A compilation of photos of the ancient Bagan Temples and Pagodas in Myanmar (Burma). Including tips on how to make the most of your visit to Bagan.
There are so many useful guides on the internet for finding the best Bagan Temples and Pagodas. However, I found that the best experience was to just grab a scooter and explore on your own. With over 4000 pagodas to discover, why not go off the map in this instance and embrace your inner Indiana Jones?
Rather than writing a complete guide to Bagan’s Temples and Pagodas in the Archaeological Zone, I’ll give you some quick tips on how to make the most of the experience. The rest is up to you!
Oh, and of course, you’ll find some photos and videos of these ancient wonders to inspire your trip!
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
Getting to Bagan
The best way to get to Bagan and pretty much anywhere else in Myanmar is to take long-distance overnight buses. There are well-connected bus routes between Bagan and other tourist hubs including Yangon, Mandalay, and Inle Lake.
Since bus providers and timetables change constantly, it's best just to use BookAway in Myanmar for your long-distance travel needs.
I've written a separate article on how to get around in Myanmar which focuses on getting to Inle Lake, but you'll get useful tips for Bagan there too.
Bagan Pagodas and Temples - Video
Here's a quick 50-second video of some of the highlights of Bagan's Archaeological Zone.
Where to See Pagodas in Bagan
The Bagan Archaeological Zone is a huge area centered around Old Bagan, just a couple of kilometers from New Bagan. This area covers a 13 x 8 flat plane where you will find over 4000 Bagan temples and pagodas and up to 10 000 religious monuments (when including monasteries and statues).
You can hire an electric scooter from almost anywhere in New Bagan and explore the archaeological zone at will.
Bagan Archaeological Zone Fee: 25,000 Kyat
This fee is payable upon arrival in Bagan at the ticket station just outside New Bagan. Make sure to keep your ticket on you while exploring as guards sometimes ask to see your ticket.
Bagan Electric scooter price: 6,000 Kyat per day ($4 USD)
You'll find rental places all over New Bagan and Nyaung U. I stayed at Lux Pillow, and these guys organized a bike for me for a good price without even trying to haggle. I'd highly recommend staying here if you're a backpacker or budget traveler in Myanmar.
Sunrise on a Rooftop Pagoda
By far, the best way to experience Bagan's temples and pagodas is to find a spot to watch the sunrise over the ancient planes.
Unfortunately, due to restrictions, many pagodas are locked off and climbing them for sunrise is no longer possible.
With that said, it is still possible to find a few select spots. Since these are changing all the time, I'd suggest downloading the Maps.me app and finding up-to-date pins and comments for where to find the best sunrise spots in Bagan.
Tips for Visiting Bagan
- Hot Air Balloons only operate in the cool season between October and February.
- If you're in Bagan in the hot season, plan to explore in the early morning and late afternoon, temperatures get as high as 50 degrees Celsius at midday
- Rent an electric scooter to explore or hire a guide (below)
- Respect archaeological restrictions
- Explore freely - there are some must-sees, but the best Bagan temples and pagodas I saw were on spontaneous outings
Worthwhile Tours in Bagan
Since I visited Bagan in the hot season, I chose to just rent an ebike and explore all of Bagan's temples and pagodas by myself.
However, if you're visiting in the tourism season, then taking a hot air balloon ride would be incredible! Also, there are some very well reviewed local guides. Below is a list of a few high-value tours and activities in Bagan:
- Half-day Bagan tour for under $12 - Good for finding some great pagodas and temples
- Full-day cultural tour with guide - Local guide who shows you the very best of Bagan and explains everything you need to know about the ancient Buddhist sites
- Best-reviewed Bagan balloon experience - Good value and excellent reviews for a full Bagan hot air balloon experience - one for the bucket list!
Where to Stay in Bagan
One of the most popular areas to stay in Bagan is Nyaung U, which is located close to the airport and has plenty of budget-friendly accommodations such as guesthouses and hostels.
Alternatively, New Bagan is a more modern part of the city and offers mid-range & luxury hotels. Lastly, Old Bagan is the most historic area where you will see all the temples and Pagodas, Accommodations here are a bit more expensive but convenient.
1. The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate Luxury
Located in Old Bagan, this luxury hotel is ranked the best luxury hotel in Bagan. Complete with an outdoor spa and wellness center to recoup after a long day of exploring Bagan temples and pagodas.
2. Bagan Hotel River View Mid-Range
A pool, breakfast, and one of the best river views in Bagan. There's a reason why this hotel is rated one of the best in Bagan.
3. Lux Pillow I Stayed
Budget hostel with really clean rooms + AC. Free breakfast, free washing, and good vibes. You can also rent an e-bike or electric scooter from these guys.
Photos of Bagan Temples and Pagodas
Here's a photo set of some of my favorite snaps from Bagan, Myanmar.
More Myanmar Travel Guides
I hope that you enjoyed this quick photo-blog of Bagan's temples and pagodas. For my Myanmar travel guides and articles, take a pick from the list below.