Bagan is Myanmar’s most important historical heritage area and the biggest archaeological site of the country. Having seen quite a few places across Asia, I have to say that it is by far the most beautiful and impressive archeological site I have ever seen. Bagan is absolutely magnificent! Heading to Bagan from Mrauk U is a 16-hour bus journey from Mrauk U to Magwe plus a 3.5-hour bus journey from Magwe to Nyaung U the next day.
From the 9th to the 13th centuries, Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan. This kingdom was the first to unify the regions and establish the Burmese culture and ethnicity. From the 11th to the 13th centuries, over 10000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were built on the plains surrounding Bagan alongside the Irrawaddy River. As of today, a little over 2200 temples and pagodas survived from multiple natural disasters.
Bagan spreads across 3 cities: Nyaung U, Old Bagan and New Bagan. Every blog and guide tend to recommend the Old Bagan for a more authentic stay. Just so you know, the Old Bagan is busy packed with dozens of noisy tourist cars and pushy souvenir vendors. It is by far the least pleasant one! The new bagan is a much better place to stay with plenty of incredible food places and cheap accomodations. It is also the closest to the best part of Bagan which is located on the eastern side of the New Bagan. Renting an E-Bike is the best way to explore the multiple temples of Bagan. Covering the whole area from Old Bagan, New Bagan and Nyang U takes from 2 to 3 days.