west) @ 21.157318,94.860739
Pathada Temple @ 21.1654,94.8627
Paya Thone Zu @ 21.162,94.9034
Pyathadar Hpaya @ 21.1584,94.8892
Sein Nyet Ama & Sein Nyet Nyima @ 21.1417,94.859
Shin Bo Me Ok Kyaung @ 21.1832,94.8905
Shwe Gugyi Temple @ 21.1708,94.8624
Shwe Zigon Temple @ 21.1953,94.8939
Shwesandaw Pagoda @ 21.1638,94.8661
Somingyi Kyaung @ 21.1463,94.8574
Sulamani Temple @ 21.165,94.8813
Tant Kyi Taung Pagoda @ 21.1554,94.7879
Thambula Temple @ 21.163,94.9041
That Byin Nyu Temple @ 21.1688,94.8629
Unknown Pagoda Ruins @ 21.1447,94.8539
Upali Thein Ordination Hall @ 21.1796,94.8763

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You can copy and paste the latitude and longitude into Google Earth, your browser, or into your GPS.

*Disclaimer- ALWAYS verify locations, transportation routes, GPS coordinates, etc. Errors are made, routes changed, sometimes we are just plain wrong. No one knows what you like more than you. If the trip is worth doing, it is worth doing right! Do your homework.