HomeAsiaSoutheast AsiaMyanmarBagan Bagan Trip + Itinerary Guide for First-Timers By Marcos Detourista. Updated on January 14, 2019. Here’s a detailed Bagan travel guide with sample itinerary, budget, spots to visit, places to stay & more. Bagan is Myanmar’s top travel destination, and for good reason. The scale of this ancient city rivals that of the most impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia. Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobudur Temple in Indonesia impress visitors with colossal structures. Bagan, on the other hand, astonishes with quantity — thousands of spire-topped pagodas and temples built across wide plains. Traveling to Bagan for the first time? This detailed travel guide will make it easy for you to plan a trip, save money, and maximize your time. Scroll down to read must-know travel tips before you go, followed by a sample itinerary + budget breakdown , recommended hotels/places to stay , things to do/places to visit and lots of extra travel tips. Follow me on Instagram Get Started How to get to Bagan — Most travelers arrive in Bagan by bus from Yangon in Central Myanmar or Mandalay in North Myanmar. Travel time from Yangon to Bagan by bus is around 10 hours. From Mandalay, the bus ride should take 5 to 6 hours. By air, Bagan can be reached by flying to Nyaung-U Airport. See bus fares How many days in Bagan — Although one day is enough to visit all the major temples in Old Bagan, I suggest that you spend a more relaxed two or three full days for sightseeing. Remember to consider the long land/bus journey between Bagan and Yangon/Mandalay, which will add a day or two to your itinerary. Book your hotel early — The best areas to stay are Nyaung-U and Old Bagan. Grab rock-bottom rates and avoid fully-booked rooms by booking online as soon as you know you’re going. Click below to compare discounts and read reviews by other travelers. Cheapest ratesBest hotel reviews Check prices online and pre-book discounts — Save money by checking discounts on tours, airport/city transfers & sim card/WiFi hotspots. Booking before you leave also saves you time by avoiding the hassles of bringing large amounts of cash & exchanging currency/money during your actual trip. See top discounts When is the best time to visit Bagan — Bagan is hot all-year & can be enjoyed any month. That said, the best time to go is during the cooler months from October to February. The next best is the rainy season from May to September. March and April are the hottest months with temperatures often scorching over 40°C. Myanmar visa for Filipinos — Philippine passport holders do not need a visa to enter Myanmar for short stays of up to 14 days. See more blogs & travel guides 16 Beautiful Countries in Asia 6 Places To Visit in Myanmar Bagan Travel Guide Blog Get Started Bagan Itinerary Bagan Budget Where to Stay in Bagan Travel Tips Before You Go Places to Visit in Bagan + Things To Do More Travel Guides & Blogs Bagan Itinerary What to do in Bagan in 3 days? Here’s a 3 days & 2 nights (3D2N) itinerary for your do-it-yourself (DIY) trip. It’s suited for first-time visitors who want to maximize their Myanmar trip by visiting Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay. This itinerary assumes you’ll be starting in Yangon, traveling to Bagan on an overnight bus, and spending two full days temple-hopping in Bagan. Feel free to tweak the activities & timings below based on your traveling style, schedule & attractions that interest you the most. Day 0: Bus to Bagan Time Activity 08:00 pm Yangon to Bagan Bus Day 1: Bagan Temples Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar Ananda Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Dhammayan Gyi Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Sulamani Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Time Activity 05:30 am Arrival in Bagan 05:45 am Bagan Shwe Pyi Highway Bus Terminal to hotel transfer 06:00 am Bagan hotel check-in Cheapest rates 07:30 am Start Bagan temples tour Shwezigon Pagoda Ananda Temple Bagan Archaeological Museum Gawdaw Palin Shwesandaw Pagoda Dhammayan Gyi Temple Sulamani Temple Day 2: Mount Popa & Old Bagan Mahabodhi Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Mount Popa Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Wooden monastery in Taung Bi Village, Bagan, Myanmar Time Activity 05:00 am Hotel-pick-up for hot air balloon sunrise experience 06:30 am Hot air balloon tour 07:15 am Light breakfast 08:00 am Bagan to Mount Popa transport 09:30 am Mount Popa Temple 10:30 am Mount Popa to Bagan transport 01:00 pm Continue Bagan temples tour Htilominlo Upali Thein Nat Taung Kyaung Monastery Maha Bodhi Phaya Bu Paya Shwegu Gyi Phaya Thatbyinnyu Day 3: Bagan Departure Time Activity 08:00 am Bagan to Mandalay bus 02:00 pm Arrival in Mandalay On the last day, you can also go on a bus to Mandalay or Kalaw/Nyang Shwe (jump-off to Inle Lake) instead. If you plan to go back to Yangon and you have limited time, consider taking an Bagan-Yangon overnight bus on day 2. Bagan Budget Your travel expenses will largely depend on your traveling style and how much you plan to spend on activities, accommodations & food. To help you set your own budget, here are budget estimates if you follow the 3 days and 2 nights (3D2N) itinerary posted above. Make sure to review all discounts & online booking prices. Transport expenses breakdown MMK 29,000 Yangon to Bagan VIP bus — One-way VIP bus fare, per person price online.Pre-book here MMK 20,700 Bagan to Mandalay bus — One-way VIP bus fare, per person price online.Pre-book here MMK 12,000 E-bike rental — MMK 6,000 per day rental x 2 days. MMK 6,000 Bagan bus terminal to hotel roundtrip transfer — MMK 3,000 one-way x 2. Activities/attraction costs breakdown MMK 25,000 Bagan Archaeological Zone — Entrance fee per person. MMK 5,000 Bagan Archaeological Museum — Entrance fee per person. Budget Trip – Backpacker expenses MMK 67,700 Transport — Bus tickets to/from Bagan, hotel transfers, E-bike rentals. Excludes half-day car charter to Mount Popa. MMK 27,000 Accommodations — 2 nights in a budget hostel. USD 10 per bed per night x 2 = USD 20 / MMK 27,000. MMK 35,000 Food — Budget meals. MMK 5,000 per meal x 7. MMK 129,700 Sub-total — Including accommodations, food & selected transport above. Excluding attractions/activities & flights. Approximately PHP 4,902 / USD 95 / SGD 128. MMK 30,000 Activities — Bagan temples & museum entrance fees MMK 159,700 Total — Including activities & 3 days expenses above. Excludes hot air baloon & Mount Popa car charter. Approximately PHP 6,042 / USD 118 / SGD 157. Other activities MMK 400,000 Bagan Hot Air Balloon Sunrise Experience — Per person discount price online.Book online MMK 30,000 Half-day car rental to Mount Popa — Price per vehicle. Half-day car charter to Mount Popa from Bagan. MMK 40,200 Bagan car charter — Price per vehicle (up to 4 people). Whole-day car charter around Bagan temples.Book online Where to Stay in Bagan There are three main areas to stay in Bagan: Nyaung-U, Old Bagan & New Bagan. Nyaung-U offers a convenient location close to transportation hubs (the airport, bus terminal, and train station) and the widest choice of restaurants. Old Bagan is nearest to the main temples and is mostly home to upscale resorts. The farthest is New Bagan, which offers more budget and mid-range options. Check discountsSee more Click below to compare rates and Bagan hotel reviews within your budget. Best Luxury Hotels in Bagan — Splurge at the best 5-star and 4-star hotels in Bagan.See rates & reviews Under USD 80 Promo rates on 4-Star & 5-Star Bagan hotels — Grab discounts on luxury rooms available for booking today.See discounts Under USD 60 Recommended 3-Star Bagan hotels & mid-range accommodations — Great-value rooms for couples or when traveling with family & friends.See rates & reviews Under USD 40 Best Bagan budget hotels — For travelers looking for decent yet affordable accommodations.See rates & reviews Under USD 20 Best Bagan hostels & budget hotels — affordable places to stay for backpackers/solo travelers.See rates & reviews From USD 10 Cheapest places to stay in BaganSee rates & reviews Top-rated places to stay in Bagan Heritage Bagan Hotel Splurge / Nyaung-U See discounts Bagan Lodge Hotel Splurge / New Bagan See discounts Amazing Bagan Resort Splurge / Nyaung-U See discounts Sky View Hotel Budget / Nyaung-U See discounts Ostello Bello Bagan Hostel Budget Backpacker / New Bagan See discounts Ostello Bello Bagan Pool Budget Backpacker / New Bagan See discounts Where to book Book your room through these trusted booking sites. I use them frequently to grab rock-bottom prices & enjoy convenient bookings. Click below to confirm the lowest prices: Booking.comAirbnbAgoda Book sooner rather than later if you already have your dates set. Cheaper-priced rooms and hotels with high reviews tend to get fully booked faster, especially during busy days like weekends, holidays & peak tourist seasons. Bagan Travel Tips Before You Go Do I need a visa to visit Bagan, Myanmar? Myanmar tourist visa for Filipinos How to get to Bagan How to get to Bagan from the Philippines Yangon to Bagan by bus Mandalay to Bagan by bus Bus Terminal to Bagan center How much is the entrance fee to Bagan? How to get around Bagan? What currency to carry when traveling to Myanmar? Exchanging Philippine Peso to Burmese Kyat Should I book my Bagan hotel online? Pre-book your Bagan tours & attraction tickets online Do I need a visa to visit Bagan, Myanmar? Citizens of 8 countries may enter Myanmar without a visa for tourism/transit purposes. Maximum stays vary from 14 days or 30 days depending on nationality. Countries that enjoy visa-free entry to Myanmar include The Philippines, Singapore…Visit this Wikipedia page for a comprehensive list of countries with visa-free access. For a hassle-free trip, make sure that you are able to provide the following typical requirements at the immigration checkpoint: Valid passport not expiring within 6 months. Confirmed flight ticket/s back to your home country or onward destination that you are allowed to enter. Evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover the entire duration of your visit. Proof of accommodation — Hotel reservations or letter of invitation from your friend/family residing in Bagan. Evidence that you are visiting for travel or holiday purposes only. Remember to always check for changes in the visa policy of any country that you want to visit. You can find official visa information at the https://evisa.moip.gov.mm website. Myanmar tourist visa for Filipinos Filipinos/Pinoy tourists do not need a visa to enter Myanmar granting the purpose is tourism or transit. Philippine passport holders get a maximum stay of 14 days. Simply show up at the immigration checkpoint and get your passport stamped. Keep in mind that all countries have the right to refuse entry to any person even if they are eligible for the free tourist visa or have a valid visa on hand at the border. At the very least, have these on hand at the immigration checkpoint: Return/onward ticket, hotel reservations & tours/attraction tickets that you have pre-booked online. These documents will help to convince immigration officers that you are really are visiting as a tourist, NOT for work, and you are able to fund the entire duration of your trip. How to get to Bagan Most travelers arrive in Bagan by bus from Yangon in Central Myanmar or Mandalay in North Myanmar. Bagan is located between these two cities. Travel time by bus from Yangon is around 10 hours. Meanwhile, traveling by bus from Mandalay takes around 6 hours. Getting to Bagan by air is the fastest, but most expensive option. A one-way plane ticket from Yagon to Bagan usually costs USD 100 to 200. Flight duration is 1 hour and 20 minutes. Bagan can also be reached by train (slow and uncomfortable) or by slow boat from Mandalaw (seasonal) How to get to Bagan from the Philippines There are no direct flights between any airport in the Philippines and Myanmar. To get to Bagan, you’ll need to book flight connections to Yangon or Mandalay via Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong. Then, travel to Bagan by land or air. Yangon to Bagan by bus Yangon is usually the starting point for trips to Bagan. Travel time from Yangon to Bagan by bus is 10 hours give or take. The trips are mostly overnight buses, departing Yangon from 7–9 pm and arriving in Bagan from 5–7 am. The one-way bus fare is MMK 22,000–29,000 per person. Check prices & pre-book online Mandalay to Bagan by bus Travel time from Mandalay to Bagan by bus is around 5 to 6 hours. Departure from Mandalay is usually mid-morning with arrival in Bagan by mid-afternoon. The one-way fare is MMK 20,500+ per person. Check prices & pre-book online Bus Terminal to Bagan center Buses to Bagan arrive at Bagan Shwe Pyi Highway Bus Terminal in Nyaung-U. The Bus Terminal is situated 5 kilometers away from Nyuang-U center and around 10 kilometers away from Old Bagan & New Bagan. Shared transfers from the bus terminal to Nyuang-U should cost MMK 3,000 per person (more to New Bagan or Old Bagan). How much is the entrance fee to Bagan? A 5-day entry ticket to the Bagan Archaeological Zone costs MMK 25,000 per person. How to get around Bagan? The popular means of transport around the temples are E-bikes, horse carts, car/taxi, guided tour transport & pedal bicycles. E-Bike Electric bicycles are cheap… and fun! Daily rentals cost MMK 5,000 to 10,000 per day. Remember to test the condition of the bike (particularly the bakes and accelerators) before leaving the shop. Private Car Hassle-free, air-conditioned and quite affordable. Perfect if you’re traveling in a group. The price is MMK 25,000 half-day or MMK 40,200 full-day. Horse cart It’s an interesting way to get around, but in reality, the experience is bumpy, uncomfortable, dusty, and exhausting. Only consider horse-carts for short point-to-point transfers, like getting to the sunrise/sunset spots. Rate is usually MMK 20,000 per day or more. Pedal bicycle The cheapest way to get around Bagan. Bicycles only cost MMK 1,000 to 2,000 per day. I don’t recommend it for full-day sightseeing though. Daytime temperatures in Bagan are scorching and temples are spread too far apart to cycle comfortably. What currency to carry when traveling to Myanmar? Burmese Kyat (abbreviated as MMK or K or Ks) is the official currency of Myanmar. Thus, you’ll need Burmese Kyats for your expenses in Bagan. You should be able to change your USD, EUR or SGD at most banks/money exchange stalls. It’s important to bring bills in crisp & pristine condition. Otherwise, it might not get accepted. Better yet, withdraw MMK bills at an ATM when you arrive in Myanmar. I use my ATM card a lot when I travel because it’s way more convenient than to worry about what currency to bring and exchange. Because banks charge a fee per withdrawal, I make sure to withdraw large amounts instead of doing multiple smaller transactions. A great way to minimize bringing/exchanging cash is by using a credit card and pre-booking hotels, tours, transport etc. online. I opt to pay in my home currency, if available. That way, I know exactly how much is charged to my account. Exchanging Philippine Peso to Burmese Kyat You can get the best rates by withdrawing from ATMs or bring USD bills. Remember to check if your bank requires you to activate your card for international withdrawals. Your card might be useless otherwise. For example, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) requires me to call their 24-hour hotline to activate my Cirrus ATM card before I travel abroad. On the other hand, My Unionbank debit cards (Visa and Mastercard) does not need activation to withdraw money abroad. PHP is rarely accepted at bank/currency exchange shops in Myanmar. Should I book my Bagan hotel online? Book your stay sooner rather than later if you already have your dates set. Cheaper-priced rooms tend to get fully-booked faster, especially during busy days like weekends, holidays & peak tourist seasons. I frequently book my stay with the sites below to grab rock-bottom prices & enjoy hassle-free trips. Click below to see today’s lowest prices. AgodaBooking.com Having hotel reservations is very important when traveling abroad because immigration officers often require tourists to provide the address of their accommodation. Here top reasons why I prefer to book online & why you should too: Wide selection of hotels/hostels. Often cheaper prices than walk-in rates. Earn rewards points for every booking. The more you book, the more you earn! Trusted by millions of travelers. Read reviews from actual staying guests. Instant confirmation and free cancellation on most properties. Pay in your home currency. Worry less about bringing cash/exchanging currencies. Convenient & secure payment by credit card or Paypal. Fast customer support. Pre-book your Bagan tours & attraction tickets online I often book online to enjoy discounts and cashless convenience during my actual trip. Always check prices of tours and attraction tickets on these booking sites: KlookGetYourGuide Prices are often cheaper than booking on-site. Huge discounts on many activities. Maximize your trip! Avoid wasting time queueing at ticket booths & shopping for tours. Get a good idea what to expect. Knowing all the inclusions/non-inclusions & reading user reviews is very helpful to make an informed decision. Earn rewards points for every booking. Pay in your home currency. Worry less about bringing cash/exchanging currencies. If you’re booking tours and you’ve already finalized your travel dates, book early, especially if you are traveling with family/friends to lock-in those open slots for everyone in your group. Places to Visit in Bagan + Things To Do Check out these top tourist spots, best places to visit & things to do in Bagan. 1. Dhammayan Gyi Temple 2. Ananda Temple 3. Shwesandaw Pagoda 4. Sulamani Temple 5. Htilominlo 6. Gawdaw Palin 7. Maha Bodhi Phaya 8. Shwezigon Pagoda 9. Thatbyinnyu 10. Mount Popa Temple 11. Bagan Archaeological Museum 12. Bagan Golden Palace Old Bagan Myin Ka Bar Village Nyaung-U New Bagan 1. Dhammayan Gyi Temple Dhammayan Gyi Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Dhammayan Gyi Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Location: Old Bagan 2. Ananda Temple Ananda Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Ananda Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Ananda Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Location: Old Bagan 3. Shwesandaw Pagoda Location: Old Bagan 4. Sulamani Temple Sulamani Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Sulamani Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Location: Old Bagan 5. Htilominlo Htilominlo Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Location: Old Bagan 6. Gawdaw Palin Gawdawpalin viewed from Shwegugyi Temple, in Bagan, Myanmar Location: Old Bagan 7. Maha Bodhi Phaya Mahabodhi Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Mahabodhi Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Location: Old Bagan 8. Shwezigon Pagoda Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar Location: Nyaung-U 9. Thatbyinnyu Thatbyinnyu temple viewed from Shwegugyi Temple, in Bagan, Myanmar Location: Old Bagan 10. Mount Popa Temple Mount Popa Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Mount Popa Temple in Bagan, Myanmar 11. Bagan Archaeological Museum Entrance fee: MMK 5,000 per person 12. Bagan Golden Palace Entrance fee: MMK 5,000 per person Old Bagan Tharbar Gate in Bagan, Myanmar Upali Thein Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Wooden monastery in Taung Bi Village, Bagan, Myanmar Wooden monastery in Taung Bi Village, Bagan, Myanmar Temples and attractions in Old Bagan Dhammayan Gyi Ananda Shwesandaw Sulamani Htilominlo Gawdaw Palin Maha Bodhi Phaya Thatbyinnyu Bagan Archaeological Museum Bagan Golden Palace Tharbar Gate Nat Taung Kyaung Teak Wood Monastery Taung Bi Teak Wood Monastery Mingalar Zedi Shwegu Gyi Phaya Bu Paya Upali Thein Shwe Leik Too Bulethi Tha Beik Hmauk Thagya Pone Temple Thagya Hit Temple Myin Ka Bar Village Myazedi Pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar Myazedi Pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar Shwe Leik Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Manuha Guphaya temple in Bagan, Myanmar Manuha Guphaya temple in Bagan, Myanmar Nanpaya Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Nagayon Temple in Bagan, Myanmar Sein Yet Ama/Nyima Pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar Temples and attractions in Myin Ka Bar Village Myazedi Pagoda Gu Byauk Gyi Manuha Temple Nan Hpaya Apeyadana (Abe Yadanar/Abeyadana) Naga Yon Hpaya Sein Nyet Ama Seinnyet Nyima Nyaung-U She Myet Hna in Bagan, Myanmar Temples and attractions in Nyaung-U Shwezigon Pagoda Nyaung-U Market She Myet Hna Dhammayazaka(Dhammayazika) Pagoda New Bagan Ashe/Anauk Petleik Pagodas in Bagan, Myanmar Lawkananda Pagoda and Ayeyarwady River, in Bagan, Myanmar Temples and attractions in New Bagan Lawka Nanda Anauk Petleik Pagoda Ashe Petleik Pagoda Don’t Stop Here Did you find this travel guide helpful? Share your Bagan experience & tag #detourista. Follow trip updates on: Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest. See more Bagan blog tips & travel guides: 16 Beautiful Countries in Asia 6 Places To Visit in Myanmar Check out these pages for more travel inspiration beyond Bagan: 5 Places To Visit in Laos 25 Places To Visit in Indonesia Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide El Nido Travel Guide Share your travel goals with #detourista Once Upon a Time in Davao 💚 Flooded Forest of A I'm amazed by the natural beauty of this waterfall Dreaming of better days ahead ✨ here's a throwba Let's go for a dip 💦 Missing moments like thi Summer under the sun 🏝️🌞 captured #withGal Beautiful 🌏 . Enjoying a closer view of norther Follow on Instagram Pin on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/detourista/best-of-detourista/ Don’t leave yet. There’s more! 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