The main reason to visit this ancient capital is to see the huge number of temples that still stand; over 2,000 where there was once five or six times as many. However, there are other things to do in Bagan during your Myanmar travel. Those onorganised Myanmar travel packages will have an itinerary in place but there is likely to be free time as well so it makes sense to explore. Bagan is not a place with bustling nightlife so tourists often need to make their own entertainment.
Hiring a bike can be fun. They are available at most of the good hotels and with the region being fairly flat, it does not take too much energy to get around. An equally, possibly more leisurely way, to get around is to hire a horse and cart, driver and all. If you do this, you perhaps need to plan a route and show the driver where you want to go. The driver will probably have some places in mind where he can make commission if you spend money, but that may be a good option anyway; a nice café perhaps?
The Irrawaddy River is a great attraction and it is worth considering taking a short cruise. Some of the popular locations for sunset are likely to be crowded so hop on a boat to avoid those crowds. If you opt for a hot air balloon ride over the region, you will most certainly avoid any crowds. It will give you a totally new perspective of the area, though rides are not cheap.
If you get up early in the morning, you can see the monks, and some very young novices as young as 3 or 4 years old out in search of alms and blessing those who donate. There are shaven headed female monks as well who parade with trays on their heads; they are given uncooked rice as they walk. At certain times of the year, tourists may watch novice monks’ initiation rites, colourful events with music and rituals. Myanmar tour packages inevitably include quite a religious content anyway.
In terms of things to do in Myanmar, getting to understand the local customs and meeting the people are important elements to get a deeper understanding of the country. The Night Market in the centre of town is fun and the locals provide entertainment as well; plenty of music and there is also a Ferris Wheel run on electricity, quite a sight in these surroundings. Whether it is as safe as ones elsewhere is open to question so it is up to you.
On an Indochina tour, the cuisine is wonderful and there is often the chance to have a cookery lesson. It often starts with going to buy the fresh ingredients and finishes with eating. Bagan offers the opportunity to learn more about some of Myanmar’s favourite dishes are prepared. You may be able to impress friends and family when you finally return home.