One of Myanmar’s top attractions, the area known as Bagan (ပုဂ) or, bureaucratically, as the ‘Bagan Archaeological Zone’, occupies an impressive 26-sq-mile area 118 miles south of Mandalay and 429 miles north of Yangon. The Ayeyarwady River drifts past its northern and western sides.
The area’s most active town and chief transport hub is Nyaung U, in the northeast corner. About 2.5 miles west, Old Bagan is the former site of the village that moved to 2 miles south to New Bagan in 1990. Between the two is Myinkaba, a village boasting a long-running lacquerware tradition.
Connecting the towns are paved roads making a 12-mile oval. In between and around these towns, of course, is the bulk of the Bagan action: the plain, featuring most of the temples, all connected with a vast network of bumpy dirt roads and trails. At times, you’ll be about a mile from the nearest paved road.