You’ve probably seen images of Bagan with hot air balloons rising over a vast field of red brick temples for sunset – and even though we decided against sharing a 400$ hot air balloon with Chinese tourists and their 3-way-zip-off-pants we were fascinated by the cultural heritage.
The biggest surprise to us was the fact that you are not able to climb the pagodas anymore like everybody used to in order to get a better view. We were disappointed at first, especially since this new regulation was seemingly set up just shortly before we arrived, and contemplated about ways to getting up illegally (which, according to Insta travel love birds, is possible despite of guards and fences). But after doing a little research we soon found that preserving the ruins surpasses our egoistic motivation to get a good shot. There used to be over 6.000 pagodas, nowadays there are only about 2.000 left – due to natural dilapidation over time, earthquakes but also irresponsible human behavior. Bagan became UNESCO World Heritage in 2019 and preservation measurement have increased since then.
After exploring the pagoda fields via E-Scooter the first day we got up early the next morning to watch the sunrise at a spot we remembered from the day before. Maps.me turned out be of great help here, so we highly recommend using it to get around. We also made a quick detour to downtown Bagan which was not really worth it and so we decided to spend NYE on the rooftop of our hotel, playing a game of “who knows their limit best” featuring the local rum and let’s just say: one of us did and Benzino did not.