What else to do in Bagan?

If you are in Bagan, and find that temples and pagodas are not really your thing, then what else can you do to pass the time?

The temples and pagodas of Bagan seemingly go on forever
The temples and pagodas of Bagan seemingly go on forever

I cannot believe that when you are in Bagan you might not want to experience the various temples across the plains, but then again, there are simply so many to choose from! I must have visited around 10 of the most significant temples or pagodas, but there were also many others that I missed out on. Depending on how long you stay in Bagan – and how interested in Buddhist temples you are – you may get to see more of these decaying landmarks than I did. But if you fancy checking out something a little different, Bagan does offer more than you probably first thought – including 7 great suggestions below!


Horse and cart rides are a traditional and romantic way to travel around the Bagan township, and beyond.


An important landmark and entrance to the temples and pagodas of Bagan can be found at Tharabar Gate, which also contains a small Buddha statue inside


Shop in the marketplaces of Old Bagan and find yourself a bargain or two as well as the chance to discover some classic Burmese cuisine


The underrated Bagan Archaeological Museum is an indoor attraction to get you out of the heat (and dust) and contains a vast array of antiquities


Mount Popa, just outside of Bagan, is the site of an important Buddhist pilgrimage at the top of a modest-sized mountain


Check out seldom-visited Minnathu Village to see how real Burmese people live in rural Bagan with farming, textiles, and lacquer ware traditions on display


Balloons Over Bagan is perhaps the ultimate way to see the Archeological Zone (albeit expensive) as you fly through the morning air looking down at the marvellous historic buildings that fill this part of Myanmar!

Whatever you end up doing in Bagan, make sure you have a memorable time!

18 thoughts on “What else to do in Bagan?

  1. If I had a chance to see Bagan, after visiting those pagodas, I would love to visit Minnathu village. Talking and knowing how the locals live in real is remarkable experience that can’t be replaced by anything. Thanks for sharing, Lee. It would be on my notes when I visit Bagan in the future..


    1. Thanks Jinjoo! 🙂 The scenery from those balloons down below is also incredible! 😛 It is a great way to explore the vast plains of Bagan – it’s just a shame it is such an expensive way to travel.


  2. i plan to visit Bagan in the future. it’s on my list of to-do things. i had a good experience visiting Angkor Watt and thought that i may experience something similar at Bagan. what do you think? is it worth it?


    1. Bagan is totally worth it! 😀 It’s more expensive to visit (due to accommodation) than Siem Reap in Cambodia, but for a few nights it will be an experience like no other. 🙂


    1. Hi Jack. Hope you have a great time in SE Asia, and. I hope you can fit in Myanmar into your itinerary. You can backpack overland between Thailand and Myanmar pretty easily nowadays (albeit with long bus journeys) so even if you’re not flying into Myanmar, it is still a worthwhile option to consider.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The balloon flights over Bagan are not cheap, as they are $330USD per person. However, they are British-made balloons and have a perfect safety record (as far as I know). If you have the money to spare then it will be a great experience. The flights ‘depart’ in the morning as this is when the tropical weather is best for flying. You can see the pagodas and temples below in the pleasant early morning sun. It is an amazing experience. http://www.balloonsoverbagan.com/home


          1. Stupid me!!! Thanks a lot!!!!! I owe you a coffee whenever and whevever I meet you. Can you also suggest some interesting links for things to do in Mandalay Inle Lake and the best travel mode from Mandalay to Bagan. I read somewhere about the river route and I am so tempted to do it!!!


  3. So well written, full of important tips for new tourists . We are so v. Grateful except if u cld advise us the best bus to travel from Bagan to Yangon, leaving around 8.00am. We need a comfortable, air cond n vip express bus but cld not find the morning depature from JJ bus company. Thank u. Is OWay bus reliable n good. This company off one way from Bagan to Yangon, departing on the 8.00am or 7.00am. Pls advise is this a gd comfortable vip bus to travel. Price is only US9 PLUS PLUS .


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