The reasons you should visit Bagan

– UNESCO Heritage Site

Myanmar’s ancient city of Bagan has been approved for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, more than two decades after it was first nominated. The 21-member World Heritage Committee announced the decision on July 6 at a meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, based on the recommendation of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). Bagan becomes Myanmar’s second addition to the World Heritage List, after the three ancient Pyu cities of Sri Ksetra, Hanlin and Beikthano, which were listed in 2014.

-Temples hopping

There are many temples to hop in a day. If you are lucky, you will see monks burning grasses, women carrying large loads on their heads, an oxcart plowing the field at sunrise, monks collecting alms and gasoline sold on the street in water bottles. Much of the country that was off limits for years can now be freely visited. Bagan is the perfect place to hop on a bike and explore, flying through the dusty dirt roads to view, climb and walk around endless temples. Now people can rent a horse-drawn carriage or e-bikes to zip along quicker. Admire the crumbling dark stairwells, thousand-year-old peeling paintings, and grand Buddhas greeting you inside each marvelous architectural feat.

-Connect with the friendly locals

There are local markets to connect with locals and children often followed you while hopping temples because they want to show you the temples and share with you their knowledge of the area. They can speak so many languages that you will be amazed. If you get templed out and need a break, be sure to visit one of the local villages. Then, you can visit the local village where you watch the locals make cigars, extract peanut oil, weave cotton, and harvest their fields. It is very interesting to see how the villagers lived, content with just the bare essentials. It really makes you appreciate just how spoilt they are, and it puts all of our complaints into perspective.

-Savor new foods.

Unlike fragrant Thai food, Burmese food is Asian cuisine fused from Southeast Asian, Chinese and Indian influences. You can stop at the local roadside places that serve you delicious snacks of pickled tea leaves, sesame seeds, peanuts, and fried garlic chips. You may watch as the ox goes around in circles to grind the peanuts to make peanut oil.

-Enjoy Outdoor Activities

The easiest way to watch temples from the bird-eye views is trying a hot air balloon. You, absolutely, have the sight of the cultural city from the air! From a unique and charming platform of a hot air balloon basket, all the remarkable landscapes appear as far as you can see. Enjoy an unforgettable sunrise over the panoramic plain from the upper terrace of the famous temples and peaceful Irrawaddy River in the pure morning. Hot air balloon adventure is highly recommended, particularly for those who love photography and adore the best scenic beauty of Myanmar that you have never seen before! The most exotic thing you can do is biking or riding a horse cart. Take a bike or a horse cart around each part of town and do a whole round: from new Bagan to old Bagan, head to Nyaung Oo and end at New Bagan. A Bagan, with both modern and ancient towns, enables you to discover all in only one city. The real images of Buddha are everywhere, in the walls, in elegant brick stupas in every narrow corner.

-Discover the Myanmar literature

As the saying goes as the foundations of Myanmar literature began from the stone inscriptions of Bagan, the universities lectures on Myanmar language states that stone inscriptions of Bagan era are the earliest form of Myanmar literature. Bagan is the most densely situated archaeological site on this planet with stupas, temples and pagodas. That is why the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library is striving for Bagan to be listed as a world heritage-cultural site. Every remaining pagodas carefully shows that each has its own architecture different from others, which is one of the most distinctive characteristics of Bagan. Then there are about 40 pagodas left which have ancient mural paintings similar to the Ananda Pagoda. Studying these mural paintings thoroughly one will be able to see the dress codes of Bagan era and cultural heritages. These are priceless ancient treasures which should be preserved. There are not only these priceless treasures but also other ancient treasures which are handicrafts of Bagan era that have been handed down for ages and the most distinctive example is lacquer ware. This business still flourishes in the present day.

– Watch the sunrise

Waking up early to catch the sunrise in Bagan is a magical experience. You have to go to a temple before morning, it is still dark and you will feel like a real adventure. Sitting in the cool morning air, waiting for the sun to rise; it is so peaceful. It reveals many temples and pagodas on the plains surrounding, bathing them in a beautiful light.

-Watch the sunset

After exploring the many temples and getting lost on the vast plains of Bagan, don’t forget to sit down, relax and watch the sun go down. The temples with the best views will attract huge crowds, but some smaller or less popular temples can offer a great experience as well. Do some research by talking to the locals. They will be able to help you find a good spot. Or if like us you have a local guide, they’ll know exactly where to take you. Another great way to watch the sunset is by taking a sunset cruise over the Ayeyarwady River. You can take a taxi or e-Bike to the river, and then negotiate a boat from there. Or if you have a local guide they can organize it all for you.

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A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine.