Bagan Guide: how to reach the city, where to sleep and eat, what to do and see
1. How to get there
- by flight
The Nyaung U airport is only 15 km from New Bagan. Once at the arrival you can take a taxi to reach your accommodation. It served by the local flight companies as Air Bagan, Yangon Airways, Air Mandalay and Myanmar Airways.
- by bus
The buses (Yangon, Mandalay, Kalaw, Inle lake) depart and arrive at Shwe Pyi bus terminal, located south-east of Nyaung U. Also from here, you can take a taxi to get your accommodation.
- by train
The Bagan railway station is close to the Bus terminal, here you can take a train to/from Yangon (around 16 hrs) and Mandalay (approximately 8 hours). It’s a really cheap way to travel but it takes a long time. Click here to check the trains schedule.
- by boat
An enjoyable experience is to reach Bagan by boat from Mandalay (slow boat with locals or the touristic fast boat). The Mandalay jetty is Gaw Wein, whereas in Bagan is Nyaung U jetty. Here you’ll find taxis ready to take you at your Hotel. You can buy the ticket for the fast boat in the local tour agencies in Mandalay or simply asking at your hotel. If you want to try the unforgettable experience of the “slow boat” cruising the Irrawaddy river with the locals, go straight to the Gaw Wein jetty where you’ll find the ticket counter. The slow boat departs only on Sunday and Wednesday at 5.30 and takes more than 16 hours to get to Bagan. Click here to read about our experience aboard the “slow boat”.
The best website to find and book all the means of transport to travel through Myanmar is 12.goasia.com.
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2. Where to sleep
The Bagan area comprises four main settlements: Nyaung U, Old Bagan, Myinkaba and New Bagan. All the areas offer a good range of budget and mid-priced accommodation. Nyaung U is the most people’s arrival point in the region, and the centre of the village is atmospheric, with some colonial architecture, the market, budget accommodations and many restaurants and bars. Old Bagan has some of the most beautiful and expensive hotels, several of which have great views of the temples or the Irrawaddy River. New Bagan has a good range of accommodations and restaurants. We slept in New Bagan at Betelnut Hotel along Kayai street. You can find your accommodation using booking.com, Agoda.com or Trip.com
3. Where to eat
In Bagan, you’ll have a wide choice of local restaurants offering Asian, Thai, Burmese, Chinese, Indian and also international cuisine. We tried The Moon restaurant, the Khaing Shwe Wah restaurant and the Weather Spoon’s Bagan Restaurant and Bar. Click below to find all the restaurants in Bagan.
The best way to enjoy the beautiful plain is to rent an E-bike (around 10.000 kyats) or a bike. You’ll find shops and stalls for renting them everywhere. You also have the choice of renting a taxi for the whole day (30 $-40$) or taking a cart drawn by a horse (but it’s really slow).
- Entrance fee: you have to buy the ‘’entry pass’’ valid 5 days at some of the Bagan checkpoint once arrived (airport, jetty or along the road). The cost is 25.000 kyat, and they will check your pass sometimes during the visit. Since we got to Bagan by boat from Mandalay, we bought the pass at Nyaung U jetty.
- Hot air balloon: one of the most exciting experience you can do in Bagan, it’s to fly over the thousands of temples with a hot air balloon. It is a chance to see Bagan waking up in the morning enjoying a warm sunrise. It runs from mid-October to mid-March, the flight is 45 minutes, and it costs around 340 US Dollars. You can have a look at these companies: Gandawunshe, Myanmar tourismytt and Visit Myanmar travels.
6. Tour agencies
You can also use the web platforms Viator.com and GetYourGuide.com to see and arrange your tours in Bagan. They both offer activities and services managed by the local tour agencies.