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A 3 Day Immersive Trip to the Ancient City of Bagan
This 3 Day Bagan Itinerary works best as an add on to this 7 Day Epic Myanmar Road Trip Itinerary.
With over 2000+ temples and pagodas, the Ancient city of Bagan, is rightly known as The Land of Temples and Pagodas. And as there is no actual rainy season, you can take a Trip to Bagan at anytime during the year. And when you do, this 3 Day Bagan Itinerary, will definitely help you out in your travel planning!
Day 1 – Arrive in Bagan
Arrive in Bagan from Mandalay, in the North or Inle Lake / Yangon in the South.
PS – You have to pay 25, 000 Kyat, when you enter Bagan, as the Bagan Architectural Fee, which is valid for a duration of 7-8 days. So keep the money handy, when you head to your hotel / hostel from the bus stop.
The best location for choosing accommodation is on Nyuang U – Bagan Road, closer to the river.
Check in to your hotel / hostel and sort out an E Bike for yourself. Everything is scattered in Bagan making E Bike the best option to travel and explore Bagan at your own pace.
Get a map from the reception, get acquainted with the routes, and the best points to witness the sunset and sunrise. Feed in the location on your Google Maps, and off you go!
Have something to eat from any of the many cafes scattered around, and head out to witness your first Bagan sunset.
PS – It gets really crowded, so make sure to reach early, and grab a spot with a good vantage point.
Day 2 – Explore Bagan at own Pace | Mt Popa Sunset Tour
Rise and Shine early, and head towards Suleimani Temple, on your E Bike, to catch the first sunrise during this 3 Day Trip to Bagan. There’s a small hillock towards the right side, from where you can witness the Bagan Sunrise and see the Balloons cross over your heads.
PS – When you are off to catch the Sunrise and some local approach and tell you that they’ll take you to a good spot – Go for it. 😎 You’ll love it!
Post breakfast, and a quick power nap later, head out and explore Bagan at your own pace.
Stop, where you want, when you want, for however long you want! Thats how you explore the lesser heard of temples, i.e. the offbeat Bagan on an E Bike.
Post lunch, make your way back to your hotel / hostel and head out for the Mt Popa Sunset Tour.
It ususlly costs around 9 – 10, 000 kyat/person in a shared minivan, and can be booked from your hotel / hostel.
PS – You need to get this booked, the previous day.
The tour usually starts at 2-3 PM when you will be picked up from your hotel/hostel. After an hour’s journey in the shared minivan, you reach the base of Mt Popa, which is where you start climbing.
PS – Avoid wearing shoes, as you’ll have to climb bare footed all the way up.
It takes around 40 – 45 minutes to climb up the 777 odd stairs, and then you take a breather and enjoy the panoramic views from the top, and witness the second sunset during this 3 Day Bagan Itinerary.
Once the sun has set, and you have seen the sky become a canvas post sunset, you start your climb down, which won’t take you more than 30 minutes now.
By 7 – 7:30 PM you’ll be back in Bagan, and will be tired after this long strenuous day of your 3 Day Trip to Bagan. Make it a point to get pampered. It’s cheap – 5 USD for an hour-long foot massage / 8 USD for 1 hour full body traditional massage. 😎
The place that I’m talking about is adjacent to Aroma 2 restaurant.
Enjoy a good hearty meal at any of the cafes, and make your way back to your hostel / hotel .
Day 3 – Bagan Full Day Tour with Beyond Boundaries Myanmar
After having expored Bagan for 2 days at your own pace, I would highly recommend you to explore Bagan on the last day of this 3 Day Bagan Trip, with Beyond Boundaries Myanmar.
You will be picked up at around 8 – 8:30 AM from your hotel / hostel, by a guide from Beyond Boundaries Myanmar, in a private vehicle.
The first destination that you will head to will be the Shwezigon Pagoda – A circular gold leaf-gilded stupa surrounded by smaller temples and shrines. The Shwezigon Pagoda, is believed to enshrine a bone and tooth of Gautama Buddha. The pagoda is in the form of a cone formed by five square terraces with a central solid core. There are footprints below the four standing Buddha statues here.
Next up will be Ananda Phaya, one of Bagan’s best known and most beautiful temples. Ananda Phaya is located near the Tharabar gate, the only gate remaining of the original 12 in the old Bagan city walls. The Ananda was damaged during the 1975 earthquake, and has been extensively restored since then, majorly by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
As you go temple hopping, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated, throughout the day.
After Ananda Phaya, you’ll be heading towards Dhammayangyi Temple, which while having a similar architectural plan to The Ananda, has the most massive structure in Bagan. However, the temple has got a cruel history, as it’s believed that King Narathu built the temple to atone for his sins: he smothered his father and brother to death and executed one of his wives, an Indian princess, for practising Hindu rituals. The temple’s bad karma may be the reason it remains one of the few temples not to have undergone major restoration.
Any visit to Bagan is incomplete without visiting one of the many Lacquer Ware workshops, scattered around Bagan. Which is where your next stop will be before lunch. Lacquer Ware of Myanmar is very famous and makes for some excellent souvenirs and gift items, however, there are a lot of fake products in circulation as well. The ability to spot the fake lacquer ware products, is one of the key takeaways, as you learn more about the different steps involved in the whole process.
After all this Temple Hopping, it’s time for you to enjoy a nice heart meal. Rather than going to a cafe and eating, Beyond Boundaries Myanmar, will take you into a village, where some traditional lunch will be laid out for you, at a villagers home.
This experience of dining, in a village, at a locals house, will turn out to be a highlight of your 3 Day Bagan Trip for sure.
Post lunch, spend some time with the local family, and then head to an offbeat cave temple. From here,you will be walking for 10 – 15 minutes through a thick canopy of trees, opening up into a grassland, leading to the river bed, where a private boat will be waiting for you.
Hop on to the boat, enjoy the ambiance and see the sun set behind the horizon, as you sip on some hot tea. With this sunset, your 3 Day Trip To Bagan comes to an eventful end.
After having experienced Bagan for 2-3 days, you’ll realise that this is how a Typical day in Bagan is like:
After spending 3 Days in Bagan, you can either take the night bus to Inle Lake or Yangon, or the morning bus the next day to Mandalay, and carry on with your Myanmar Road Trip following the 7 Day Myanmar Golden Kite Itinerary or this extended 2 Week Myanmar Itinerary.
The 3 Day Bagan Itinerary – Summarised
Day 1 – Arrive in Bagan from Mandalay
Day 2 – Explore Bagan at own Pace | Mt Popa Sunset Tour
Day 3 – Bagan Full Day Tour with Beyond Boundaries Myanmar | Overnight Bus to Inle Lake
Practical Tips to make the most out of your Bagan experience
- Bagan is expensive – So Be prepared 😔
- There isn’t much to do here. So, keep that book you wanted to read with you, but didn’t find time for it. 😉
- Everything closes at 9-10 PM.
- ATM’s are everywhere but if you want to exchange Indian currency, there’s one currency exchange near India Hut restaurant.
- No Grabs in Bagan. And Tuk Tuk are expensive, so HAGGLE !
- Don’t pre book your travel tickets online. You will get a better rate, if you book your onwards travel, from your hotel/hostel/local tour operator after reaching Bagan, and hotel pickup will also be included.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading about my escapades in Myanmar, and if you have any queries, or need any help in planning a trip to Myanmar, please feel free to drop in a mail to arnav@theETLRblog.com
If you enjoyed reading this, and found this 3 Day Bagan Itinerary helpful you might also find these 7 Day Itinerary guides
Or these Weekend Travel Guides to be extremely helpful !
Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this article, however Beyond Boundaries Myanmar, offered us a full day complimentary tour of Bagan. As always, the opinions on theETLRblog.com are (and always will be) my own!