Bagan

Bagan is the most popular city in Myanmar, and rightly so! It is an ancient archaeological city and UNESCO World Heritage Site comprised of over 3000 Buddhist temples, pagoda’s and monasteries. Bagan was built alongside the Ayeyarwady River between the 11th and 13th century and quickly became the capital of the region. Much of the development is credited to King Anwrahta who unified the villages of Bagan in 1044AD and formed the first Pagan Empire.
Today, Bagan is still clouded in it’s history and remains for the most part, a religious pilgrimage site for the Burmese people. However, the religious significance of the area is slowly becoming overshadowed by its growing popularity as a tourist site.

We opted to stay at Ostello Bello Hostel, which was newly built, relatively well priced, clean and full of other young travellers. Ostello Bello is located in the ‘New Bagan’ district which boasts newly established hotels and restaurants in close proximity to the Archaeological zone. From here you can go on foot or rent either push bikes or e-bikes to visit the attractions. We opted for the e-bikes which made exploring a little more bearable in the summer heat.

Once you have your mode of transport set up, its fairly easy to get around. Main roads wind through the Archaeological zone making it difficult to get lost. There are also plenty of smaller offload trails to explore, but typically these will loop back around to the main road.

The most breathtaking views across the landscape are at sunrise and sunset. We made sure not to miss a single one while we were in Bagan. Each day we picked a new stupa or pagoda to climb and watch the sun make is ascent/descent. At sunrise you will see a lot of people opting for the hot air ballooning experience. We considered it, but the hefty price tag convinced us to pass on doing it, which looking back was a great option! The balloons sat around the same height if not lower than some of the pagodas and temples. Because we were able to climb up at the time of my visit, we got a similarly spectacular view as the balloons, if not better (I believe as of 2019 the government has banned climbing due to conservation efforts so it may be better to book the balloon for future travels).

Another not to be missed highlight of Bagan is its vegetarian restaurant Be Kind to Animals The Moon. This restaurant had some of the best food I tried in Myanmar. They use mineral water to clean their vegetables so it is safe to try the fresh dishes and salads. We ended up eating here almost every day we were in Bagan as it was just too good to pass up!







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