Capturing the ancient temples of Bagan at sunrise.

To see Bagan at sunrise is the highlight of the day. Yeah, it hurts to get up that early, but it’s worth it! Witnessing the light reveal the landscape is magical. Add in the balloons and you have a scene unlike anything you’ve ever seen! 

Bagan at sunrise

You used to be allowed to go up the temples and enjoy the view from there. But after some incidents and finally a death, temples are now closed and you’ll have to enjoy from the ground or from one of the many artificial hills. 

The hills get crowded and have a lot of vendors. The views aren’t even that great and temples are too far away to get any good shots. I say it’s actually the best time to drive around on your motorbike and find nice angles to shoot. Since almost everyone is standing still somewhere to watch the sunrise, it’s nice and quiet at most temples. 

Balloon season 

The season for the balloon starts mid October and ends Mid April, roughly. This coincides with the high season. It is during this time that you’ll have a much much better chance of seeing a good sunrise. 

Bagan, Myanmar

Sunrise during monsoon season at Bagan

My first visit was during the monsoon (low) season. The first month I captured roughly 25 sunrises and didn’t get a single nice colorful shot of Bagan at sunrise. There were just too many clouds, even when it was clear at Bagan. I also got very few good sunsets. I did get crazy cool clouds during the day, but you want those great colorful skies, right?!

Gear

Nikon D750 + D800 + D850 with Nikkor 20/1.8, 16-35/4 and 28-300/3.5-5.6

Other links

Watch the full Bagan photo series and other Myanmar photos at my portfolio.
Don’t miss my Myanmar travel guide and other Myanmar posts at my blog.

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