DAY 1 – ARRIVE IN MANDALAY
Bagan doesn’t have an international airport. You can land in Mandalay and then head to Bagan. Mandalay International Airport is well-connected with the rest of the world. However, if you are unable to get a flight to Mandalay, you can arrive in Yangon or Nay Pyi Taw and take a bus or train to Mandalay. Mandalay is a beautiful city that deserves a few days of exploration. To read about a backpacking itinerary of Mandalay, click here. If you are spending a day in Mandalay, do visit the Mandalay Palace and Mandalay Hill. You can enjoy the stunning sunset from Mandalay Hill.
DAY 2 – TRAVEL FROM MANDALAY TO BAGAN
You can travel from Mandalay to Bagan by bus. However, we recommend taking a ferry over the Ayeyarwady River to enjoy a scenic ride. It takes about 8 hours to reach Bagan by ferry, but the time spent aboard will be worthwhile. You can watch the countryside and the local people go about their daily life, while spotting golden pagodas jutting out of greenery every now and then. Several operators run the ferry service on the river. The ferries usually leave at around 7 in the morning. Do pack an extra layer of clothing to protect yourself against the early morning chill of riverine winds.
DAY 3 – TEMPLE RUN IN BAGAN
Today is the day to do what you came for – visiting the temples of Bagan. Head to the market and hire an e-bike for 2 days to visit the temples, as walking in the tropical heat might exhaust you. On the first day, cover all the popular temples such as Ananda Temple, Shwezigon Pagoda, Lawka Nanda Pagoda and Shwegu Gyi Pagoda. If you have time to spare, you can visit the Bagan Archaeological Museum too. Head to Bu Paya Pagoda around sunset to enjoy the stunning view of the sun going down behind the riverine landscape. End the day with an authentic local meal of rice and curries.