Top 5 practical information you need to know about Bagan

The boat trip between Mandalay and Bagan with RV Panorama took approximately 10 hours. We arrived at Old Bagan jetty around 4.30pm. 

Click to read One day cruise trip departs from Mandalay to Bagan on Irrawaddy River

Here are the top 5 practical information you need to know before you arrive. 

Blue Sky and Wine,  Bagan Archaeological Zone
Inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone

1 – Bagan Entrance Fee 

We are not prepared for this fee at all. Every passenger entering Bagan must pay an entrance fee amount of MMK25,000 (approx US$20) in cash. So make sure you hold enough cash in Mandalay as ATMs or banks are not always available in other parts of the country. 

There are articles online on how to avoid the Bagan Entrance Fee which I don’t support. The fee you are paying contributes to the whole site maintenance and supporting the local economy. Bagan temple complex is a huge site and it’s also a world heritage site. 

Be aware of the scam for the Bagan Entrance Fee, locals will approach you to charge a higher fee. You should go to the ticket booth and get your entrance ticket from there. 

2 – Where to stay in Bagan

Bagan divides into Old Bagan and New Bagan, they are located in two parts in opposite directions. Obviously New Bagan is a newer area where all facilities are probably more modern, whereas old bagan offers more of the local and traditional feeling. 

I would recommend staying in both parts just to experience the difference. 

3 – Hire a local guide for Bagan Temple Complex adventure

Bagan Temple Complex (now also known as Bagan Archaeological Zone) is home to thousands of temples. Still no one knows how many temples there are exactly in this complex. They spread across the plains of Bagan, it is the most impressive testament to the religious devotion of Burmese over the centuries. All temples have been built in different eras. 

Blue Sky and Wine,  Bagan Archaeological Zone
 Bagan Archaeological Zone
 Blue Sky and Wine, Bagan Archaeological Zone
 Bagan Archaeological Zone

You are free to explore the complex at your own leisure. It would be really ideal to hire one local guide to take you around the complex as they will know by heart those secret routes where tourists or the internet won’t tell you about. 

The typical fee for a whole day guide costs US$35, the guide will come on his/her own e-bike. If you are alone, you can of course share the seat on the e-bike. 

Find your local guide through a tour operator or your hotel. They will recommend a decent English Speaking guide. 

4 – E-bike in Bagan

Blue Sky and Wine, E-bike rental
Renting e-bike

E-bike are electric bikes, unlike motorbikes, they are super quiet on roads. In Bagan most people move around on e-bikes. Especially to the complex, it’s much more convenient and flexible to explore. 

You don’t need any driving licence but do a little practice before you go on the road. The cost of hiring for the day can be between US$5 – 10 depending where you get it from. 

E-bike hiring booths are everywhere in Bagan. It’s really fun to get around by e-bikes, and you will only have such an opportunity in Bagan as everywhere else in Myanmar doesn’t offer e-bike hire to tourists.  

Blue Sky and Wine,  Bagan Archaeological Zone
Me, riding the e-bike inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone

5 – Download Map.Me App

We spent one day with the local guide in the complex. We gained a lot of confidence in exploring the site ourselves. Inside the complex, mobile signals are not always available.  Map.Me app has been a really practical tool for trekking and touring around in the wild. 

Maps.Me app gives routes and sites where you can stop to visit. 

Bagan Sunset Myanmar
Bagan Sunset, Myanmar

Next post: A half day tour to Mount Popa and don’t do it if your time is limited. 

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