What do most people think of when they think of Myanmar? Sunsets, pagodas and hot air balloons. This is Bagan. If you are in Bagan you have to make sure that you see at least one iconic sunrise or sunset over the magnificent pagodas sprawled across the land. Of course, just as much as you want to enjoy this beautiful moment, so does every other tourist in Myanmar. Lucky for you, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to share with you to help guarantee that you get the best experience for watching the sunrise and sunset.
If you want the truly pure photographic moment of Bagan then this is at sunrise as the hot air balloons float up into the vibrant sky. If you are not much of an early bird that is okay because the sun sets are magnificent as well. Plus, chances are you will already be out and about anyway.
Here is how to catch the perfect sunrise or sunset:
1. Buy a map
There is a map that you can buy from your accommodation that should have a little image of a sun next to all the pagodas that make a good spot for watching the sunrise and sunset. Use this as your base to plan our where you want to be during this special time.
2. Avoid the main tourist pagodas
The maon tousist pagodas, of course, have the most tourists. With all these people around- in your view and taking pictures- it will be distracting from the moment. I can’t guarantee you absolute peace if you want a good view but the bigger pagodas sure aren’t going to offer it. Also-wouldn’t you rather have the larger pagodas in your view instead of being on top of them?
3. Go to a pagoda close to where you are staying
Bagan is huge and there is so much to see. Remember, that once the sun sets you will have to drive back in the dark. Chances are that your scooter won’t have the best light either so to be safe pick a pagoda that is near by to decrease the time that you have to spend driving in the dark.
4. Arrive early
In order to get the prime spot it goes without saying that you should arrive first to stake out your spot. If you go to a less touristy pagoda then this won’t be as much as an issue but you don’t want to arrive and be stuck behind a bunch of heads.
5. Get high
I read that Bagan may create a new rule to stop allowing tourists to climb up on pagodas-which makes sense. To be frank-I was surprised that we were allowed to climb all over these beautiful religious monuments. For the time being though you are allowed and the higher that you get on the pagoda the better view that you will get. Once again, coming early will help you find a nice spot up high.
6. Put the camera down
Sorry, I had to end it with a cheesey tip. But let’s be real. Why are you really traveling? To capture a great Instagram picture or to experience the beauty of the world. Take a picture to capture the moment for your memory but also make a conscience decision to put your camera away. You are giving up a lot of time and money for this experience, soak it up.