Countless temples all over the ground, floating air balloons in the sky, and people who are waiting to catch the sunrise; it’s the typical scenery of Bagan. You’ve probably seen the picture in many places, because Bagan is one of the top attractions in Myanmar. I, as any other travelers, came to Myanmar to see this beautiful scenery which I saw everywhere on the Internet.
Here is my itinerary when I stayed 2 days in Bagan. Check out what I did in this beautiful temple town; from typical temple hopping to delicious Myanmar coffee and curries! (I calculated 1000 Myanmar kyats = $0.84USD.)
5:30 Arrive at the hostel
My friend and I arrived at the Yangon International airport the previous evening and took a night bus to Bagan to Nyaung U, a town located 5 km away from temple area in Bagan. As any other Southeast Asian night bus ride, they suddenly turned the light on in the middle of the night and shouted to get us out from the bus for dinner/toilet break. (Comment down below if you have the same experience…)
It was around 5 am when I arrived at the bus station in Nyaung U, and we still had to take a taxi to get to the city center. At the end of the long negotiation with taxi drivers, we managed to get 5000 kyat ($4.24) for us two. (which I still think is expensive…) We hadn’t booked any hostel yet, so we started to walk around the town and find one for the night.
The town is completely quiet, and had barely lights around. We tried a couple of hostels but they’re all expensive. We hated to wake people up and leave for the next one, so we finally decided to settle at a place called “Gold Star Hostel” (Google Maps) after 30 minutes of walk. It cost us 10000 kyats ($8.48) each. The place was clean, but there wasn’t any wifi…
We slept after arriving at the hostel and it was around 10 am when we woke up. We were very tired from the night bus, because we couldn’t sleep due to the never-ending loud TV shows played the whole time on the bus. We finally decided to get out butts up, and start the day.
When we were waking the Thi Ri Pyitsaya 4 Street, we found a Burmese food sign in front of a restaurant (Google Maps). A man came out from the restaurant and explained to us what their deals are, so we decided to go for the all you can eat veggie curries for 2000 kyats ($1.70) per person.
There were different kinds of curries such as cauliflowers, beans, bamboos and more. They were all delicious, and we almost finished instantly. We were super full at the end, because we weren’t expecting desserts included in the course! It was actually the best curry we had during our stay in Myanmar, so we will definitely come back next time!
12:30 Leave for the Old Bagan
Since Nyaung-U is located a little far from the Old Bagan, we decided to rent a motorcycle to get there. There were only electronic motorcycles available for rent in the whole town. (I heard government is not allowing to rent real ones for tourist) So we rent one at the hostel for 7000 kyats ($5.94) until 7 pm. (We couldn’t find a bike available for 24 hours, although we wanted to have one for the sunrise) As soon as we got one, we headed to the Old Bagan.
13:00 Ananda Temple
After driving for about 15 minutes, we arrived at the Ananda temple, which is located beside the gate to enter Old Bagan. We decided to check it out, since it seemed famous, with many tour buses stopping at the parking.
The temple had 4 golden Buddha statues facing north, south, west and east. Each one of them had different facial expressions, and it was really interesting. There were also statues on the wall describing how Buddha was born, became , in more than 200 different poses.
14:00 Thatbyinnyu Temple
After driving for about 5 minutes, we arrived at the Thatbyinnyu Temple (Google Maps). I liked the design of this temple; I eventually found myself enjoying the comparison of different temples. We quickly check out inside, and headed for the next one.
15:30 Shwegu Gyi Phaya
We walked from Thatbyinnyu Temple for a few minutes, and arrived at Shwegu Gyi Phaya (Google Maps). It was relatively taller than other temples around, so we could enjoy the view. After we spent some time at this temple, we decided to head to see sunset.
16:30 Sunset from Shwesandaw Pagoda
We decided to go to Shwesandaw Temple (Google Maps), because it’s one of the most famous places to see sunset. We arrived around 16:30, which was perfect to take enough pictures at the top. Within 30 minutes the place started to get more crowded. By the time when the sun was about to set, the place was full of people, and there was almost no space to move around. Make sure you arrive early if you wanna take cool pictures with wide spread temples behind!
We were walking around the town and looking for a place to eat that night, and we found this local restaurant with English menu. I ordered chicken curry and my friend had beef curry. There were some side dishes included, and it was 2000 kyats ($1.70) per person.
We were supposed to wake up at 5 am to see sunrise, but unfortunately we were too tired to even open our eyes, so we just slept in. (Which I think was the biggest mistake; the air balloons were only at the sunrise!) But when we were wondering what to do on that day at the lobby, a man at the hostel served us breakfast. I didn’t even know the breakfast was included, so I was so happy. And the coffee and the cookies were delicious…it was a great start of the day!
11:00 Mani Sithu Market
We decided to explore this small town for the day, so first we headed to a local market (Google Maps). The place was crowded, as the one I saw at Nyaung Shwe. People were selling fish, vegetables, fruits, and other everyday commodities. I love exploring local market and seeing normal life in the country, because it makes me excited so much more than visiting touristic attractions!
12:00 Coffee break
We decided to take a break, because we were completely defeated by the heat, even though we only walked for like 15 minutes. We stopped at the Fuji Japanese restaurant (Around here), just because we wanted to see what Japanese restaurant in Myanmar looks like. (And it just appeared in front of our eyes so) I had an iced coffee, and it cost 800 kyats ($0.68).
14:00 Shwezigon Paya
Both of us felt like we hadn’t done anything on that day, so we decided to go check out a temple inside the town (Google Maps). (At least we’ve done something!) It was also close to our hostel, and we found it on the way back from dinner the previous day. (Now you can see how lazy we are when traveling… lol) A long white corridor leading the way to the temple was breathtaking. Inside the temple, a golden shiny pagoda was standing in the middle, and people were praying in front of it.
15:00 Late lunch
Eventually we became hungry on the way, so we decided to stop at a restaurant and have lunch (Around here). I ordered vegetable curry and my friend ordered fish curry. We also got several side dishes for free. It was 2000 kyats e($1.70) each. Now I’m obsessed with side dishes and can’t wait to try them at other restaurants!
16:00 Another coffee break
There was this little café close to our hostel and it always looked crowded with many people, so we decided to give it a try (Google Maps). We ordered a cup of Myanmar coffee (400 kyats = $0.34), like the locals did. It was a very sweet coffee, but somehow it was addictive for me, like the one I had in Thailand. There was also a tea pot on the table, so you can enjoy free tea at the same time!
17:30 Pickup at the hostel
We booked bus tickets to Inle Lake the previous night, and it cost 10000 kyats ($8.48) per person. A truck picked us up at our hostel, and it drove us to the bus station we were in the first night in Nyaung U. We took a bus from there.
It was such a short stay, but we enjoyed spending time in this old temple town. Make sure you get up early and go see sunrise; don’t make the same mistake as ours! If you’ve been to Bagan, let me know what you did and your recommendations in the comment down below!