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Bagan Information

Travel and Local Information Guide

In the country of Myanmar, the main tourist destination is Bagan. It may not be the current capital of the country, but it was the capital of the first Myanmar Empire and this is the reason it is one of the richest archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. The splendor of ancient Bagan, as well as its prime location on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River has drawn many visitors throughout the years. While other Myanmar cities also have pagodas and temples, Bagan sets itself apart with its ancient architecture and ruins. These alone are worth the trip to Bagan. In addition, there are stone scripts, votive tablets, wall and mural paintings, as well as stucco carvings to be found in Bagan.

It is possible to see all these in Bagan at any time of the year. The ancient city does not experience a rainy season, so it is hot and humid all the time. The many forms of transportation also make it possible for visitors to enjoy Bagan in many ways.

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Bagan Weather and Climate

Throughout most of the year, Bagan experiences a dry climate. It does not have a rainy season, unlike other cities in Myanmar. The average temperature is around 28 degrees, with the exception of summer. From April to September, the temperature rises to 32 degrees.

Because Bagan enjoys hot and humid weather, visitors should wear light clothing and cool fabrics like cotton. Visitors need not worry about carrying rain gear or heavy jackets to stay warm. Sensible walking shoes are a must and are to be removed when visiting temples and pagodas. The heat may make people want to wear shorts, short skirts and other revealing clothing, but doing so is deemed inappropriate when visiting sacred grounds. Hats and caps are also recommended when travelling within the ancient city.

Getting Around Bagan

Getting to Bagan is a breeze. The flight time from Yangon to Bagan is only an hour and ten minutes. Those who wish to go on a boat can either take a cruise (for longer trips) or ride a small boat (which often passes through the Irrawaddy River). Trains from Yangon and Mandalay stop at the Tharzi junction, a station accessible to Bagan by a three-hour drive. As for buses, there are regular coaches from Yangon and Mandalay that head to Bagan.

Exploring the area Bagan is easy because of several transportation choices: Taxis are the most common way to get around but for a different kind of experience try a horse-pulled cart. Sightseeing in Bagan is wonderful, but doing so while riding in a cart is a whole different experience altogether. Those who are interested in horse carts should ask the hotel to make arrangements about renting one. Visitors who want to roam the city by themselves can also rent bicycles.

Bagan Travel Tips

Before going to Bagan, there are several things first-time visitors should know. They are the following:

  • All visitors arriving in Bagan are required to pay the Bagan Archaeological Zone Entrance Fee of USD$10.
  • Donations can be given in pagodas and temples, but tipping is discouraged.
  • Cameras and video recorders can be brought inside the temples and pagodas, but there are charges.
  • Visitors are advised to drink only boiled water or water out of sealed bottles.
  • Tourists on medication must bring enough medicine for the trip. Medicine against diarrhoea will also come in handy.
  • Because of the heat in Bagan, sunblock is a necessity for tourists.
  • Visitors should dress modestly, as any kind of revealing clothing is frowned upon by the people of Myanmar.
  • 8. Tourists should never eat raw vegetables and salads. Fruits should be peeled before eating.
  • Visitors should avoid eating from street stalls.
  • The wearing of socks or shoes on sacred religious grounds is not permitted. Even when visiting somebody's house, footwear should be removed before entering.
  • While in a pagoda or temple, tourists should tuck their feet away when they sit. The pointing of the feet toward a Buddha image, monk or elder is offensive.
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