For several centuries, Bagan was the capital of the eponymous Bagan kingdom, a powerful empire that first conquered and consolidated the territory of modern-day Myanmar. During this time, Bagan became a prosperous, cosmopolitan city, drawing visitors and travelers from across Southeast Asia. Additionally, over 2,000 ancient temples, stupas, and palaces were erected by the Bagan Empire - many of which still stand today, concentrated on a single plain along the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

Highlights of any trip to this city include cruises on the Irrawaddy River, long a vital artery of the region; a hike up Mount Popa, whose 4,000 foot (1,219 meter) summit is adorned with temples; and viewing the myriad temples through the morning mist.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Ananda Temple

With its stunning glided spire, the Ananda temple is nearly 1,000 years old and is famous for its four statues of different manifestations of the Buddha, corresponding to the cardinal directions. Though the original structure was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1975, the temple has been completely restored to its former glory.

Hot-Air Balloon over Bagan

A hot-air balloon ride is a perfect complement to ground touring and is arguably the single best way to take in the full splendor of Bagan’s temple-studded landscape.

Irrawaddy River Cruise

Board a simple, private boat and cruise up the Irrawaddy River, a scenic stretch with vestiges of bucolic Burmese life on the riverbanks. Stop at Sae Lan, one of the riverside villages where the residents’ main source of livelihood is farming and fishing.

Kubyaukkyi Temple

Dating back to 1113. Kubyaukkyi Temple is best known as the home of the Myazedi Stone, also known as “Burma’s Rosetta Stone.” Discovered in 1887, the stone contains inscriptions in the four 12th-century languages – Burman, Mon, Pali, and Pyu – and allowed the translation of the latter for the first time ever.

Mount Popa

Visit Mt. Popa, a soaring volcanic peak dramatically crowned with gold stupas, monasteries and shrines believed to be the abode of the powerful nats, or animist spirits. The devout worship of these animist spirits coexists with Buddhism, and Buddha is considered the greatest of the 37 nats. Mt. Popa is an important destination for pilgrims, who must remove their shoes before climbing the 777 steps to the summit rising almost 4,000 feet above the desert.

Nyaung-U Market and Private Cooking Class

Visit Bagan’s vibrant Nyaung-U market, where a wide range of exotic fruits, vegetables, fish, and more are sold. Select ingredients and then proceed to one of Bagan's best restaurants, situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy, for a private cooking class where you'll learn how to prepare traditional Burmese dishes.

Shwezigon Temple

One of the oldest pagodas in Bagan, Shwezigon was built as a center of prayer and reflection for the new Theravada faith, established here in the 11th century. It encompasses three tiered terraces, with four 12-foot high bronze Buddhas surrounding the terrace stairs, and includes replicas of Buddha’s footprints.

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