The next stop on our trip to Myanmar was Bagan. We flew here from Yangon with Golden Myanmar airlines. Flying was more expensive than taking a bus but as we only had two weeks we wanted to spend as much of it as possible exploring the country rather than in a bus!
I am going to write a post about how we planned our travel and the airlines we used so keep an eye out for that if you want to know more.
Bagan is located on the banks of the Ayeyarwady river and consists of a 26 square mile archelogical zone containing over 2000 temples, built between the 11th and 14th centuries.
There is more to Bagan than just temples and the area can be split into three main places: Nyaung U, Old Bagan and New Bagan.
It took us a while to decide where to stay as each of the above places have their own pros and cons. In the end we settled on a hotel in New Bagan and I would definitely recommend anyone visiting the area to consider doing the same thing – it worked well for us.
We stayed at the Hotel Yadanarbon which is just on the edge of New Bagan. If you are expecting luxury then this isn’t the hotel for you, but if you are looking for a clean, well located hotel with a great breakfast and pool you can’t go wrong!
We paid $34 dollars for a double room per night and we actually got upgraded on arrival which was a nice surprise. The bathroom was a little damp and attracted a lot of mosquitos but as we were out all day it wasn’t really a problem.
The hotel is situated in well kept gardens and there was a pool that was lovely to cool off in after a hot afternoon exploring the temples.
Breakfast was very good and there was a wide choice of dishes, from noodles and made to order eggs to fresh fruit.
The hotel location is a great base for exploring the area. There are electric bikes you can rent directly from the hotel, although we actually found a better deal from the shop opposite.
You can follow the main road through the town to get to various restaurants. We tried out Star Beam Restaurant and the Black Rose. Both are good choices for a filling and tasty meal.
These can all be reached in a 20 minute walk so we didn’t need to hire e bikes just for going out for dinner.
The hotel has a restaurant itself so if you don’t feel like going far you can have dinner there. We had drinks in the garden one evening and watch a traditional puppet show put on by some local children.
The historic area of Bagan, Old Bagan, is where to stay if you want to be very close to the temples and museums. I don’t really see an advantage to this as part of the fun is hiring an e-bike to explore anyway. The main accomadation in Old Bagan is up-market hotels.
Out of all three options Nyaung U is the place to stay if you want a more lively scene. There are cheaper hotel options here and you can easily reach Old Bagan and the temples by bike (they are a few km away).
We took a trip there one afternoon (I think we were feeling a bit templed out!!). It took about 25 minutes to get there on our e-bikes and was relatively easy to find.
There is a good market that you can wander around that has both tourist items and local goods.
We had lunch at the brilliantly named ‘Weather Spoons Restaurant and Bar’ which served some delicious vegetarian curries.
Wherever you choose to stay in Bagan you are going to have a good time. The temples are the main attraction and are easily accessible from all three locations – it just depends on the type of hotel and area you are looking for.
Have you ever been to Bagan? Where did you stay? Let me know in the comments below!