southeast Asia holiday day tours travel and shopping

Heading 3


Yangon to Bagan an epic journey

What to do in Bagan?  A Temple tour? more!

From the recent capital to the very old one
It is not long ago that Yangon was the capital of Myanmar Burma but it is very long ago that Bagan was it. Beside of the fact that today this are the top travel destinations in the country including Mandalay.

A useful addition is that the two highways between the former capitals are currently (2017) the best roads in Burma. The preferred connection is via Pyay along the Irrawaddy Ayeyarwady River and the other road travel is via Naypyidaw the current capital. This new city has in real terms no use it was more or less a power demonstration of the military to show everyone who is in charge here. ​The fact is Yangon is the economic powerhouse and Bagan plus Mandalay are the  
culture hotspot.
Bagan Art
Mural Painting
Bagan Irrawaddy Cruise
Myanmar  Burma 
Bagan Temple
Yangon Myanmar
Ananda Temple
Shwezigon Pagoda
Bagan History
Bagan Day Tours
Watch the clip

How to travel from Yangon to Bagan

When purchasing a ticket for the aircraft and bus or maybe get a car with driver or check for a motorbike in Yangon try "Vegas Travel".

That is a travel agent with a young crew in the Central Hotel. One of the better  Yangon City Hotels the place can't be missed it's just opposite Bogyoke Market and adjacent to the Sule Shangri-La. Vegas travel has user-friendly prices and works fast don’t buy a ticket from the airline direct they are more expensive.

The Irrawaddy River is used between Mandalay and Bagan only because there are too many shifting sand islands in the river to make it navigable.

On the street are always some people around who whisper "change money" or try to start talking with you also using kids sometimes. In general, don't start any talk with them since you won't get rid of them and their only activity has only one purpose and that is either to cheat you somehow or simply begging.

Day tours such as in Bagan are on the agenda and tourists are the new invaders which are welcomed by almost everyone since they bring what all people like money and work. On our website is the latest information about attractions sightseeing how to do travel preparation get a guide and tips.

Explore Bagan via Days Tours
Virtually all roads and flights somehow leads to this temple and pagoda city with spectacular Buddhist shrines and images plus grandiose monuments.

The place on the banks of the Irrawaddy should be visited at least one time, hotels are plenty and there are lots to do and to see. The ancient city is reachable from Yangon, Mandalay and Heho (Inle Lake) via several airlines every day, they all use small turboprop aircraft. There is also a rather exotic bus service from Mandalay and Yangon. 
Bagan Photos
  1. Yangon Bagan with the jeep
  2. Road to Mandalay Irrawaddy River Vessel
  3. Bagan people
  4. Bagan Oxcart Trip
  6. Leaving Bagan by local traffic
  7. Bagan monastery
  8. Bagan temple interior
Since a few year now plenty of good hotels have been pulled up in every price range also the electricity problem is somehow under control.

Now nothing really hinders anyone to make a trip to Central Myanmar at having a look around, it's definitely worth it. Similar showcases of an ancient time in this quantity are not many on "Mother Earth".
Yangon to Bagan road travel
Considering the easy accessibility I guess if someone is at a bit culture mindset there is no way bypassing this fascinating old secret city in the flat center of Burma. Located in the dry zone of the country on the left bank of the mighty Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River. The empire was a glorious two hundred years long epoch. In the heart of Burma stands a partly ruined city, which is regarded by everyone in the country and elsewhere as one of the wonders of the world. 

In our website is the latest information about attractions, sightseeing and how to do travel preparation. 

One thing keeps in mind get a guide at least for one day at the beginning and have a good time. 

After you did a short overview you could rent a bicycle or a horse coach and explore the plains on your own. But do this after you made the day tour for one or two. All this is very necessary since if you don't do it that way you would miss out most interesting stuff.

Especially the minor but still very pretty temples and pagodas are mostly closed and locked no way to get in without a guide since she/he has the key. Also, many structures are already ruined and only they know which makes sense to enter safely.
Above is a useful Bagan map which can easily be enlarged. Some more with illustrations and ads about what currently is up in Bagan the hotels are distributed in the hotels. This smaller paper map is quite useful because they have the most current information.  The most interesting routing shown below is the western road  via Pyay indicated indicated on the map below. 

A bit of Burmese History

They were the "Hay Days" of that time by any means, especially of culture and art. Only narrow-minded English and US politicians who can’t get rid of the colonial times pattern always blocked the attempt in the past to declare the town as a cultural heritage by UNESCO. For lousy political reasons since the old and the new colonialists don’t like when others don't do what they command.
On top of it the driver usually also functions as a tourist guide showing scenes along the road via a short side trip a foreigner will never see since many of the interesting places are not listed in any guide book. Such a journey is not made every day for many this is a once in a lifetime event.

This old town has a special place in the history but it was the British who brought Bagan on the modern travel map when they were in Burma. But the period from the 11th to the 13th century is, as chronicles and other sources indicate, Myanmar‘s Golden Age.
From Yangon old style to Bagan 
Irrawaddy RiverPhotos
In the old days during British colonial times, it was possible to use the Irrawaddy for Rangoon (Yangon) to Bagan.

After the Britsh left nobody took care anymore and the waterway was not navigable after a while because of ever-shifting sand-banks. Currently, they only have a couple of sectors such as Bagan to Mandalay which is usable but for Yangon over the whole distance to Bagan it won't work. 
  1. sailing ship used for Yangon to Bagan long time ago
Bagan (Pagan) was once the capital of the First Empire
This old town has a special place in the history but it was the British who brought Bagan on the modern travel map when they were in Burma.

But the period from the 11th to the 13th century is, as chronicles and other sources indicate, Myanmar‘s Golden Age.

This were the "Hay Days" of that time by any means, but especially of culture and art. Now travel and day trips are on the agenda, tourists are the new invaders and they are welcomed by almost everyone since they bring what all people like money and work.

Only narrow-minded English and US politicians who can't get rid of the colonial times pattern always blocked the attempt in the past to declare the town as a cultural heritage by UNESCO. For lousy political reasons since the old and the new colonialists don’t like when others don't do what they command, more history .

  1. Bagan Myanmar Sunset
  2. Bagan temples
  3. golden pagoda near the Ayeyarwady
  4. Bagan sunset
  5. Bagan temple Buddhist novices
  6. Balloons over Bagan
  7. Tharabar gate Bagan
  8. Monumental Ananda Temple
Want to use the bus?
The best is ask the hotel since there are several bus terminals and they will never share information. Its a bit as in Thailand everyone only "cook his own soup".  If you are out for adventure hire a scooter and do it on your own. Once in Bagan you also could rent a bicycle or a horse coach.
An expensive Shrine construction
Bagan Photos
Could be used to cancel a lot of malicious scandals

That was a couple of hundred years ago now nobody cares about it's only the visual impression. At some time an ingenious lordling had invented a method of increasing the merit that might normally be expected. It was the practice to set up a dedication tablet in stone, consequently, the donor expressed a wish to acquire the full merit due. He or she took the next oxcart to get things done.

The gentleman in question put forward the idea that the donor should ask in the inscription to be allowed to share the merit with a number of other people, say, his uncles and aunts.

Building a Pagoda

The very fact of stating the desire to share merit by building pagoda is rightly everyone's own. 

It is itself an added merit, and it was calculated that the device, without increasing the cost of the structure, doubled the merit that might accrue from it alone. This new practice became the rule until, at a later date, an even more ingenious person suggested, on the same grounds as before, that a maximum merit might be won if the donor, on stone, gave the whole of his merit to others, not even reserving a minor share for himself. In short, the building of pagodas was as elegant a pastime as any invented.
  1. Buddhist shrine interior Bagan
  2. Buddhist shrine stone window Bagan
  3. Bagan people working
  4. shrines built to gain merit
  5. a Buddha shrine with a big statue
  6. Oxcarts in Bagan
  7. Bagan People in the 18th century
  8. Big Bagan Buddha Statue

Pagodas and Temples

Further, it was completely built with pots full of lilies, living plantain-trees and sugarcane to form a fence were brought in. In a gold chamber inside the pagoda, they placed numerous figures and statuettes. But there was to be a sequel not altogether so agreeable. People even take off their ruby jewelry and placed it among the objects in the chamber. The day ended with a grand entertainment, the area was illuminated and countless candles in shades of colored paper were lighted. It was an enchanting scene

In the old days if someone wants to build Pagodas and Temples it was no easy task to find an unoccupied site but by clearing away the ruins of certain old one.

The decoration tells a lot about medieval Buddhist Art . Just to indicate take a guide since without one you can't get inside into most buildings. Most murals are pictures showing a blend of realistic and fantasy, the decorative function fulfills also other tasks as ornamental and architectonic. 

Lacquer Shopping in Bagan

Bagan has a substantial "cottage industry" with dozens of small homegrown handicraft workshops.

Here a few dozen of young ladies sitting around and make amazing attractive accessories which even have pure gold decoration as it is visible in the pictures at the right side.  The ornamental motifs are in the foreground and fit the character of the scenic decorations; some shapes are elegant, complicated and over time exceedingly impressive.

They also produce arts and crafts and it really looks good. Beside of the gold value which is not much because gold is hammered down very thinly for my taste, it's too expensive. I guess if the shop owner sell it cheaper the ladies would have much more work and earn substantially more money.  

There is plenty of artwork in the temples which surrounds Buddha sculptures.  Murals are covering the walls; there have not been a major difference in the techniques between the interior paintings of the pyramids of Egypt and these Buddhist temples. Although there is a wide gap of time, here it is mainly from 13th to 15th Century.Going exotic shopping people buying handicrafts, lacquerware, ceramics.

Other items are produced in the lacquer cottage industry which is well known and appreciated for their beautiful creations.
  1. Bagan lacquerware box
  2. Beautiful lacquerware box
  3. lacquer ware workshop in Bagan Myanmar
  4. how to make lacquer items
  5. lacquer creations for the local market
  6. producing gold lacquer arts & crafts
  7. lacquer creations for the local market 1
  8. Lacquer furniture workshop

Buddhist nuns, monks and novices are constantly "in the picture" in Bagan

They have an important social function and enrich the colorful countryside visually most are not real nuns but they wear the robe because they live in a monastery style environment. Most people are very poor and many have no place to go.

There is no easy living in the city unless you have plenty of money the whole infrastructure and living conditions for local people not good at all since salaries are real low, that means around $ 100,- / month for a normal job and who can live from that?

The top hotels are charging this per night and they make a good profit. Nevertheless, people come from all over the country because compared to other places even that is better. This is one of the reasons why there are so many monks and novices since they can't survive otherwise. Monasteries have a high level of social function they look after the people who have no chance including kids and the old. An Irrawaddy river cruise should be made to see the monuments from a different perspective a 42 square kilometer area dotted with hundreds of ancient pagodas. Countless of stupas Buddhist shrines , ordination halls, and monuments.

Tags: Yangon-Bagan Burmese trips Irrawaddy at Bagan pagodas and temple