This is the definition of an off-the-beaten-track experience. Do it.

Jonathan, Norway (via Tripadvisor)

Release Your Inner “Indiana Jones”

This tour is for those who really want to get off the beaten track and experience the true hidden gems of Bagan. This exploration includes many sites not listed on tourist maps and rarely visited. Includes small functioning monastery, cave and cliff meditation areas. Highlights include magnificent murals, sandstone carvings, high viewpoints and a temple dedicated to the family of the historical Buddha.

That really didn’t feel like a regular touristic tour – in a good way

Lin, Sweden (via Tripadvisor)

Sample itinerary:

06:00 – 06:30: Meet at your Hotel in Bagan. Orientation and travel to less-crowded temple for sunrise balloon viewing.

06:30 – 07:30: Sunrise balloon viewing

07:30 – 10:30: Breakfast including fresh coffee/tea, fruit, and local pastries served on site.

Introduction to Buddhist philosophy, iconography, and meditation at our private pagoda. Introduction to Bagan’s historical context and rural village life within the Bagan monument zone. Learn about local agriculture and livelihoods of rainfed smallholder farms within the protected area.

10:00-10:30: Journey to boat jetty in Old Bagan by horse cart or ebike

10:30-12:00: Journey by boat to remote village location on the Irrawaddy. Stop along the way to photograph communities living on the water or explore sandbars and farms shaped by the flow of the mighty Irrawaddy.

12:00:13:30: Lunch of grilled fish and vegetables in riverside mango grove. Share a moment or a photo with curious kids from the village as they play among the fruit trees. 

13:30:17:00: Visit remote sites and villages on foot, including many not listed on any map or guidebook. Learn how simple villagers work with nature and climate cycles to harvest their food from in these challenging surroundings. Amazing murals and panoramic views, visit magical cave and cliff monastery. Fantastic photo opportunities in an active monastery among ancient ruins.

17:00-18:30: Return to Old Bagan by private sunset cruise, including cold drinks and fresh fruit. Alcoholic beverages and western apero available on board by request.

18:30-19:00: Return journey to hotel by horse cart, ebike, or taxi

What to bring:

  • camera or smartphone
  • sunblock
  • hat
  • umbrella
  • slip-off shoes (sandals or flip-flops)

Inclusions

  • Breakfast, bottled water, cold drinks, fruit
  • Guide
  • Horse cart and driver (if desired)
  • Private boat and staff (if desired)

Exclusions

  • Bagan Archeological Zone entry fees

Photo gallery

The beauty of the experience was what was not mentioned in any pamphlet; we visited locals preparing for a local festival, had tea with local caretakers of pagodas, and were lucky enough to meet Ian’s adorable puppy, Scooby (very efficient at chasing goats and riding motorcycles).

Duy, Australia (via Tripadvisor)