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The Best Bagan Sunrise Spot? It Might Be In The Air…


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Josephine Miranda



Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a country steeped in rich history, captivating culture, and stunning landscapes. One of its most iconic destinations is Bagan, an ancient city dotted with thousands of temples and pagodas that create a breathtaking backdrop for locals and tourists alike. While Bagan is a sight to behold at any time of the day, there is something truly magical about witnessing the sunrise over this ancient city.


Bagan has long been renowned for its enchanting sunrise views, with numerous spots throughout the area offering unforgettable vistas. From popular pagodas like Shwesandaw and Buu Phaya to more off-the-beaten-path locations, such as lesser-known temples tucked away in serene corners, there is no shortage of options when it comes to selecting the perfect spot to watch the sunrise.


However, for those seeking a truly extraordinary and unique experience, there is a sunrise spot that rises above the rest—quite literally. Imagine taking to the air in a hot air balloon, floating gently above the ancient temples as the morning sun casts a golden glow over the landscape. This aerial perspective provides an unparalleled view of Bagan’s enchanting beauty, making it a must-try experience for any adventurous traveler.


Hot air balloon rides over Bagan have gained popularity in recent years, attracting visitors from all over the world. This thrilling and serene adventure allows you to witness the magnificent scenery from a perspective that few have experienced. It offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the early morning hours while marveling at the vast expanse of temples below.


Whether you are an avid photographer looking to capture stunning aerial shots or simply a curious traveler seeking a unique and awe-inspiring experience, a hot air balloon ride at sunrise over Bagan is bound to leave a lasting impression. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the charm of watching the sunrise from up high, the benefits of experiencing Bagan’s sunrise from the air, and guide you on planning your own hot air balloon sunrise adventure.


Exploring Bagan’s Sunrise Spots

Bagan is home to countless temples and pagodas, each offering a unique viewpoint to witness the beauty of the sunrise. Exploring these sunrise spots is a delightful adventure in itself, as you navigate through ancient architecture and immerse yourself in the history and spirituality of the region.


One of the most popular sunrise spots in Bagan is the Shwesandaw Pagoda. Situated in the northeastern part of the city, this pagoda boasts a terraced structure that allows visitors to ascend to the top for a panoramic view. The early morning hours see a gathering of locals and tourists alike, all waiting patiently for the mesmerizing sight of the sun rising above the horizon and casting its golden rays across the landscape.


If you prefer a more secluded experience, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover. The Buu Phaya Pagoda, tucked away in a serene corner of Bagan, offers a tranquil setting for witnessing the sunrise. The temple’s elevated platform provides a stunning view of the surrounding temples and pagodas, making it a popular choice for those seeking a peaceful and intimate sunrise experience.


For a different perspective, consider venturing off the beaten path to explore lesser-known temples in more remote locations. These hidden temples offer a sense of solitude and tranquility, allowing you to immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere as the world awakens with the first light of day. While these temples may require a bit more effort to reach, the reward of experiencing a serene sunrise away from the crowds is truly worth it.


It’s important to note that certain temples have restrictions on climbing or may require an entrance fee. It is always advisable to research and respect the rules and regulations in place to preserve the cultural and historical significance of these sacred sites. Additionally, it is recommended to check the sunrise time and plan accordingly to arrive early and secure a good viewing spot.


Exploring Bagan’s sunrise spots is an adventure in itself, as you have the opportunity to witness the beauty of the ancient temples and pagodas illuminated by the first light of day. Whether you choose a popular pagoda or a hidden gem, each sunrise spot offers its own enchanting experience that will leave you in awe of Bagan’s timeless allure.


The Charm of Watching the Sunrise from Up High

There is something undeniably mesmerizing about watching the sunrise from up high, and when it comes to Bagan, this experience takes on a whole new level of enchantment. Taking to the sky in a hot air balloon allows you to witness the beauty of the sunrise and the sprawling temple landscape from a perspective that few have the privilege to experience.


As the morning mist gently lifts and the first rays of sunlight begin to paint the horizon with hues of gold and pink, you will find yourself immersed in a moment of pure tranquility. The silence and stillness of the air create a sense of serenity, allowing you to fully appreciate the breathtaking beauty unfolding before your eyes.


From high above, you can witness the vast expanse of Bagan’s temples and pagodas stretching out as far as the eye can see. The gentle movement of the hot air balloon offers a unique vantage point, allowing you to admire the intricate architectural details of individual temples, as well as the harmonious composition of the entire landscape.


As the sun rises higher in the sky, the soft morning light casts a magical glow upon the ancient structures, highlighting their intricate carvings and creating stunning silhouettes against the sky. The changing colors and shadows add depth to the landscape, evoking a sense of wonder and awe.


Another captivating aspect of watching the sunrise from up high is the perspective it provides on the daily life of the local people. From the vantage point of a hot air balloon, you can observe the locals going about their morning routines, tending to their fields, and wandering through the temple grounds. This glimpse into their daily lives adds a layer of authenticity to your experience and connects you to the vibrant culture and traditions of Bagan.


The charm of watching the sunrise from up high lies not only in the visual spectacle but also in the emotional and sensory experience it offers. There is a sense of freedom and exhilaration as you soar gracefully above the temples, feeling the gentle breeze on your face and taking in the crisp morning air. It’s a moment of pure bliss that you will carry with you long after the balloon touches down.


Experiencing Bagan’s sunrise from the air is a truly enchanting adventure that allows you to embrace the beauty of the ancient city in a way that few ever will. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Discovering Hot Air Balloon Rides over Bagan

One of the most thrilling and sought-after experiences in Bagan is taking a hot air balloon ride over the ancient city. This unique adventure allows you to soar above the majestic temples and pagodas as you witness the breathtaking beauty of Bagan from the air.


Hot air balloon rides have become increasingly popular in Bagan, attracting travelers from all corners of the globe. Several reputable companies offer these extraordinary flights, providing a safe and unforgettable experience for adventurers of all ages.


When booking a hot air balloon ride, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, it is essential to choose a reputable and licensed operator to ensure your safety and enjoyment. Look for companies with a proven track record and positive reviews from previous customers.


The best time to take a hot air balloon ride over Bagan is during the dry season, which typically runs from October to April. During these months, the weather is generally stable, with clear skies and minimal rainfall. It is important to note that hot air balloon rides are weather-dependent, and flights may be canceled or rescheduled in case of unfavorable conditions.


Most hot air balloon tours in Bagan operate during the early morning hours, offering passengers the opportunity to witness the sunrise from the air. The experience begins with the inflation of the balloon, and as the basket rises, you will feel a sense of excitement and anticipation for the incredible journey ahead.


Once airborne, you will be greeted with spectacular views of Bagan’s temple-studded landscape. The flight typically lasts for about an hour, during which you will float gracefully above the temples, drifting with the wind and taking in the awe-inspiring scenery below.


Hot air balloon rides over Bagan offer a unique perspective on the city’s historical wonders. As you glide above the temples, you will appreciate the grandeur and intricacy of the architecture from an entirely new viewpoint. The tranquility of the experience allows for a deep connection with the ancient spirituality and mystique that permeates the region.


It’s important to note that hot air balloon rides are a premium experience and can be quite expensive. However, the memories and the unparalleled views make it a worthy investment for those seeking an unforgettable adventure in Bagan. It is advisable to book your hot air balloon ride in advance, as availability can be limited due to high demand.


Whether you are a keen photographer, an adventure enthusiast, or simply a traveler eager to experience something extraordinary, a hot air balloon ride over Bagan is an absolute must. It is an opportunity to embrace the magic and beauty of this ancient city in a way that will leave you in awe of its timeless allure.


Benefits of Experiencing Bagan’s Sunrise from the Air

Experiencing Bagan’s sunrise from the air offers a multitude of benefits that set it apart from watching the sunrise from the ground. This unique vantage point provides a perspective and experience that are unparalleled, adding a new dimension to the beauty and charm of Bagan’s sunrise. Here are some of the key benefits of witnessing the sunrise from the air:

1. Awe-Inspiring Views

From high above, you will be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of Bagan’s temple-filled landscape. The vast expanse of ancient architecture stretching out before you, coupled with the soft glow of the rising sun, creates an awe-inspiring and unforgettable sight.

2. Serenity and Tranquility

As you float softly in the air, surrounded by gentle breezes, you will experience a sense of peace and tranquility. Away from the hustle and bustle of crowds, the calmness of the early morning hours allows for a serene and meditative experience.

3. Intimate Connection with Nature

Watching the sunrise from the air provides an intimate connection with nature. You will feel the crisp morning air on your skin and hear the sounds of silence, interrupted only by the occasional whisper of the flame powering the hot air balloon. This connection with nature adds a profound and grounding element to your experience.

4. Unique Photo Opportunities

Photographers will appreciate the unparalleled photo opportunities that a hot air balloon ride offers. Capturing the sunrise from the air allows you to capture the grandeur and intricate details of Bagan’s temples from a unique and extraordinary perspective. The soft lighting and stunning composition will result in truly remarkable and envy-inducing photographs.

5. Sense of Adventure

A hot air balloon ride provides an exhilarating sense of adventure. The anticipation of the flight, the gentle ascent into the sky, and the sheer thrill of floating above the temples create a one-of-a-kind experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

6. Exclusive Experience

Not everyone has the opportunity to witness Bagan’s sunrise from the air, making this experience all the more exclusive and special. It is a chance to go beyond the ordinary and immerse yourself in the extraordinary, creating a memory that will last a lifetime.


Experiencing Bagan’s sunrise from the air is a truly unique and awe-inspiring adventure. From the breathtaking views to the sense of tranquility, it offers an unparalleled way to appreciate the beauty and magnificence of Bagan’s sunrise. Whether you are a photographer, an adventure seeker, or simply a lover of nature, a hot air balloon ride over Bagan is an experience that should not be missed.


Planning a Hot Air Balloon Sunrise Experience

If you’re considering a hot air balloon ride at sunrise over Bagan, careful planning is essential to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some key factors to consider when planning your hot air balloon adventure:

1. Research and Choose a Reputable Operator

Start by researching and selecting a reputable hot air balloon operator in Bagan. Look for companies with a proven track record, positive customer reviews, and proper licenses and certifications. This will ensure your safety and the quality of your experience.

2. Book in Advance

Hot air balloon rides in Bagan are popular and tend to sell out quickly, especially during the high season. To secure your spot, it’s recommended to book your flight well in advance. This ensures availability and allows you to plan your itinerary accordingly.

3. Consider Weather Conditions

Hot air balloon rides are weather-dependent, and flights may be canceled or rescheduled in case of unfavorable conditions such as strong winds or rain. Check the weather forecast for your intended date of the ride and be prepared for possible changes. It’s advisable to have alternative plans or a backup date in mind.

4. Pack Appropriately

Dress comfortably and in layers, as the temperature may vary during the flight. Opt for lightweight clothing that allows for easy movement and wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Don’t forget to bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, as well as a jacket or sweater for cooler moments.

5. Arrive Early

Hot air balloon rides typically operate during the early morning hours, just before sunrise. To ensure a smooth experience, arrive at the designated meeting point early. This allows ample time for check-in procedures, safety briefings, and boarding. Being punctual ensures that you don’t miss out on the flight.

6. Follow Safety Instructions

Listen attentively to the safety instructions provided by your pilot and crew. Follow their guidance regarding boarding, landing positions, and any other safety procedures. Hot air balloon rides are generally safe, but it’s important to be aware of and adhere to the rules for a seamless and secure experience.

7. Capture the Moment

Bring a camera or smartphone to capture the stunning views and magical moments during your hot air balloon ride. Take advantage of the unique perspective from the balloon to snap unforgettable photos of Bagan’s temples and the sunrise. Just remember to enjoy the experience firsthand and not get too caught up in capturing every moment.


By considering these essential factors and making appropriate plans, you can ensure a memorable and safe hot air balloon sunrise experience in Bagan. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the ancient city from a unique vantage point and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Tips for Capturing the Best Aerial Sunrise Photos

When experiencing Bagan’s sunrise from a hot air balloon, capturing the awe-inspiring moments through photography can help preserve the memories of this extraordinary adventure. Here are some tips to ensure you capture the best aerial sunrise photos:

1. Bring the Right Equipment

Make sure you have a camera with manual settings or a smartphone with a high-quality camera. Consider bringing a wide-angle lens or using the panorama mode to capture the expansive landscape. A tripod or stabilizer can also help steady your shots during the flight.

2. Shoot in RAW Format

Set your camera to shoot in RAW format rather than JPEG. RAW files capture more information and give you greater flexibility in post-processing. This will allow you to enhance the details and colors of your photos without compromising quality.

3. Experiment with Exposure

To capture the dynamic range of the sunrise scene, experiment with different exposure settings. Start by metering for the sky to avoid blowing out the highlights. Additionally, consider bracketing your shots to capture a range of exposures and later merge them for an HDR effect.

4. Embrace Silhouettes

The soft morning light during sunrise is perfect for creating dramatic silhouettes against the colorful sky. Look for prominent temple structures or intricate pagoda designs as subjects and position them against the vibrant sunrise backdrop.

5. Focus on Composition

Use the unique vantage point from the hot air balloon to your advantage and experiment with different compositions. Incorporate leading lines, symmetry, or use the temples as foreground elements to add depth and interest to your photos.

6. Be Mindful of Vibrations

Hot air balloons can experience slight vibrations during flight. To minimize the impact on image quality, use fast shutter speeds and higher ISO values. This will help freeze motion and reduce the effect of any camera shake caused by the balloon’s movement.

7. Capture the Moments Between

Don’t limit yourself to only capturing the sunrise itself. Keep your camera handy throughout the entire flight and capture the moments between the spectacular sunrise moments. Look for the play of light and shadows on the temples, the interactions of fellow passengers, and the serenity of the journey.

8. Practice Patience and Awareness

Sunrise is a fleeting moment, and conditions can change rapidly. Be patient and stay aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for interesting cloud formations, changes in light, and unique opportunities that may arise during the flight.


Remember, while it’s important to capture stunning photos, be sure to also take moments to simply enjoy the experience. Don’t get too caught up behind the lens and miss out on fully immersing yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the hot air balloon sunrise over Bagan.



Experiencing Bagan’s sunrise from the air in a hot air balloon is a truly remarkable and unforgettable adventure. It offers a unique perspective on the ancient city, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of the temples and pagodas that dot the landscape. From the awe-inspiring views to the sense of tranquility and connection with nature, a hot air balloon sunrise experience in Bagan is unlike anything else.


Watching the sunrise from the air provides a different dimension to the charm of Bagan. It allows you to witness the magical transformation of the landscape as the first rays of light cast their golden glow upon the ancient structures. From the exhilaration of the ascent to the peacefulness of floating above the temples, every moment is filled with wonder and beauty.


Not only does a hot air balloon ride provide an incredible experience, but it also offers unparalleled photo opportunities. Capturing the panoramic views, the silhouettes against the vibrant sky, and the dynamic range of colors will help preserve the memories of this extraordinary adventure for a lifetime.


As you plan your hot air balloon sunrise experience, be sure to choose a reputable operator, book in advance, and be mindful of weather conditions. Arriving early, following safety instructions, and dressing appropriately will ensure a smooth and enjoyable flight. Remember to embrace the moment and allow yourself to fully absorb the magic of the sunrise from the air.


Bagan’s sunrise from the air is an experience that transcends words and captures the essence of this ancient city’s timeless allure. It’s an adventure that will stay with you long after the balloon touches down, leaving you with memories of breathtaking views, tranquility, and the enchanting beauty of Bagan’s sunrise.