Sight of the month – Pagan


Pagan (or Bagan) was once the capital of a great civilisation dating from 849 AD to 1287. At it height, it was a mighty city, as is evidenced by the thousands of archaeological sites which dot the plains by the banks of the Irrawaddy River.  Some still contain ancient frescoes whilst the spires of many form a dramatic skyline and an excellent vantage point to view the other temples and pagodas.

Any adventure tour to Burma will include time at this important historical site.  Imaginative Traveller holidays spend a whole day here (best enjoyed by bicycle), exploring these wonderful temples. Choose from our 15-day tour the Best of Burma or 12-day Burma Unveiled which utilises internal flights therefore avoiding the worst of Burma’s roads and making the most of your time in this newly-emerging destination.

Pagan Facts

  • The site contains over 2,000 monuments scattered over 25 square miles
  • Earlier building were built nearest the riverbank – left side only
  • The Dhamma-yazika stupa is one of the largest pentagonal buildings in the world
  • The original site is believed to have been destroyed by Kubla Khan’s army in 1287
  • An earthquake in 1975 destroyed or damaged more than half the structures

Read our statement on ethical travel to Burma.

Why travel to South East Asia with Imaginative Traveller 


Our itineraries to South East Asia reflect 20 years of experience and client and tour leader feedback. They include multi-country trips, overland expeditions, wildlife holidays, cultural tours, treks, beach holidays, cruises, cycling trips, honeymoon and tailor-made tours.

Hill Tribe Treks

Our treks into the hills of northern Thailand give us a unique insight into the lives of the local people. We ensure that we take our time to meet with several tribes, each of them unique with their own language, customs and colourful clothing. We offer 3-day treks (which include an elephant ride through the forest and rice fields), 2-day/overnight treks and a simple 3-4 hour walk on an all day excursion from Chiang Mai, where there are still plenty of opportunities to haggle with the villagers in order to purchase some authentic hill tribe handicrafts. A local guide assists and accommodation is in basic bamboo village huts where the locals live and sleep

Grassroots travel

Stay with people you’ve only read about, visit places few have seen and use a variety of local transport to really experience the culture. In South East Asia we use local buses, sampan cruise boats, overnight trains, pirogue canoes, bicycles, longtail boats, tuk-tuks, bamboo rafts, songthaew buses and elephants!

Our leaders

They’re usually from the country we’re visiting so speak the language, understand the culture and know the history. They are passionate about their homeland and will provide insights that you would never discover independently.

Flexibility and Fun

Our small group adventure tours offer convenience, security and companionship with the freedom and flexibility for you to make your own discoveries independently.

Unique Product

Homestays in a traditional Iban longhouse in Borneo, overnighting at the Lampang Elephant Conservation in Thailand, cycling round Pagan’s temples in Burma, trekking amongst the hill villages in the Philippines, waking up on the crater rim of a live volcano in Indonesia, taking a cylco tour in Vietnam and Cambodia– just some examples!

Small Groups

Small numbers (usually max 16 in South East Asia) have less impact on the environment and offer more chance for cultural interaction.

Responsible Travel

At the heart of ALL our adventure and activity holidays to South East Asia. By ‘going local’ we ensure that the economic benefits derived from your holiday remain with the communities that you visit. We specifically support KOTO, a not-for-profit training centre and restaurant in Hanoi,Vietnam, which helps disadvantaged young people get off the streets and into a stable living and working environment. Most of our tours to Borneo involve a visit to the community-based MESCOT eco-tourism initiative near the Kinabatangan River and certain trips also include the option to participate in our conservation project by planting trees on part of our 64 acres of adopted land.

You may only travel to South East Asia once so make the most of it on an authentic and affordable adventure holiday with Imaginative Traveller!


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