No trip to Myanmar is complete without visiting the famous temples of Bagan. Therefore, we booked tickets for an overnight bus from Yangon to Bagan and we were hoping for a safe ride and at least some sleep. The ride was actually surprisingly smooth (except that everybody had to leave the bus during a 30minute break). After roughly 8 hours, we were dropped off in Bagan around 5am in the morning. Being an almost scam free country in comparison to Thailand or Cambodia, the bus stop in Bagan is actually the place in Myanmar where you get obviously ripped off by cab Drivers, who are cartel like organized leaving you without any negating power. So it might a good idea to arrange a pickup with your accommodation.
After being slightly annoyed by the cab Drivers we checked into our Hotel in Bagan. As a little hint for Myanmar travelers: There are not many good and cheap hostels in Myanmar and its often cheaper, if you travelling with friends, to book a family room. Like probably mentioned before I’m a big scooter riding fan and at a lot places it’s just the most convenient way to get around. So it is in Bagan! Therefore, we rented some electric scooters and just started to explore the area around us.
We checked off the most popular and famous Pagodas around us and then just started to drive around with no particular plan and mostly on dirt roads. The open plain makes this rather easy and you get better impression of the sheer size and beauty of the area. We spent two days like that but you can easily spend more time there (and probably should), because there’s so much to discover.
When you are googling for pictures of Bagan, there’s one motive always showing up: The sunrise with hot air balloons flying over the temples. Even if you are like us and not willing or able to spend so much money on a balloon ride (around 200$ per person!), the sunrise in Bagan is still just ridiculously beautiful. Sitting on a Pagoda and just watch the sun rising over the plain and seeing dozens of hot air balloons flying is incredible and worth waking up so early!
There are a lot of comparisons between Angkor Wat and Bagan, which one is more impressive and beautiful and so on. But actually both sights are so different that a comparison can’t be made. In Angkor every temple stands for its own, while in Bagan the sheer amount of Pagodas, Stupas was for me the real deal. As soon as you are on an elevated point, you can see religious monuments till the end of the horizon.
I have never seen something similar or even slightly comparable to Bagan.