3D2N in Beautiful Bagan
March 17, 2018
From hiking an extinct volcano to watching the traditional puppet show to chasing sunrises and sunsets to visiting numerous temples, there are many activities to keep you entertained in Bagan. Spending two nights in Bagan isn’t sufficient, but it is good enough to cover the main attractions that Bagan has to offer.
Transportation from Yangon to Bagan
I travelled to Bagan from Yangon by an overnight bus which took around 10 hours. The standard of the bus depends on the category of overnight bus you book. The bus ticket costs around 20 USD per person for a VIP bus with air conditioning. I would recommend this method of transportation for those who do not suffer from motion sickness and for the heavy sleepers because it can get quite noisy if you travel with the locals and if the driver plays Burmese music.
We arrived at the Popa Mountain Resort in the morning for breakfast. Talk about breakfast with a view … You can admire the sacred Popa Taungkalat Monastery perched dramatically on top of a huge rocky outcrop. From the base, you have to climb up more than 750 steps to reach the monastery at the top. It can be extremely exhausting but it is all worthwhile when you see the 360-degrees panoramic view of the surrounding cliffs and countryside. There is a labyrinth of shrines to explore too.
Do not confuse the monastery with Mount Popa, an extinct volcano, which is much larger. It is possible to hike the extinct volcano given the right conditions and if you have sufficient time. I did not get to ascend the Popa Taungkalat Monastery nor hike Mount Popa because I only had enough time for breakfast at the resort. However, I will definitely visit this place when I return to explore Myanmar again.
At noon, the Myanmar Tourism Board arranged for lunch at the Nanda restaurant, but people often visit this restaurant for the puppet show. I’m not a huge fan of puppets because they bear a slight resemblance to clowns and I find them creepy. However, if you want to experience the local culture and heritage, watching the puppet show would be entertaining because the puppets and musicians portray the entire 2,000-year history of Myanmar. Do note that the puppet show is usually only available in the evenings.
Nanda Restaurant & Puppet Show
Address: Nyaung U Main Road, Wet-Gyi-Inn village, Bagan, Myanmar
Riding a horse-cart is one of the best ways to explore the ancient Bagan temples and you can do this after lunch. There are too many temples in Bagan and honestly, I cannot remember all their names. I visited a few major temples on the second day so scroll down for more information.
Before calling it a day, catch Bagan’s magnificent sunset from any artificial hills/mounds. There are two mounds located close to Sulamani Temple and another near Pwar Saw village.
Start your day by splurging on a hot air balloon ride to catch the sunrise. I did not get to ride a hot air balloon but I guess you’ll be getting an incredible bird’s eye view of the Bagan plains. The entire day was basically spent on visiting the major temples in Bagan such as the Shwezigon Pagoda, the Ananda Temple and the Sulamani Temple.
The Shwezigon Pagoda is one of the oldest and most eye-catching structures in Bagan. With its huge gold-plated pagoda glimmering in the sun, it is almost impossible to miss this impressive pagoda. The Ananda Temple, on the other hand, boasts a gilded sikhara, the tower-like spire on top of the pagoda. It is one of the most beautiful and longest surviving masterpiece of the Mon architecture. Unlike the Ananda Temple, the Sulamani Temple comprises of a sikhara which is not gilded. There are so many more pagodas to explore in Bagan and it is almost impossible to visit every one of them.
In the evening, rest your tired legs and feed your hungry bellies at the Teak House Bagan restaurant. I couldn’t wait to tuck into the delicious local cuisine, and my favourite was the beef curry.
Begin the final day with a horse-riding sunrise experience which lasts for 2.5 hours. You will pass through many fascinating temples and ruins in Bagan on horseback before catching the sunrise at an open field. I highly recommend this memorable trekking experience which costs 95 USD per person.
I’m not sure how much time you get on your last day in Bagan, but for me, I only had the morning free because I had to board the bus to Inle before noon. Whenever there is a shortage of time, I will head to a high view point to take in everything the city has to offer all at once. In Bagan’s case, you should aim for the 60-metres high Bagan Tower (also known as the Nann Myint Viewing Tower). Do note that there is an entrance fee of 5 USD per person.
There you have it – my 3D2N itinerary in Bagan! Feel free to change it according to your preferences and schedule.
The horse ride in Bagan looks amazing! I will do in on the next trip to Bagan.
Yes, it was an incredible experience. You should try (: