Bagan’s 2,000 or so surviving monuments are spread over a 26-sq-mile (50-sq-km) area called the Bagan Archeological Zone. Entry tickets to the site can be bought on arrival at the airport or jetty, or at some of the larger temples, and must be paid for in US dollars. Nyaung U village, the main market and transport hub, has most of the budget and mid-scale accom- modations. Overlooking the bend in the river and connected via surfaced roads, Old Bagan has restaurants and a handful of mostly high-end hotels, while New Bagan is where most of the tour groups stay. Although major monuments are open from dawn to dusk, less-frequented ones may be locked. Key keepers usually live nearby and will unlock the gates when tourists appear – a service for which they’ll expect a small tip.
To get around Bagan, Chinese-made gearless bicycles may be rented from most hotels, although they punc ture easily and can be hard work in the heat. A more relaxing option is to hire a horse cart for the day. Drivers know the zone well and provide a commen tary on the monu ments, although their English may not be fluent. Taxis can also be hired for the day. Electric bikes (e-bikes) are a popu lar option, but you have to pedal if they run out of power mid- way. Pickup trucks run a regular route between Nyaung U, Old Bagan, Myinkaba, and New Bagan. For Popa Taung Kalat, taxis are the most conven ient option. Alternatively, pickup trucks leave from Nyaung U market, but some only go as far as Kyaukpadaung, where you have to change for Popa. All travel agents sell tickets for the Malikha 2, Nmai Hka, and Myanmar Golden River Group ferries to Mandalay. Departures are from the Nyaung U jetty, or the Old Bagan jetty in the dry season. The slower IWT ferries leave twice weekly; tickets are sold from their office near the Nyaung U jetty, and by all travel agents.