Dirt road in Bagan

Bagan by Bike

I arrived in the early morning in Bagan and headed straight to see the sunrise hiring a three-wheeler. I realized at that time that, I gotta get a bike there to roam around. Travelers who came before were doing the same.

My head was full with the amazing experience of watching the sunrise from the top of a temple in Bagan. When I checked in to the hotel, I couldn’t wait to go out. However, I was very tired from the overnight journey from Yangon. Having taken the breakfast, I took a nap for an hour and ready to get out.

I inquired about my hotel about the bike and they said, I would get plenty outside. So, I came out in the street and found one immediately. It was a small grocery shop. When, I asked about the bike, a woman asked for a boy from inside to give me the bike.

Now comes the confession part. I didn’t know how to ride a bike. I mean, a proper motorbike. Since my childhood, I rode on a bicycle but never tried a bike before. What gave me the courage was – it was not really a full-fledged bike. It was rather an electronic bike aka e-bike. It was driven by a recharged battery and the maximum speed one could achieve is 35 KM/h.

I pretended like, I am an expert of handling a bike. My biggest challenge was taking the bike and going away from the eyesight of the owners without creating any suspicious. And, the second biggest challege was…to stay alive!

And, that is how my epic long day journey started in the ancient city of Bagan! I had a Google map with me, so, I knew where to go. It was a straight easy drive from Nyaung U. When I entered in the complex, I didn’t know where to start.

In this vast expanse of complex, there are 2200 pagodas. Some of them are small, some of them are big. Some of them are accessible with staircases, some of them were locked for the people.

When you take these stairs and go up, you will see be on the 1st floor. There, you will either see small areas or big areas. In the bigger temples, there are places for keeping your bike. In the smaller ones, you just need to put it somewhere. Just make sure that you lock the bike before leaving it behind.

The road you are going to take is not a planned road. There were grasses there before as people and bikes are taking the grasses away and turned it a mud road. There was green trees all around, some of them were small in stature.

Although, I was riding randomly, stopped when I felt like climbing stairs of a pagoda, all the roads were not passable. That means, you cannot go 360 degree always.

There were places where roads were narrower, and guarded by bushes. Besides, every now and then, you will encounter, kids, locals and animals. I needed to drive carefully in those places.

How did I feel when I was riding bike in Bagan?

I felt like, I was on another planet. I was surrounded by the dots of pagodas driving through the greens. The contrasting color of the shaved road of yellow-brownish beneath and ahead of me. The Irrawaddy river was finding it’s course not far from me. The everchanging shade of the clouds hovering over my head. Thee colors of the temples were changing with the colors of the cloud making those more enigmatic.

And, I was driving through all of those, in another world, in another century – wishing the time to hold still.

Summary

What type of bikes to rent in Bagan?

Either an electronic bike (battery driven) or a bi cycle.

What was my preference?

An electronic bike, as riding a bi cycle could become arduous under sun.

How much does it cost to rent a bike?

6000 to 10000 Kyat

Tips for taking a bike

  • Try to negotiate for 24 hours cycle instead a day
  • Ask them if it was fully charged. At the end of the day return the bike to the shop to charge it fully
  • Do not try to go above 35 KM/h, the bike will start shaking
  • Always take the number of the bike provider even if you don’t have any active phone connectivity. If it gets broken down, they will come to rescue
  • Take plenty of water and dry foods with you, you will get thirsty
  • I took a hefty breakfast and skipped the lunch, you can consider it, too

Did you rent a bike in Bagan? What was your experience?

Further Reading

Where to stay in Bagan?
Temples of Bagan – A photo guide

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