Bagan is located on the central plains and is subject to a tropical monsoon climate. Summer is usually cloudy, rainy, hot and humid while winter is less cloudy, with less rainfall, milder temperatures and lower humidity.
In Bagan, there are three seasons: cool, hot, and rainy.
The cool season is from November to February. As the weather is comfortable and rainfall is decreasing, the cool season has become the peak tourist season and the best time to visit Bagan.
It's advisable to bring a thin coat or long-sleeved shirts and pants for this period, as it's pretty cool. Please also be aware that you should book your hotel ahead of time, as the hotels are busy in this season.
The hot season is usually from March to May, when the weather is unbearably hot and dry. In this period, visitors should bring sun hats or UV protection umbrellas, mosquito repellent and moisturizing spray, to protect skin from sunburn and mosquito bites.
From 12:00 to 16:00 hrs, when the weather is super-hot, tourists should probably arrange indoor activities at their hotels.
The rainy season is from June to October. During this period, the temperature is relatively comfortable, but rainfall increases a lot and roads are wet and slippery. So non-slip shoes and raincoat or umbrella are necessary.
Thin coats or long-sleeved shirts can help to keep you warm in the chilly evenings. With the increased rainfall, traveling around outside is undoubtedly more difficult. So it's recommended for you to arrange indoor activities.
Average Temperatures in Bagan
Precipitation in Bagan
Things to do
Located on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River, Bagan is famous for its many Buddhist temples and monuments with centuries-old history, and for being the most opulent archeological site in Asia.
A long time ago, thousands of temples and pagodas were built along the Irrawaddy River. Nowadays, there are still over 2,000 temples surviving and they are the must-see attractions in Bagan.
Bagan is on a flat central plain, which means you can rent a bicycle or horse-cart for a great trip. Besides, a hot-air balloon trip is another exciting way to enjoy the extraordinary landscape of pagodas, along with a wonderful sunrise.
Boat trips on the Irrawaddy River can help you get a glimpse of local lives of residents and the beautiful sunset. You can hardly say you have been to Burma unless you visit Bagan.
Hot-Air Balloon Trip Over Bagan
Hot-air balloon trips are the most famous and must-do activity in Bagan. They are also the only way to witness the massive scale of the 2,000-plus temples and pagodas.
You can arrange a balloon trip during the hot season, which is usually from mid-October to mid-March. During this period, the winds are calmer and the air is cooler.
Taking a hot-air balloon is different from walking into pagodas and touching the masterpieces. You can see a lot more at one go. What's more, it's the best way to enjoy the wonderful sunrise.
Flying over Bagan will undoubtedly be an impressive and memorable experience for you.
Beware: Bring a thin coat or long-sleeved shirt, as it's cool in the morning. Be careful if you are afraid of heights. The trip usually lasts an hour and there is no toilet on the basket!
Observe Ancient Temples and Pagodas
Bagan is famous for its numerous temples and pagodas. There are over 2,000 temples and it's difficult for you to observe them all one by one.
But some temples and pagodas are fairly representative, well-preserved, and worth observing carefully, such as Ananda Temple, Shwezigon and Shwesandaw Pagodas, and Dhammayangyi Temple.
Ananda Temple is one of the finest, best-preserved and most venerated temples in Bagan. It was built in 1091 by the third King Kyansittha in 1091.
Ananda has four standing Buddha images, of which the one at the south side and the one at the north are original. When viewed from the vestibules, both of the original standing images seem to be smiling, but from close up they seem more solemn.
Shwezigon Pagoda is one of the oldest and most impressive monuments in Bagan. Its construction was started by King Anawrahta and completed by King Kyanzittha.
Shwezigon Pagoda is famous for its 37 pre-Buddhist nat statues. Before Buddhism was introduced to Bagan, nat spirit-worship was prevalent.
The Shwezigon festival held during the 9th month of the Burmese calendar (usually December) attracts thousands of devotees.
Shwesandaw Pagoda is a spectacular circular pagoda also known as the "sunset temple", for tourists can enjoy an amazing view of the sunset from there. Its unique and imposing structure is also an attraction for tourists.
Boat Trip on the Irrawaddy River
The Irrawaddy River is the longest river in Burma and it plays an important role in the economy and tourism. Taking a boat trip is a great option for relaxing after observing pagodas the whole day. You can observe the villages along the riverbank as well as enjoy the wonderful sunset.
While immersing yourself in the wonderful landscape, you can also taste a glass of local drink. The atmosphere is quiet and romantic and it's suitable for a family trip or a honeymoon.
Take a Carriage Trip
Compared with car or boat, traveling by horse and carriage is a novel and special way to observe Bagan. It's slow-paced and flexible, so you can decide where to go, when to stop and how long you wish to stay at each destination.
Besides, during the trip your experienced driver will share about local lifestyle and customs, and explain to you legendary stories about the pagodas.
A carriage trip is certainly a great way to gain deep insight about local culture and the history of the pagodas.
Enjoy Happy Hour at Your Hotel
In Bagan, it's usually too hot at noon and there is too much rain in the rainy season. Thus, at those times, it's better to stay in your hotel and arrange some indoor activities.
Lots of hotels in Bagan are equipped with swimming pool, relaxing bar, restaurant, entertainment club, and spa. Having a massage in the spa or tasting local dishes in the restaurant can also be a wonderful experience.
You can spend some of your leisure time relaxing in the hotel.