What to Do in Bagan after Visiting Famous Temples

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Many people know Bagan as a sacred cultural capital with a deeply-rooted history of Buddhism and Burmese culture. It is filled with pagodas, temples, stupas, and monasteries and there are around 2000 ruins found in this alluring city at present. This is why it is one of the most frequently visited cities in Myanmar by both local and foreign travelers. Surely, you must be asking yourself: what to do in Bagan? 

Check out This Postcard from Bagan!

While it is definitely a land of temples and ancient ruins, there are also many other things to do and see in Bagan. Here’s a detailed Bagan itinerary that covers some important places to help you discover the city at its finest. We have also included what to do in Bagan to make your trip more adventurous and fun!

#1: Explore the Temples of Bagan

Ananda Temple is majestic and one of the most revered temples in Bagan.
Ananda Temple is majestic and one of the most revered temples in Bagan.

Obviously, the most famous activity in Bagan would be visiting its centuries-old temples and stupas. 

Ananda Temple is the most revered and one of the oldest religious sites in Bagan. It is a masterpiece of the Mon architecture, and the gilded top of this temple known as ‘Sikhara’ is visible even from miles away. It houses four sacred Buddha statues and devotees from around the world visit this monument annually. 

Read more: The Best Temples to Visit in Bagan!

So, a trip to Bagan wouldn’t be perfect if you don’t visit the Ananda Temple. Some other prominent temples to explore would be Shwezigon Pagoda, Gawdaw Palin Temple, and Thatbyinnu Temple.

#2: Go on a River Cruise

While in Bagan, make sure to experience the Irrawaddy River cruise.
While in Bagan, make sure to experience the Irrawaddy River cruise.

Here’s what to do in Bagan if you want to spend a relaxing and enjoyable time. Anyone who has been to Bagan would tell you that watching the sunset is something you must do here. A boat cruise is the best way to witness this breathtaking occurrence. 

Learn More: Stunning facts about Myanmar people!

There are different types of cruises offered by different companies and the price ranges according to package types. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience as you can blissfully relax while enjoying delicious food and tea. On the way, you will also spot some famous sights, and horse cart rides are available from riverbanks if you want to visit those places.

#3: Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Taking a baloon ride over Bagan may be expensive, but it is most certainly an unforgettable experience.
Taking a baloon ride over Bagan may be expensive, but it is most certainly an unforgettable experience.

A Bagan balloon ride is equally famous as exploring temples because it is simply an awe-inspiring adventure. If you want a bird’s eye view of this magnificent city dotted with temples, and filled with far stretched grasslands, we suggest you take a hot air balloon ride. 

Check out This Balloon Over Bagan Postcard!

Most rides are offered during sunrise when the ambiance is picture-perfect, and the weather is ideal for flying. Even though it is quite expensive, the unique experience it offers you is entirely worth it.  

October to March is the Bagan balloon season because the weather is favorable during this period and the prices start from 350 USD upwards.

#4: Visit the Street Markets in Bagan

Nyaung U Market is an interesting place where you can interact with locals and experience the authentic lifestyle of Myanmar people.
Nyaung U Market is an interesting place where you can interact with locals and experience the authentic lifestyle of Myanmar people.

If you are thinking what to do in Bagan besides visiting temples, strolling through its street markets can be the perfect activity. It will not only let you shop for interesting goods and try varieties of food but also helps you mingle with locals and get to know them. 

Read more: 5 Essential Things to Do in Mandalay

The Nyaung U Market is the ideal place for this as it showcases the authentic lifestyle of Myanmar people. This market is located in the northeastern part of Bagan, and everything from vegetables to clothes is sold here. 

Also, there is a night market that is located alongside Bupaya Pagoda that is famous for souvenirs and mini-restaurants.

#5: Try Delicious Cuisine

Bagan is most probably the best place to try out the exotic Myanmar food.
Bagan is most probably the best place to try out the exotic Myanmar food.

Bagan is probably the best place in Myanmar to try authentic Burmese food varieties. If you are a vegetarian, you will be pleased because there is an array of vegetarian dishes here. 

The chickpea and tofu curry (tohu thoke) is a common street food item in Bagan. The sliced tofu mixed with chickpeas and herbs is very delicious and very healthy. 

You will also find Jengkol or dogfruit widely used in many dishes here. It is an edible seed native to Southeast Asia

Fried crickets (Pa-Yit-Kyaw) is another favorite among locals. You might be a little skeptic in trying it, but go ahead and take the chance! 

#6: Trek Popa Mountain National Park

The Popa Mountain volcano with the Taung Kalat Temple on the top.
The Popa Mountain volcano with the Taung Kalat Temple on the top.

If you are a nature lover and a wildlife enthusiast, here is what to do in Bagan. Popa Mountain Nation Park is situated on the slopes of Mount Popa which is an extinct volcano. It is located 50km southeast of Bagan and would take around one and a half hours from the city.  

Read more: What to Do in Yangon, the Former Capital

The park covers an area of 49.63 kilometers and is rich in biodiversity. It is home to animals like barking deer, jungle cat, wild dog, and monkeys and there are around 140 species of birds here. 

The best time to visit the park is between November to May when the weather is favorable. It is advised to wear decent attire if you want to visit the temples and shrines located in this area.

What to Do in Bagan after Visiting Famous Temples?

What to do in Bagan after doing all the things above? There is still a lot to experience for sure!
What to do in Bagan after doing all the things above? There is still a lot to experience for sure!

Overall, Bagan is a fascinating city you must explore when you are in Myanmar. The history of Bagan is very interesting to learn, and you will be better informed about it if you travel with a tour guide.

Read more: Adrian's Myanmar Journey

Also, there are many modes of transport available in Bagan including e-bike, horse cart rides, and taxis. You can select whichever is convenient for you. 

So, we have rounded off some of the things to do in Bagan that will keep you entertained throughout. However, the list doesn’t end here, and there are many other places to visit in Bagan and other activities you can partake!

Raeesha Ikram freelance content writer for aSabbatical
Travelling isn’t a mere journey to different places. Instead, it’s an eye-opener revealing how beautifully diverse the world is.