Asia Exotic Myanmar Travelogues

Mysterious Myanmar – Beautiful Bagan and its Balloons

Myanmar has always been a special country within Southeast Asia that I have on my bucket list, as I have heard incredible tales and stories from people who have been there, about the stunning landscape, the pagodas and most importantly the kindness of the Myanmar people. And this year, I was lucky enough to get to visit it with Cez from ETramping.

Sunset moments at Inle Lake | Just an everyday life of these myanmar people

Sunset moments at Inle Lake | Just an everyday life of these Myanmar people

Myanmar just opened up their country to foreigners last year, and the amount of external influence/ businesses are starting to spread across the country. 

Being my 1st trip to Myanmar, I would have to cover the 2 places that I always wanted to visit – Bagan for its hot air balloons scene and Inle for the surreal lake scene many who have been raved about.

Witnessing the hot air balloons in Bagan at Sunrise

Witnessing the hot air balloons in Bagan at Sunrise

There are many ways you can get around to different parts of Myanmar – by flying with some of their local domestic carriers, or taking a bus/ train across the country. We opt for the more time saving and comfortable option of flying.

Our route – we flew into Yangon from Chiang Mai via Myanmar’s very own full freight national airlines, Myanmar National Airlines, and had a very relaxing flight, perk up before touching down at Yangon in the evening. Yangon might be quite quiet in most parts of the city, but we did visit the local Hledan Market and ended with a lovely barbecue dinner at 19th street, before catching the flight the next morning into Bagan. We managed to grab a little snack at the cosy Myanmar National Airlines lounge ( me drinking the local Burmese chicken noodle soup and Cez as usual headed straight for the coffee.

Excited to board our flight with myanmar national airlines to Yangon

Excited to board our flight with Myanmar National Airlines to Yangon

Myanmar National Airlines flies to more places in Myanmar than any other airlines, and they had daily flights from Yangon ( capital city) into Bagan or Inle. I really enjoyed the inflight service, both the food and very warm smiles of the Burmese cabin crew.

The airport to fly into for Bagan would be Nyaung Yu ( NYU) Airport. It is a small old school airport but was a really interesting experience and we were too excited and eager to explore the city.

Things to Note: 

1. Taxes – Government Taxes or…

When you arrive at some of the cities, you might be required to pay a certain historical conservation tax w, and though it might seem very sudden and somewhat dodgy to do so, it is recommended you do not fight with the locals there regarding paying it. It will costs you around US$50 for 2 persons.

Getting a visa in Myanmar

Getting a visa in Myanmar

2. Tourist Visa into Myanmar

Being a Singaporean has its many privileges, and I am glad to say that it is not required to pre-register for a visa beforehand. However, most other nationalities would need that and you can either apply online or a personal visit to the embassy in your respective countries. Do note that if you are not flying into Yangon straight, your type of visa might experience issues at the smaller immigration offices in the country.

Getting incredible silhouette shots of the stupas and Pagodas in Bagan

Getting incredible silhouette shots of the stupas and Pagodas in Bagan

Getting Around Myanmar

Taxis are relatively affordable to take to get around, just make sure to count by metre and not bargain with the staff. For us. we rented an electric scooter as it was rather affordable and the easiest way to get around.

Electric scooter riding in Bagan Myanmar | Where to go in Myanmar

Electric scooter riding in Bagan Myanmar | Where to go in Myanmar

 

 

Where to go in Myanmar – Not to Miss List

1. Eat the local Burmese food

2. Visit the Pagodas and Stupas

Sunlight bursting through the pagodas

Sunlight bursting through the pagodas

Some of the Top Pagodas and Stupas in Bagan to visit:

  1. Ananda Pahto Temple, Bagan ( Impressive Python looking exterior but very grand)
  2. Shwedagon Pagoda ( All Gold in colour)
  3. Shwezigon pagoda ( Also All Gold!)
  4. Shwesandaw Pagoda
  5. Lawkaoshaung Temple

3. Wake up for the Sunrise to Catch the Hot Air Balloons floating across

This is where having your own electric scooter helps.

In 2017, Myanmar has banned people from climbing the pagodas and stupas in the aid to preserve them, which is incredibly sad news for tourists who really want to have a stunning aerial view of the surrounding land.

Watch the sunrise from these 1-2 last remaining pagodas left | Changes in Myanmar Tourism Policies

SECRET: Watch the sunrise from these 1-2 last remaining pagodas left | Changes in Myanmar Tourism Policies

This new law caught us by surprise and we are definitely very disappointed by this piece of news. But that didn’t leave us hopeless as we were determined to find a place high enough we can catch the sunrise. We drove around the fields of dust and pagodas and then with a bit of hope yet 99% skepticism, we were informed by a local Burmese manto follow him behind his bike towards a special spot. We didn’t really trust him initially, but when we started heading a place where the general bikers were heading, our excitement grew.

The entire entourage of campers perched on a pagoda enjoying the sunrise | Where to go in Myanmar

The entire entourage of campers perched on a pagoda enjoying the sunrise | Where to go in Myanmar

Where exactly is this place?

Even I cannot tell you. Coz it was just one of the many hundreds of pagodas in the area. But I encourage you to ride around the main pagoda area with the below reference and try finding this incredible gem ( Notice the light movement and traffic on the road).

Below are just some printscreens of where the pagodas is roughly located.
Best of luck hunting it down!

So hence concluding my post of my visit to Bagan in Myanmar. Big thanks to Myanmar National Airlines for being a part of making our experience here in Myanmar enjoyable. Stay tuned to updates on Inle sector, which was a truly incredible river experience.

Hot air balloons over the stupas and pagodas of Bagan Myanmar

Hot air balloons over the stupas and pagodas of Bagan Myanmar

See the best of Myanmar with Myanmar national airlines | Myanmar Tourism featuring Bagan and Inle lake

See the best of Myanmar with Myanmar National Airlines | Myanmar Tourism featuring Bagan and Inle lake

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    May 9, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Wow, Myanmar is at the top of my bucket list. Enjoyed all your beautiful photos of Bagan! It’s encouraging to hear it’s easy to get around by air, as there are some great distances to cover between some of the sights. And the food looks amazing. Can’t wait to read your upcoming post about Inle Lake!

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      May 10, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Glad you enjoyed the article Cynthia. Bagan is really breathtaking and really worth the visit, check it off your bucketlist!. Stay tuned to more about Myanmar:)

  • Reply
    Mary {The World Is A Book}
    May 15, 2018 at 3:51 am

    Myanmar is near the top of my Asia bucket list too. It just looks so enchanting and beautiful. These are some really great tips for when we finally make it. Glad to hear it’s quite easy to get around. Beautiful photos and I’d love to see those pagodas and views.

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      May 15, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      The views are beyond breathtaking, Mary! I hope you’ll cross it off your bucket list soon. 🙂

  • Reply
    Anna
    May 17, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Myanmar looks like a great place to visit, I’ve heard of it – but none of my friends or family members went, so I knew little! And if you say they´ve just recently opened to strangers – it must feel like such an authentic experience! Hot air balloons over the stupas and pagodas are so stunning!

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      May 17, 2018 at 10:25 am

      I warmly recommend it for you to visit, Anna! Myanmar is astonishing and the hot air balloons are a must! 😉

  • Reply
    Sue Slagjt
    May 18, 2018 at 1:11 am

    What a fabulous guide to this magical place. I have long dreamed of a trip here so will remember your excellent guide for a future adventure.

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      May 18, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Thanks, Sue! Hope you’ll find this guide useful and practical soon. 🙂

  • Reply
    Velysia Zhang
    June 26, 2018 at 1:36 am

    One of my best sunrise moment is actually in Bagan, even I got goosebumps cause it’s so beautiful. Agree, just go around and check any temples that looks interesting cause there are too many of them. Love Myanmar!

    • Reply
      Lydia Yang
      June 26, 2018 at 9:24 am

      I couldn’t agree more with you about the sunrise, Velysia! I love Myanmar too. 🙂

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