If each individual temple is wonderful on its own, my greatest joy of Bagan was climbing a giant temple to be rewarded with a panoramic view of temples in every direction. A number of times, I felt like I should have been on a movie set rather than a real historical place. Somehow, photos like this just yell “Indiana Jones” to me:
I actually visited Bagan back 2011 or so, before the big changes that are currently taking place. When I was there, it was pretty easy to just hire a horse or bicycle for the day and explore at leisure, but I have legitimately no idea what it is like now. If you’re worried about visitng Bagan independently, check out the growing list of partners with GetYourGuide.