Bagan is an incredible archaeological area of over 2,000 pagodas and temples covering 100km2, and for many it's the iconic landscape that springs to mind when you think of Burma. This rural land of 11th century pagodas is a world away from the hustle and bustle of urban Burma - so much so that some of the surrounding villages have only just welcomed electricity.

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Why we think you’ll love it

  • This is the largest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas and stupas in the world, dating back to the 11th century
  • Bagan has not grown into a bustling town, and there is nothing in the way of nightclubs and bars - and we hope it stays that way
  • The best way to explore the criss-cross network of dirt roads between the temples is by bicycle, or good old fashioned horse and cart
  • Bagan is one of the most iconic landscapes to enjoy a hot air balloon ride; a brilliant way to get a different perspective of this beautiful expanse

Visiting Bagan: the Detail

The rulers of the era constructed thousands of huge stupas and temples, many of which are still standing today on the banks of the Irrawaddy River and best viewed from Tayokye Pyay, an elevated temple with a magnificent view of the plains. Nearby is Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.

Explore Bagan with a local guide who will explain the significance of the various shapes and construction techniques of the temples, exploring by bicycle, electric bike or horse and cart. Most are brilliantly preserved or restored by Unesco giving you a chance to discover beautiful frescoes and carvings as well as myriad Buddha statues of all sizes and poses.

Perhaps break the day with a teashop stop for a cup or two of cho seh; black tea sweetened with condensed milk and sugar (yes, both). This is the ultimate gossip and people-watching spot of the locals and no trip to Burma would be complete without taking part in this ritual.

Be sure to get up to one of the elevated temples to watch the sunset. Being such a large flat expanse, even the slightest elevated position gives the most magnificent panoramic views - any photographer's dream - and if hot air ballooning is on your bucket list, this is without a doubt the place to do it.

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 30°C / 86°F
  • Rainfall — 0cm / 0.2 inches
Flight from London

10:30 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +7 hrs

Top picks for Bagan

Belmond Orcaella

Belmond Orcaella


Road to Mandalay may be better known, but Belmond Orcaella is the luxury hotel group’s other ship plying the waters of the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers, and every bit as comfortable.

Where to stay

Paukan 1947 boat exterior and reflection

Paukan Cruise


A leisurely cruise along the waterways of Myanmar (Burma) is a wonderful way to explore, and the Paukan fleet are among the best cruise operators. There are four Paukan river vessels, with between 16 and 29 cabins.

Where to stay

Belmond Road to Mandalay

Belmond Road to Mandalay


Despite the factually incorrect name, this river cruiser operated by Belmond is arguably the best boat plying the waters of the Irrawaddy River.

Where to stay

The Strand Cruise

The Strand Cruise


The sister to The Strand Hotel Yangon, a refurbished colonial landmark in Myanmar’s capital, The Strand Cruise adds some healthy competition to the handful of luxury vessels plying the waters of the Irrawaddy River.

Where to stay

Hotel @ Tharabar Gate

Hotel @ Tharabar Gate


The stylish Hotel @ Tharabar Gate is situated next to the eponymous 10th century gates of Old Bagan - the perfect base from which to explore the amazing ancient temples.

Where to stay

Bagan Lodge exterior

Bagan Lodge


The Bagan Lodge is situated in the ancient city of Bagan, popular for its numerous Buddhist temples and pagodas.

Where to stay

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