-If you can afford it book a hotel with a pool especially in summer
-3 areas Old Bagan, New Bagan & Nyaung-u (descriptions below)
-$10 per person cultural fee to be paid at the airport on arrival
-$67 one way flight from Yangon
-Between 6-7,000 kyat taxi from airport
-Buy Lacquerware here (see New Bagan $2.50 box sells for $10 in airport)
THINGS TO DO:
Horse cart 20,000 kyat for 6 hours. It’s a great way to spend the day. You can also rent bikes. You should catch sunrise and/or sunset, most people go to the main pagoda but for a quieter location ask around there are a couple of temples you can climb up to the top. Have some small bills handy to “donate” when you go to locked temples. The family that tends it has a key.
AREAS IN BAGAN:
Old Bagan: Is where we stayed. This is where the upscale hotels are. Most of the cart drivers hang out here. There’s a row of places to eat but the ones near the Temples do not sell alcohol. There’s a couple of western style restaurants in this area too.
New Bagan: Very quiet in “monsoon” season. Some restaurants in town and a couple on the river. Main reason for visiting here is Tun Handicrafts. You can spend considerable time watching as students make pots, bowls and plates using bamboo and lacquer. There is no pressure to buy in the adjacent store where the items are well priced and plentiful. An easy place to find gifts from a couple of dollars on up.
Nyaung-u: I am not sure about the hotel situation here but in hindsight it’s where I would have stayed. There are many places to eat, Internet cafes, artists – just more going on for when you’re not sightseeing. Great meal at Bamboo Cafe, a nice setting with homemade ice cream & desserts. Curry was 3500K and ice-cream 1500K a scoop. Used T & T travel agent to book plane tickets. It’s next to Green & Green who couldn’t book us tickets bc it was off hours, but the nice guy at T&T was able to take care of our flight. He spoke english & he was a good source of information.
Nice day trip that we arranged with our taxi driver from airport. 35,000 kyat. (hotel wanted 75,000k) We stopped on way at a village where they made peanut oil, candy and firewater. Enjoyed the stop. About 30 miles away to this Nat Temple which sits 777 steps on top of a hill. No cost to enter. The walk up was fairly easy. Plenty of people selling water on the way up. Monkeys that live here are cute at first but they seem to be everywhere. Bring some small bills of 100k to “donate” to the well deserved folks cleaning the stairs of monkey waste. Nothing in english so read up on your Nats before you go. If you see my donation plaque I would appreciate you sending me a picture of it!
Hotel Tharabar Gate : Booked with 7 Diamonds up the street from Savoy and got it for $90 USD. (last minute and during low season) Clean, they did a good job at fumigating the grounds so no ants in room. (see Inle Lake) A/C worked well in room. Wifi in lobby. Breakfast was included & food was excellent. Loved the noodles on the breakfast menu. Ate out for other meals. Unfortunately pool was not open but they offered a horse-cart (we used bikes) to go to the pool at the Bagan Hotel. (which wasn’t well maintained)