Browse our Bagan Tours
Under jagged mountains and across winding rivers, the red plain of Bagan is surreal. Against this majestic backdrop, over 2,000 ancient Buddhist temples dot the landscape. From piercing stupa spires to stone pagodas and graceful domes, Bagan is a mesmerizing sight. A tailormade Bagan tour will take you across this wondrous plain, inside temples to admire colorful shrines, and face to face with the farmers and artisans that call this dreamy landscape home. With Backyard Travel’s local expertise, you get the freedom to discover Bagan as you like.
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Tailored Bagan tours let you take control of your holiday, and it couldn’t get any better in Myanmar. Explore ornate temple interiors, pedal through villages on bike or get a carriage tour of the plain. If those don’t appeal to you, you can always just take the humble hot-air balloon into the Bagan skies. Backyard’s focus on local expertise means you’ll go beyond the temples — to markets in handicraft villages, on scenic cruises down the Irrawaddy River, or up Mount Popa, home of the spirit gods.
Our recent trip through Burma was one of the highlights of my life. Our guides were excellent and met our needs with care. Thank you for all of your help - Everything went very easily.
John and Loretta Wortley (Myanmar, Oct 2012)
We were very pleased with all of your arrangements. The preparations like money transfer etc. worked out conveniently. It was always easy to get in touch with you and we felt in very good hands.
Felix Sebastian & Kathrin Stefanie Mann (Myanmar, Dec 2012)
Thank you so much for all your wonderful efforts in making our daughter’s visit to beautiful Myanmar so fabulous and memorable. Your attention to every detail was very special.
Ms. Stephanie and Mr. Edward Pellegrini (Myanmar, May 2014)
The vacation was really great and we enjoyed it very much. Actually it was one the best holidays we had! Everything was perfectly organised by you and your colleagues and I would like to thank you very much for that.
Dr. Christian & Edith Maria Schaller (Myanmar, March 2015)
Some Questionsabout our Tours of Bagan
Yes, most foreign nationals except ASEAN members and a select few countries are required to obtain a visa before visiting Myanmar. Citizens of the European Union, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. among others, are eligible for a tourism eVisa, which is valid for three months from the issuing date and allows a single-entry stay in Myanmar of up to 28 days. The cost of the eVisa will depend upon your nationality. There’s one catch: an eVisa will only allow you to enter the country through Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, or Mandalay international airports, but these are how most visitors enter Myanmar anyway.
We typically categorize the weather in Myanmar into three seasons: dry, wet, and wetter. The dry season, from November to February, is pleasant, with temperatures hovering around 25 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit). It does, however, get cold in the north during these winter months, and if you plan to visit Inle and Bagan during this time, pack appropriate clothing. The pre-monsoon season starts around March and lasts until May. This is the humid time of year when temperatures are at their hottest, soaring to the mid-30s (90 degrees Fahrenheit) and even surpassing 40 (100 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions. Monsoon season in Myanmar stretches from May to October.
We think autumn and winter (during the months of November to February) are the best times to travel in Myanmar. During these months, the weather is cooler, drier and more pleasant than the heat and humidity that remains fairly constant the rest of the year. We love, however, visiting ‘up country’—Inle and Bagan—between June and September, when the crowds have gone and you can have the temples and lakes mostly to yourself. Bagan is also lovely and green during the wetter seasons. When you can view the temples of this ancient capital city without the dust of this dry region, it is simply stunning.
The Myanmar New Year, which falls in April, is also a fun and vibrant time to visit. Called thingyan by locals, people across the nation wage citywide water fights, all while wishing each other a happy new year!
Myanmar is still not a heavily touristed country, making it a fantastic destination if you love to travel but hate the crowds. The biggest tourist hubs in Myanmar are Yangon, Mandalay, Inle, and Bagan, all of which offer amazing historical and cultural sights. But if you’d like to venture into lesser-known and little-visited Myanmar, you may want to consider cycling through Myanmar, which will allow you to see villages and local life off the beaten path. Or, our adventure tourS of the Putao region in Kachin State are fully customizable and will bring you face to face with the Kachin people, river islands, and jungles of this beautiful and remote part of Myanmar. To mingle with locals who reside in the mountains, you can trek into Hsipaw in Shan State, an enchanting town where you’ll be welcomed to immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of the Shan people. Hpa An, the capital of the ethnic minority state of Karen, also makes for a captivating trip to remote and mountainous Myanmar, with the karst peaks surrounding the picturesque town.
Myanmar is a great destination if your family shares a spirit of adventure. Burmese hospitality is truly heartwarming, and after years of political repression and isolation, many Burmese people are now welcoming foreign visitors with open arms. When you combine this with some of Southeast Asia’s most unspoiled and undeveloped countryside, you can expect your family holiday in Myanmar to abound with friendly people, a variety of outdoor activities, and plenty of opportunities to share an authentic Southeast Asian experience.
Children will also love thingyan, the Burmese New Year festival that falls in April. Traditionally, water blessings were given to family, friends, and statues of the Buddha to start the year right. This long-time cultural tradition has evolved into a fun-loving celebration, where entire villages and cities throw a multiple-day water fight!
Although the difficulty of buying a SIM card may have plagued previous travelers to Myanmar, we’re happy to report that things are changing. MPT, the state-owned mobile service provider, is getting some competition with the arrival of Ooredoo and Telenor, two foreign-based companies providing cheap, local SIM cards with 3G. While Ooredoo and Telenor offer cheaper prices, MPT tends to offer the better coverage due to how established they are. You can find Myanmar SIM cards and pre-paid data plans at the airport on arrival, or at operator offices and mobile phone shops in all the major urban centers, such as Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan. Depending on the service provider, a 3G SIM will cost you somewhere between 1,500 to 5,000 kyat (US$1.50 to $5).
Most domestic carriers in Myanmar only allow bookings to be made from within the country. But not to worry—our ticketing team will book your flights as part of your Myanmar tour package.
Cash is still king in Myanmar, where the credit card system collapsed in the financial crisis of 2003. Although local banks have plans to reintroduce credit cards to Myanmar’s citizens, it’s still a cash-dominated country, and you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of kyat on hand. ATMs are becoming more common in major cities, especially in Yangon where they have popped up like mushrooms after the monsoon rains. You’ll find plenty of banks and exchange counters in the major tourist hubs, but don’t rely too heavily on ATM access when heading into smaller towns.
Depending on where you visit, Myanmar can be a culinary melting pot, with the regional cuisines of Shan, Rakhine, and Kachin states being among the best in the country. “Bhamar” curries are the national staple, with juicy chunks of meat or fish stewed in a rich curry gravy. A typical Burmese meal will come with rice, a curry, and a few smaller dishes of mixed salads, fresh greens, and cooked vegetables, often with hingyo, a hot, clear broth, on the side.
One of our favorite dishes that can be found anywhere in Myanmar is tea leaf salad, or lahpet thoke, which combines pickled tea leaves with chopped tomato and crunchy, toasted beans. Foodies shouldn’t leave Myanmar without trying a bowl of mohinga, the nation’s favorite breakfast food. Although it looks deceptively simple—rice noodles in a fish-and-tomato-based soup—you’ll find that mohinga has a bold and complex flavor that’s hard to find anywhere else in the world.
Indian cuisine enthusiasts will also delight in the South Asian influences in Burmese biryani and the Burmese flatbread, which is made in a clay oven, much like naan. But, if you tend to be a little more conservative in your culinary choices, don’t worry. Myanmar offers a wide variety of international foods in tourist hubs, and dining in Yangon is offering more and more of an eclectic culinary scene that will make any gourmand happy.
As with any Asian country, it’s customary to tip your Myanmar tour guide and driver. We recommend giving each about US$10 per group per day. As for tipping at hotels and restaurants, in Myanmar it’s not expected but appreciated. If you want to tip your hotel porter, we suggest giving US$1 per piece of luggage carried, and for restaurant staff, about 5 to 10% of the bill.
Hotels in Yangon are pricier than hotels of the same category in neighboring cities such as Bangkok or Hanoi, and they also tend to be pricier than properties in Inle and Bagan. There has been a rush in hotel development in Myanmar in recent years, but options are still limited, especially in remote areas. We advise booking in advance during peak periods. For the best deals on the best accommodations to suit your tastes, contact one of our Myanmar-based Travel Specialists, who have personal relationships with Burmese hoteliers and innkeepers.
When you travel to Myanmar, you should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, and polio as these are all present in the country. We always recommend having good medical insurance that covers evacuation flights. Check your government’s travel advisory on Myanmar for the most up-to-date information.
Please dress modestly and respectfully, covering any bare skin from the shoulders to below the knees, especially when entering places of worship. Some temples and pagodas will provide you with a longyi to tie around your waist before you enter the sacred site.
Myanmar has a wonderful heritage of local and traditional handicrafts. Supporting artisans by shopping for local gifts and products helps keep traditional crafts alive.
Religious iconography is everywhere in Myanmar in the form of temples, pagodas, and religious imagery. You’ll also notice the image of Aung San, the famous general who is considered the ‘father of modern Burma,’ and his daughter, Nobel Peace prize–winning Aung San Suu Kyi, displayed everywhere in Myanmar. Please show respect for these cultural sites and images by avoiding sitting or posing in front of them. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
Sights & Experiences
MORE TRAVEL INSPIRATIONS & INSIGHTS
Especially in small rural villages like those around Bagan, the Burmese are a welcoming and engaged people, known to address visitors as “brothers” and “sisters” shortly after meeting them.
The months between November and February are the driest and coolest time to visit. Rains are common between May and September, while temperatures can be very hot in spring.
While you’ll find some bars and restaurants around Nyaung U, Bagan is a quiet temple town. Catching the sunset atop a golden pagoda makes going to bed early more than worthwhile.
Unlike archeological sites like Angkor, the Bagan plain is home to several small farming and artisan villages. These traditional, rural Burmese towns add to the local color and photographic charm of the region.
Burmese is the official language in Myanmar, the most widely spoken as well. In small villages around Bagan, you’re likely to hear some local dialects. English and Chinese are common in tourist areas.
Meet the Myanmar Team
A company's services are best described by genuine unfiltered client feedback. Reviews for Backyard Travel Tours have been compiled from genuine customer feedback in partnership with leading review service, Feefo. A closed invitation only platform, we guarantee every single review is matched to a genuine customer who has travelled through with us. We currently have 89 Client Reviews of Bagan, of which 100% had a good or great time with us, and we hope you will be next!
Service rating : Working with Joy was a pleasure. She was very patient in helping me...
Service rating : Excellent and timely service before the trip. Top-class, well-informed, courteous service during...
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Service rating : We had a wonderful holiday, and Backyard Travel did a great job both...
"THIS IS BURMA, QUITE UNLIKE ANY LAND YOU KNOW ABOUT"