Ballooning in Bagan (2 nights)

RAN 304-201
  • Sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Bagan Archeological Zone
  • Ancient Bagan city and its temples
  • Monastic  School or religious education center in Bagan
  • Special Dinner event near one of Bagan Temple
Program Overview
Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Depart: 11/05/2017 0400
Return: 11/07/2017 1230
Duration: Overnight
Difficulty: Moderate
Capacity: Min 25 / Max 25
Category: ILLUMINATE: History / Culture
Program Fee
$1172 (early booking: $1088)

Field Class Conflicts
  • PHIL 372 Meaning & Truth in Religion

Take an early morning flight to Bagan, where your first stop will be to explore the well-preserved Shwezigone Pagoda. Commenced by Anawrahta in the 12th century but completed by his son, King Kyansittha, it is a prototype for many later Myanmar pagodas. Its distinctive gilded zedi dominates the small town of Nyaung-U. This impressive pagoda contains 4 shrines at the cardinal points, each housing a 13ft high bronze standing Buddha, the largest surviving examples in Bagan.

Then proceed to amazing Ananda Temple (via pony cart) which is one of the four main temples remaining in Bagan. Ananda temple is considered to be one of the most surviving masterpieces of the Mon architecture and is also known as the finest, largest, and best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. Lunch will be served at one of local restaurant.

After lunch, enjoy visiting a local village and experience a day in the life of a local villager. Transfer to the jetty from where a traditional, wooden motor boat will take you to the other side of the Irrawaddy River. You will be able to visit numerous rural villages specializing in various cottage industries such as Thazin village, where you can see some cane weaving (plates, tissues boxes and more) and Ey Shey village with its cotton weaving factory. After seeing the rural side of Bagan, leaving the villages you travel back to the waterfront to rejoin your boat and sail back down to the jetty, and then to the hotel. At the end of this eventful day, enjoy dinner will at one of Bagan’s finest restaurants, followed by a cultural show.

Early next morning, enjoy a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Bagan Archeological Zone. There is no better way to take in Bagan’s historic sunrise and spellbinding landscape than from a hot-air balloon. Prepare to be amazed by one of life’s most breathtaking scenes as you experience the unrivalled majesty of thousands of ancient temples drifting below. Flight duration averages 45 minutes. After breakfast at your hotel, the first stop for today sightseeing will be at Nyaung U market to see the vast variety of fresh fruit and vegetables for sale and gain appreciation for the city’s bustling market atmosphere.

Bagan is not only famous for its profusion of pagodas, but also for its artistic handicrafts such as lacquer-ware. Master craftsmanship of lacquer-ware has been the pride of Bagan since the days of the Bagan Empire (849-1287). Visit a hand-made lacquer-ware workshop and learn about one of Bagan’s primary industries.

After lunch in a local restaurant, take the chance to learn about monastic and basic government education. Students alternate between one form of education and the other, dividing their time equally. A panel of religious leaders and government educators will be present to encourage a discussion about the unique balance of educational systems. Before heading to sunset pagoda, visit to Gubyaukgyi with its excellent stucco carvings. Finish the day with sit back, relax and be amazed by the beauty of Bagan as the sun slowly set behind the ancient pagodas. Tonight, enjoy special dinner event near one of Bagan Temples.

The last day of this journey is reserved for the flight back to Yangon, and finally to the ship.

“I felt this was a trip that let me be a real explorer! I met local people, learned about the history, and experienced the most beautiful pagodas.” – Zaki S., Spring ’17 Student Voyager

“Flying over hundreds of pagodas in a developing country is one of the best things I’ve done so far. It shows the rich history of the area and gives you a better perspective of how they live and worship.” – Lauren S., Spring ’17 Student Voyager



Day 1

  • Travel to airport (~1.5 hrs), fly to Bagan (~1hr, 15min)
  • Explore Shwezigone Pagoda
  • Ananda Temple
  • Lunch at local restaurant
  • Visit to a local village
  • Dinner and cultural show

Day 2

  • Enjoy a sunrise hot air balloon ride (~45 min.)
  • Sightseeing at Nyaung U market
  • Visit a hand-made lacquer-ware workshop
  • Lunch in a local restaurant
  • Learn about monastic and basic government education, followed by discussion
  • Enjoy special dinner event!

Day 3

  • Morning flight back to Yangon, and finally back to the ship.

Meals Included

Day 1: lunch, dinner
Day 2: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 3: breakfast, launch

Special Note

  • Individual passenger weight limit is 280lbs.
  • Early AM departure
  • Hot air ballooning is a weather dependent activity
  • Bagan is a hot an arid environment. Navigating its many temples and sites requires the ability to balance and walk unaided. Very few locations within the Archaeological Zone are handicap accessible
  • Children must be at least 8 years old to fly.