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Cruises to Bagan

Bagan (Photo:Jakob Fischer/Shutterstock)

About Bagan

Bagan is a frequent stop on Irrawaddy River cruise itineraries. The city was once the capital of Myanmar, and is the birthplace of Buddhism in the country. More than 2,000 religious monuments -- stupas, temples and pagodas -- still stand today; you can see their spires dotting roughly 16 square miles. With its proximity to a small airport, Bagan serves as an embarkation/debarkation port.

A port stop in Bagan will likely include a visit to Ananda Temple and the Shwezigon Pagoda, which are among the best-preserved religious monuments in the city. You'll also see hot-air balloons flying over the temples, particularly at sunrise.

Bagan is a bigger city than many of the small villages along the Irrawaddy, and it has a bustling crafts market where you can pick up handmade souvenirs and art, often for a great deal. Expect to haggle: An offer of 60 percent off the first price is a good starting point.

If you're not buying items from markets or shops, you'll have plenty of other options. Prepare yourself: You will be followed by local peddlers looking to strike a bargain with you from the minute you step off your riverboat. They'll follow tour buses to the various locations and will not back off when they hear the word "no." Prices can be great, and many of the sellers are children or young women.

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  • More about Bagan

    Why go to Bagan?

    Pros: You'll find thousands of religious monuments and archeological treasures, as well as a lively market within this wondrous ancient city.

    Cons: The country's second-largest city, Bagan has poor infrastructure (think squat toilets) and can be difficult to navigate.

    Bottom Line: Book a guided tour of the impressive archeological sites in this historical, bustling metropolis.

    Currency & Best Way to Get Money

    The currency in Myanmar (Burma) is the kyat.


    The language spoken in Myanmar (Burma) is Burmese.

    --By Colleen McDaniel, Senior Executive Editor

    Bagan Cruise Reviews

    Scenic Aura
    Russell Stephens
    Sail Date: Mar 2018
    Bagan is Myanmar's archaeological treasure trove with its incredible temple circuit....Read More
    Scenic Aura
    Sail Date: Dec 2017
    The old town of Bagan is polluted and overcrowded with visitors, however if you take a tour through the back roads to the many Pagodas it is cleaner and less crowded....Read More
    Scenic Aura
    Sail Date: Nov 2017
    Bagan is becoming more popular with tourists but still an interesting place to visit. The early morning balloon flight is spectacular with over 3000 temples on view across the skyline as you ascend....Read More
    Scenic Aura
    Sail Date: Sep 2017
    Bagan was great, the area with thousands of stupas was stupendous!...Read More
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