Bagan is an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site situated on a flat plain on the Irrawaddy River in the Mandalay Region. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, the first kingdom that unified the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 4,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2,200 temples and pagodas still survive today. Our Bagan temples tours and photography experiences uncover the hidden gems of this unique site of global importance.
Simply the Best of Bagan
Following our tradition of being the most valuable resource for culture-focused travelers, we offer this detailed tour of Bagan’s premier sites. For each, we provide as much detailed information as you are interested in. Lively discussion and stories that tie it all together add to the experience on your Bagan temples tour. We also provide our personal tips for getting the most out of your Myanmar experience while on location.
Bagan Now Officially a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
“Bagan contains an extraordinary ensemble of Buddhist monumental architecture, reflecting the strength of religious devotion of an early major Buddhist empire. Within the context of the rich expressions and traditions of Buddhist architecture and art found throughout Asia, Bagan is distinctive and outstanding.” – UNESCO World Heritage Inscription, July 2019
What to Expect
On this classic Bagan temples tour, your guide will unravel the mysteries of the defining features of each structure, including their floorplans, structural features, and distinctive decoration, each shaped by historical influences over Bagan’s 450-year history.
Learn about Bagan’s ancient temple and stupa architecture, paintings, and sculpture on this premium Bagan temples tour experience. See the iconic 9thto 13th-century monuments of Bagan including Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Shwezigon, Sulamani, Dhammayazika, and Htilominlo temples and stupas.
Bagan Classic Temples Tour Highlights:
- A tour that goes deeper on Bagan’s most important sites
- Save time and avoid “temple fatigue” – see only the best examples of temple architecture, mural paintings, statues, and stone carvings in Bagan
- Great choice for a first-time Myanmar visitor to learn about local culture, traditions, and food
- Combine sightseeing with an authentic cultural experience
- Travel in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with experienced English-speaking guide
Visit Bagan with Insiders
Uncover hidden sites and secret temples on our Bagan temples tour. Classic temples
The challenge of visiting Bagan’s most iconic temples is often avoiding the crowds and finding the best viewpoints. Our approach is to time our visits to maintain a distance from the big-bus crowds while capturing the most magnificent views of these masterworks. We realize most visitors can only maintain interest in a few sites each day before everything begins to look the same. We bring you to the most notable and special sites and features across the Bagan Monument Zone on our Icons of Bagan temples tour.
06:00: Pickup from your hotel by air-conditioned private taxi to position for sunrise
06:15-07:30: Sunrise balloon viewing at location within the monument zone. Due to changing regulations and to avoid crowds, specific site will be chosen shortly before tour date.
07:30-8:30: Photography of village people and farming activities during “blue hour” after sunrise.
08:30-09:30: Al fresco light breakfast with local pastries, fruit, and fresh coffee/tea at our “home” pagoda situated within harvest area of local community. Orientation to Bagan, its historical significance, topography, agriculture. Discussion of your goals and confirm the day’s plan. Return to hotel for breakfast by request.
09:30-12:00: Guided tour of Bagan’s largest and most iconic pagodas, most of which are clustered along the riverside from Old Bagan to Nyaung U. Emphasis on exterior landscapes, dramatic interiors, significant structures, and murals.
12:00-13:30: Lunch break and travel time
13:30-15:30: Interior tours of main (and less-visited) pagodas in riverside section of Old Bagan-Nyaung U to avoid harshest light and heat.
15:30-17:00: Tour of late-period ruins in northeastern sector against tourist traffic, situated adjacent to agricultural village and reservoirs with amazing golden light in late afternoon. Sunset viewing and photography among village ruins OR position for classic views among Old Bagan pagodas.
17:00-18:30: Sunset at secluded pagoda in northeast section or Old Bagan based on your desired subjects and perspectives.
18:30-19:00: Return to your hotel
- Air-conditioned private taxi and driver
- Experienced English-speaking licensed tour guide
- Outdoor breakfast
- Chilled drinks all day
- Bagan Archaeological Zone fees