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Wednesday, 4th November 2015

Different ways to explore Bagan

Formerly know as Pagan, Bagan Archaeological Zone is a spectacle, featuring beautiful scenery and a plethora of Buddhist structures.

Bagan's geography occupies 26 square miles of Burma and features the Irrawaddy River, which drifts past its northern and western sides. 

Not just a home to all things beautiful and spiritual, Bagan also affords you a few inventive ways to get around and really see it at its best.

Nyaung U

This northeast area is known as the transport hub of Bagan and is the closest thing the area has to a city. Realistically it's more akin to an overgrown village.

Nyaung U is a busy river town, which is a popular choice for backpackers as it's quiet and there's a lot of freedom to roam the back roads towards its jetty.

It's also a popular stop because there's a decent restaurant scene alongside the transport links to other destinations around Burma. 

Although there are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Nyaung U, it doesn't have much in the way of nightlife, so it wouldn't be a good choice for those looking to party all night.

Balloons and bicycles

An absolute must for visitors to Bagan, is to take a journey in a hot air balloon at dawn, the view is second to none.

Having said that, if you feel that heights aren't appealing to you, then explore to Shwesandaw Paya and Pyathada Paya at ground level.

These are two of the most popular buildings to climb and from them you'll not only see the sunrise, you'll also catch sight of hot air balloons rising from behind stupas and towards the morning.

Dawn hot air balloon rides are very popular, so you'll need to be organised to take part in one, but don't forget that you can also cycle around the temples.

Some visitors to Bagan prefer this method as it allows you to set off on your own and discover the more remote spots of the area.

A real highlight to cycling around is the quiet; you'll be away from hoards of tour buses and cars. 

Bicycles are available to hire from your hotel or from shops around Old Bagan; they're very easy to come across.

Feeling adventurous?

Most visitors fly straight into Bagan, but central Burma has much in the way of scenic routes for those who are so inclined.

Scenic rewards for adventurous travellers include highways, rickety train tracks and you can also traverse in ox carts through Bagan's rice fields and plains.

A 12-mile oval of paved roads surrounds the main action of towns in Bagan, which are the most easily accessible option.

Those who are looking for more of a bumpy experience can head to the plain to see the areas where most of the temples are via dusty dirt roads and trails.

Whether you want a gentle journey or a budget backpack adventure, everyone can get around Bagan in a way that suits them and shows everything it has to offer.  

Related news stories:
Is it worth visiting the Bagan Archaeological Museum? (10th October 2016)
Why is Bagan not a World Heritage Site? (19th April 2016)
Buddhas of Burma (part one) (6th July 2016)
How to add a spot of luxury to your Burma itinerary (27th October 2015)