Round Bagan, Horse and Cart, Bagan
The mode of transport I chose in Bagan was The horse and cart which I hired from my hotel .After looking at the various means of transport this seemed to be the most practical mainly because of the extreme heat and the vast distances that I had to cover.. I did look at hiring a bicycle from the hotel as they were cheap and they had many. I decided on the horse and cart.Travelling by the horse and cart was a pleasant easy way to spend the day and was I found most relaxing...I also carried a plastic bag that I would put inside my hat and fill with water for the horse...I found that the horse was a bit neglected sometimes..especially in this extreme heat. Make sure that you are carrying plenty of fresh bottled water with you at all times here..
We hired this horse and buggy for 2 days to get around some of the temples at Bagan. Taxi's were very expensive to hire for a day @ US$35 - whereas the buggies were $10 - and the open air, albeit dusty and slower transport, as quite enjoyable.
Our driver, Soe Soe, was a young man from a village close to the old city, and had remarkably good English. Talking to him over the two days was enjoyable, and gave us one of that great opportunities to ask about all the cultural and local customs etc.
If you decide to take this form of transport around the historical park, think about taking some sugar for the horse who will be lumping you around!
A horse cart is a comfortable way of getting around in Bagan - you sit/lie in the shade and travel at a reasonable pace. This is not necessarily a tourist attraction only, many Burmese towns use horse carts as a means of transport. Hiring a bicycle is only something for the young and fit who can pedal in the incredible heat and in the sand.
We used the horse cart nr.106 - the driver was experienced and friendly. Did not talk too much or too little. 7000 - 7500 kyat per day. Your hotel can arrange it.
The best way to see the pagodas is by taking a horse and cart.This way you see the pagodas in a leisurely way and are giving something to the local people. The drivers can also provide you with information about the pagodas and which ones are the best to visit around dawn or sunset.
We negotiated with our driver to also fit in a visit to a monastery, local arts and crafts centre and the cuckoo laquerware shop.
What I also liked is that he took a sensible approach in terms of his horse and the weather. We went early in the morning-took a break in the middle of the day and then he picked us up with a different horse at 4pm.
Our driver was Myo Myo Myo and is cart number was 33.
I paid 6000k for the first day horse cart rental and I paid 7000k for the second day which include other side of BAGAN where I really enjoyed very much.
So, the horse cart rental in Feb'05 is around 6000-7000k which include sunrise and sunset.
Travelling by horse and cart really is 'THE' way to get around Bagan. It is a novelty to most but it's also very practical as the tracks from one temple to the next are often no more than soft dirt. I used a bicycle one morning which was good (after having already seen the route by cart), but unless you're in good shape and know where you're going, then you are going to find the bike hard work.
If you find a good driver, he will often be able to double as a guide and explain something about the temple you are about to see before you get there. This lets you take in the scenery and knowledge while just sitting back and chillin'
Highly recommended is cart number 118 - we were stopped in the middle of the street one day by Dutch lady who had photos for him. They were sent by previous tourists from the Netherlands who'd enjoyed his tour.
He does suggest various attractions for example the Laquerware factory and typical village home, but in no way does he push anything, nor expect anything from you. If only guides from around the world could all be like this !!
The site of Bagan is quite big and therefore if you want to visit most of the spots, it is better to use either a bike or a horse-cart.
We stayed in Bagan 3 days and we did one day with a horse-cart and one day with bicycle and one day by foot.
The three best choice.
Try to rent a horse-cart to vist all the temples. It might seem slow, but it allows to appreciate all the surroundings and to plunge in the quiet atmosphere of this ancient place. One day rental (for two people) is cheap (7000 kyats). You also help the local economy and are allowed a closer contact with burmese people.
Most sites are spaced quite far but easily accessible by horse carts. Alternatively you can rent a car (which comes with a driver) that can optionally include a tour guide. Horse carts have the advantage of going through the footpaths and is definitely an experience not to be missed. Just settle on a price before you set off.
In Bagan it's very common to be driven around in a horse cart.
I don't like this kind of transport because it's for lazy, rich Americans (sorry, guys) and I feel too young (well, actually, I'm not that young) and fit to be in a carriage.
But sometimes, after a long day, your legs want to rest
Expect to pay more than usual
If by reading travel books, you know the names of the spots you want to visit, but don't want to spend time working out the route, hire a wagon for a day is a very good option.
They are friendly, smiling, patient, and knowledgable about the area.