Popular things to do in Bagan
Eat & Drink
Bagan is an open museum; a must-visit on a tour to Myanmar! Temple and pagoda visit either through walking, cycling, or ox-cart ride is the most prominent activity in this ancient city. The thrilling Balloons Over Bagan is another activity that will provide you the bird’s eye view of the city. From above you can train your probing eyes to the over 2,200 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries that were the remains of the over 10,000 shrines constructed in Bagan plains during the reign of the Kingdom of Pagan from 9th to 13th centuries. The magnificent architecture and its contribution to the Burmese temple designs make the city a remarkable place to visit.
Climate in Bagan
Bagan lies in the middle of the "dry zone" of Burma, thus, the weather here is generally arid with very little rain. It is sheltered by the Rakhine Yoma Mountain Range and is situated between Shwebo in the north and Pyay in the south.
Bagan’s Historical, Religious, and Arts and Culture Reliquary
There is a well-known proverb among Myanmar people that says: “If you are a real Myanmar, you must have been to Bagan” thus for foreign travellers we dare say, “You have never been to Myanmar if you have not visited Bagan.” That’s because of the historical, religious, and arts and culture reliquary in Bagan. You’re able to visit Ananda Temple, Dhammayangyi Pahto, Shwezigon Paya, and Htilominlo Temple.
At the Ananda Temple in Bagan you’re to visit the complete set of Jakata plaques which depict the lives of the Buddha written in Pali. The stucco and other features of the temple was restored in late 18th century.
Dhammayangyi Pahto is a huge temple visible from all Bagan, and is the largest temple in the site. This sightseeing spot was built in the 12th century in the similar style of Ananda Temple.
Enshrine at the Shwezigon Paya in Bagan is a collection of relics, including the Buddha's frontal and collar bones, a copy of the tooth relic at Kandy, Sri Lanka, and an emerald Buddha image from China. Legend has it that the site of Shwezigon was chosen by a white elephant. The most significant aspect of Shwezigon's history is that it marked the first royal endorsement of the 37 nat (spirits), a central focus of Burmese religion before the arrival of Buddhism.
The Shwezigon shrine was completed between 1086 and 1090 by King Kyanzittha (r. 1084-1113), Anawrahta’s successor. Kyanzittha was arguably Bagan’s greatest king and certainly one of its greatest builders: it was under him that Bagan became known as the "city of four million pagodas." The Shwezigon Paya has retained to this day the essential shape it assumed on completion in 1090, which became the architectural prototype for many other stupas across Myanmar. You should have been here; it is one of the greatest things to see in Bagan.
King Nantaungmya built the Htilominlo temple in 1218. It is known to be the last Myanmar Style temple built in Bagan. While keeping that in mind, this temple in an extraordinary one to visit on a tour to Bagan.
Riverside Dining, a Luxury in Bagan
Riverside dining is a luxury in Bagan to douse the heat. One famous place to go is the Bagan Thande Buffet Restaurant that offers both local and international cuisine. As part of your day trip to Bagan, you should have a taste of the traditional Burmese cuisine at the Myo Myanmar Buffet restaurant which, if other restaurants are described as excellent, this the most special one. Tasty food are treats you can get from Mya Yadanar, Haung Htet and Harmony restaurants.
Treasure from Bagan
Lacquer ware is one of the traditional crafts of Bagan, dating back to the 11th Century. And most of the good lacquer ware is made in Bagan thus having a piece of this intricate handicraft is the best souvenir you can have. Many antique pieces, from porcelain to shrine relics are also good memento.
Shwe War Thein Handicrafts Shop and Nyaung U Market
The Shwe War Thein Handicrafts Shop has lots of old lacquer ware where you can choose from along with wooden ornaments and puppets. There are also old gems, beads and assorted old jewellery. The colourful and bustling Nyaung U Market is also one of the best places to go for souvenirs. Here are many things to see from fresh produce to handicrafts.
Going Around Bagan
Keeping with its ancient culture and tradition, exploring Bagan is best on board an ox-cart, a horse rig or a bicycle. The horse rig is the great choice, you are protected from the heat of the sun and will enjoy the view as the horse slowly trod along the dirt roads. Bicycles are, however, the very convenient transport in going around the bigger area of Bagan.