Explore Bagan's temples and experience life in remote Burmese villages on this compact adventure

There’s more to Bagan than ancient temples, beautiful as they are. Maximise your time in the city on this action-packed short adventure, which takes you off the beaten track and into surrounding villages. Led by passionate local guides, mix it up with a bike tour around Bagan’s pagodas, a boat trip down the Ayeryarwady River at sunset and guided visits to rural communities, markets and tea houses. Not only will you meet locals and learn about daily life in the Burmese countryside, you’ll also be supporting social enterprise and sustainable community development projects.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
Finish
Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
Country
Myanmar (Burma)
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, Short Breaks - Group Adventures
Code
TRAB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Cycle to some of the most popular and beautiful temples in Bagan, including Shwe Gu Gyi Paya, Maha Bodi Temple, Bu Paya and Aananda Pahto.

  • Visit the village of Taungbe, where locals still get around by horse-drawn cart. Meet a local family, browse the morning market and wander through a 150-year-old wooden monastery.

  • Tuck into traditional Burmese fare at Sanon Restaurant. Part of the social enterprise network of Friends International, the restaurant trains marginalised kids in hospitality skills.

  • See Bagan from a different perspective and get some great photos as you cruise along the Ayeryarwady River at sunset.

  • Explore Kyunkalay, an undeveloped town outside of Bagan that you won’t find mentioned in any guidebooks. Learn how locals are working with a global justice group and using responsible tourism to improve local infrastructure and living conditions.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip operates on a join-in basis with our experienced day tour partner, Urban Adventures. On each day you will be joined by other travellers who have potentially booked on a different trip. It's a great way to meet a range of new people!

  • With the flexibility of daily departures, there is a chance you may end up travelling solo on this trip. You will always have a local guide with you, however, and all included activities remain the same.

  • Local guides are likely to differ for each day tour, however they will always be knowledgeable local experts.

  • Although the cycling tour of Bagan is within the abilities of even the most amateur of riders, it does take you off paved roads and onto sandy terrain, which can be difficult to navigate and often makes your clothes dusty. It's best to wear comfortable clothing on the day and be well protected from the sun.

  • If you would like to climb or enter the temples in and around Bagan, please be aware you will need to remove your footwear and socks. In addition, some of the temple steps are very steep, and without railings, so you'll need to exercise caution. Please make sure your knees and shoulders are covered, too; a light scarf should do the trick.

  • Temperatures can be extreme in Myanmar. During the day the weather can be very hot, so wear layers, use sun protection and drink plenty of water. In the evenings temperatures really drop, so bring base layers and warm clothing.

Itinerary

Welcome to Bagan! At 8am, you'll be picked up from the lobby of your Intrepid hotel, so please be ready on time. The morning will be spent exploring the city and its surrounds by bicycle. You'll visit some of Bagan's most popular temples, including Shwe Gu Gyi Paya, Maha Bodi Temple, Bu Paya and Aananda Pahto. From here, it's about a 15-minute ride to a local village outside the city, where you'll visit a beautiful 150-year-old wooden monastery.

Afterwards, jump back on your bike and pedal to Nyaung U. Enjoy lunch at Sanon Restaurant, an initiative of Friends International – a social enterprise working to rebuild the lives of marginalised youths around the world. Post lunch, cycle back to the hotel, arriving by around 1:30-2pm.

After a few hours of free time, meet your guide at 4pm in front of the hotel for the second activity of the day: an Urban Adventures sunset boat trip. Travel by horse and cart to the Nyuang U Jetty, stopping along the way for some tea at a typical local tea shop. Board a boat on the Ayarwaddy River and enjoy a relaxing 1.5-hour sunset cruise through Bagan. Make sure you bring your camera, as there will be plenty of great photo opportunities! Cold drinks are available for purchase onboard.

At around 6:15pm, head back to the jetty. Your guide can help you find local transport back to your hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bagan - Beyond Bagan Bike Tour Urban Adventure
  • Bagan - Bagan by Boat Sunset Cruise Urban Adventure
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Be ready for an 8am pick up at the hotel this morning after breakfast. Today you'll be heading out on the Urban Adventures In Focus tour: Bagan Community Experience. Travel by light truck (similar in style to a Thai songthaew) for about an hour to Pakkoku, where you'll visit the biggest thanakha market in Myanmar. Thanakha is a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, said to treat wrinkles, sun damage, and acne, and even believed to help with fevers and headaches. Visit another local market and stop in at a tea shop, before continuing on to the small, off-the-map village of Kyunkalay.

Urban Adventures has formed a partnership with ActionAid – an organisation working to bring human rights and social justice to neglected communities – to help introduce tourism to the community of Kyunkalay in a way that is responsible, sustainable, and won’t negatively impact their culture and heritage. A donation of $4 per person will be made to the community development fund as part of the tour.

You'll spend about two hours exploring the village, which includes lunch, learning about the community's development plans via a local presentation, and seeing how thanakha is grown and applied. Afterwards, the group will either walk or take an ox-cart to the river, where we'll board a boat for the 30-minute trip back to Nyuang U jetty, arriving around 2-3pm. Like yesterday, your guide will help you tee up local transport back to the hotel, where your short break adventure comes to an end.
Included Activities
  • Bagan - In Focus: Community Experience Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 lunch

Transport

Bicycle, boat, private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

Included activities

  • Bagan - Beyond Bagan Bike Tour Urban Adventure
  • Bagan - Bagan by Boat Sunset Cruise Urban Adventure
  • Bagan - In Focus: Community Experience Tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. This Short Break Adventure begins from the joining point hotel at 7.30 - 8.00am on Day 1 and finishes with a drop off at the same hotel at 5pm the following day. Please take this into consideration when booking flights and accommodation.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.