For my three day in Bagan area I based myself in Nyaung U, a few kilometres from Old Bagan. Here are around two thousand ancient Buddhist temples and pagodas scattered over a plain area of almost seventy square kilometres. Most of them exist since the 11th or 12th centuries.
On the first day I rented an e-bike (electric scooter) to explore the area of the historic walled city of Old Bagan and the central plain. This is were most of the largest and diverse are found. Unfortunately it was not possible to climb the temples for an overview on the sites due to restrictions after the earthquake in 2016. Last couple of months the last temples and pagodas that could be climbed were closed, so I had so enjoy the sunset on a man-made hill in the central plain among hundreds of Chinese tourists that came by coach to the sunset spot.
The second day in Bagan started with the highlight of my trip to Myanmar. Early morning I was picked up to have breakfast in the fields among the preparations for about 25 hot-air balloons that would go up during the sunrise. I boarded a balloon with 9 French tourists and we saw the sun come up in a landscape of thousands of temples. Truly a magical experience! We ended the ride with a glass of champagne on the other side of the central plain and I was back in my hotel before noon. The afternoon I stayed in Nyuang U.
On my last day in Bagan I rented an e-bike again to explore the areas in the Central Plain that I didn't visit on my first day. Since it was less crowded with tourists here it sometimes felt like a real exploration for hidden temples. I ended the day viewing another beautiful sunset.