A vast plain scattered with over two thousand ancient Buddhist stupas, Bagan offers one of the most spectacular landscapes in Asia – if not the world.
“Bagan is one of the world's most unique human-sculpted landscapes. Get up at sunrise or sunset to witness the countless pagodas and stupas at their most dramatic.”
Charlotte Bower, Senior Travel Consultant
Bagan is to Myanmar as Angkor is to Cambodia: the heartland of the nation's most glorious civilisation, and an incredible repository of archaeological wonders. The region's landscape, studded with thousands of pagodas and stupas, dates back to the zenith of Burmese culture in the 11th to 13th centuries, when the Pagan Kingdom united the regions that would later form modern-day Myanmar for the first time in history.
The pagodas are spread over a broad plain of red-earthed farmland, dotted with acacia and tamarind trees, and bordered by the great Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River. Certain temples are more popular than others and receive a steady stream of visitors at all times, but with over 2,000 temples still extant in the area (out of an original 10,000), there is plenty of scope for independent exploration. You may often find yourself the only person in sight at some of the lesser-known pagodas! Hiring bicycles and cycling through the plains is an excellent way to immerse yourself in this fascinating landscape.
Interestingly, despite its intrinsic beauty and significance, Bagan has never been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO. This is thanks to botched "restorations" by the Burmese government in the 1990s, which are largely considered to have done more harm than good, damaging the archaeological integrity of the region sufficiently for UNESCO to withhold patronage. Bagan has thus yet to benefit from the funds afforded to other important historical sites around the world, but it remains an extremely impressive location and well worth your time.
Situated in Myanmar's central dry zone, Bagan avoids the worst of the rains during the summer monsoon season, and is an absolute must for visitors hoping to understand the country's religious and cultural history. Watching the sunset from the top of one of the area's many pagodas - or even taking an early morning balloon ride over the plains - are amongst the most spectacular experiences to be had in Myanmar.
Visitors have the option to stay in either New Bagan or Old Bagan, both of which have a variety of accommodation options and are well located for sightseeing in the region.
Recommended Accommodation in Bagan
The following are our favourites from among the western-style hotels and Burmese-style inns of Bagan.
Experiences in Bagan
Bagan offers a wealth of exciting experiences that will help you get beneath the surface of Myanmar's fascinating culture. See below for a few of our favourites
Weather in Bagan
The Climate Guide for Bagan is perfect for planning your holiday. Monthly weather averages give the best indication of what the weather is usually like for every month of the year including figures for temperature, rainfall and sunshine.
|Max Daytime Temperature (°C)||29||31||35||37||36||31||32||32||32||32||30||28|
|Min Night-time Temperature (°C)||15||15||19||23||25||25||25||25||25||24||20||18|
|Hours of Sunshine (Daily)||9||9||9||8||6||4||3||4||5||6||8||8|
|Hours of Daylight (Daily)||11||11||12||13||13||13||13||13||12||12||11||11|
|Heat and Humidity Discomfort||Moderate||Moderate||Very High||Extreme||Extreme||Very High||Very High||Very High||Very High||Very High||High||Moderate|
|Days with some Rainfall||1||1||1||3||12||17||19||20||16||10||4||1|
|Monthly Rainfall (mm)||4||2||2||27||144||301||316||283||232||175||50||9|
|UV Index (Maximum)||7||9||11||11+||11+||11+||11+||11+||11+||10||8||7|
Featured trips including Bagan
Climb aboard one of Myanmar's (Burma's) most luxurious river cruise vessels to discover the nation's most iconic sights and spectacular scenery.
17 nights: from US$7007 pp (twin share) Read more >
- Inle Lake
From pottery to temple vistas, cooking classes to bathing elephants, this is a culturally immersive hands on tour that will show you the true heart of Myanmar (Burma) and its people.
14 nights: Read more >
- Inle Lake
Best of Myanmar (Burma) explores the country's key destinations in a fast-paced introduction to Myanmar's fascinating history and glorious scenery.
8 nights: from US$1937 pp (twin share) Read more >