There is so much information about Bagan floating around the internet it can be hard to find the exact answer to a simple question you may have. So here are some frequently asked questions that I had before I went and that I have heard people talking about recently. Hope these will make it easier to plan your trip to this amazing place.
Scroll down for answers to these questions and more…
• I want to visit Bagan, how to get there? • How far is it from Bagan to Inle lake? • Which is better Bagan or Mandalay? • How big is Bagan? • How to pronounce Bagan? • How many temples in Bagan? • Why so many pagodas and Stupas in Bagan? • When was Bagan built? • Why visit? • How long should I stay in Bagan? How many days? • When is the best time to go? • What’s there to see and do? • What to wear in Bagan? • Where to eat? • Where to stay? • Tell me about hotels in Bagan? • In which country is Bagan?
I want to visit Bagan, how to get there? It depends where you are coming from, check out the transport to Bagan post here for precise information from Bagan to Mandalay, Yangon, Inle Lake and more.
How far is it from Bagan to Inle lake? It is approximately 350km from Bagan to Inle Lake. There is a bus, it takes 8-10 hours (you can never account for breakdowns!). You can also fly which takes about 40 minutes. Please note the airport for Inle Lake is Heho and for Bagan is Nyaung U.
Which is better Bagan or Mandalay They are both very different, but if you have to choose one, I would go for Bagan every time.
How big is Bagan? The area known as Bagan (ပုဂ) or, bureaucratically, as the ‘Bagan Archaeological Zone’, is a huge 26-sq-mile area But Bagan is made up of different small areas. The main ones being Old Bagan, New Bagan and Nyaung U. Nyaung U is where you will find the bulk of touristy restaurants and shops etc but not many sights, Old Bagan to New Bagan spans an area of approx. 5km² and this is the area where you will find the fields of Temples and Pagodas.
How to pronounce Bagan? Bah-Ghan would be the phonetic way to say Bagan.
How many temples in Bagan? There is no set number because no body really knows, tiny hidden temples exist in nooks that no-one except a local has visited. At one point there was over 10,000 with now approximately 2200 remains remaining.
Why so many Pagodas and Stupas in Bagan? From the 9th to 13th centuries, Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later become what we know now as Myanmar. This meant people flocked here and started building and building. The culture of Bagan was dominated by religion and vver the course of 250 years, Bagan’s rulers and their wealthy subjects constructed over 10,000 religious monuments (approximately 1000 stupas, 10,000 small temples and 3000 monasteries) in the Bagan plains. The prosperous city grew in size and grandeur, and became a cosmopolitan center for religious and secular studies.
When was Bagan built? Bagan started being built many hundreds of years ago, around the 9th century. With a great location on the Irrawaddy river it became a hub and capital of the empire.
Why visit Bagan? Because it is one of the most amazing sites you will ever see, no other place compares or comes close to the view of thousands of pagodas and temples that stretch as far as the eye can see. It is simply magical.
How long should I stay in Bagan? How many days? With so many temples, pagodas and stupas to explore it really is a personal choice of how many days to stay. 2-3days is an ok amount for a quick trip you can fit in 4-5 decent different temples or pagodas, but I would recommend at least 5 days to a week if you want to give it the attention it deserves and really explore.
Bagan when to go? There is no bad time to visit Bagan, it stays mostly dry even through the wet season. However for those beautiful blue skies and a milder temperature to explore the area it is recommended to visit between November to March. This is also when you will be able to see the famous Balloons at sunrise.
What to wear in Bagan? You are visiting places of religious importance and should respect the locals by dressing appropriately. There is a dress code to enter the temples and pagodas, no shoes must be worn and shoulders and knees should be covered. I have written a whole post about it here.
Where to eat? My favourite place to eat in Bagan wasn’t the hustling bustling restaurants in the center of Nyaung U. Sure they have writing and messages all over their walls saying how great they are from people from around the world, and if you are happy to wait an hour for an average burger and fries then go to the places on the main strip. However, if you prefer a tasty, cheap, filling Myanmar dish with great service, my recommendation is ‘Queen Restaurant’. You’ll find it tucked away on a quiet stretch of Lanmadaw Road inbetween The Winner Guest House and Bagan Princess Hotel, and opposite a fantastic little woodcarving shop which is also worth a visit. Eat the traditional Myanmar food served on a round plate. You won’t be disappointed!
Where to stay? Apart from the more luxurious expensive hotels and resorts in New Bagan, most of the other options for those on a backpacker budget are around the same. At this budget end you’ll get a damp and dark room for around $25. Think about paying double that for a bit more luxury. Choose if you want to be in the town or closer to the pagoda fields. Winner Guest House is popular and the location is good, however our room was damp and not comfortable at all.
Hotels in Bagan? There are many, and due to the rapid expansion and increasing tourism new ones are popping up almost weekly. Most are the same, so best to chose based on location. Word of mouth and tripadvisor reviews are the best up to date judges to go by in this fast changing country.
In which country is Bagan? Yes really I have had this question before! It is in the central region of Myanmar.
Anymore questions or answers you can think of? Just comment below and I will try to help you out 🙂