How to avoid paying the Mingun Archaeological Zone fee and still see everything
When entering the village of Mingun all foreigners must pay 5000 kyats to enter the Mingun Archaeological Zone. It also gains you entrance to all of the area temples including Sagaing.
You should keep the ticket with you at all times.
The reality is that nobody cares about your ticket after passing the ticket booth. And luckily there are at least two ways around.
We came by boat, so our solutions describe entering the city from the river side.
From the river bank reach the main road. In front of you should be the police station, the main pagoda is far on your right. Walk to the LEFT, pass the hospital (or whatever it is) and turn right on approx. second or third dirty country road. Walk some 300 meters and then turn to the right on some bigger road. Follow the road keeping eye on your distance from main road. Finally you should somehow reach the temple. Since there you are safe anywhere in the zone. In case somebody ask you for ticket (sticker that guards stick on your clothes), you can try to say it was blown by wind or you lost it or whatever.
Easier, but more risky way:
After landing with the boat get immediately to the right and walk by the river until you will se two huge stone elphants in your way. In that time you are far behind the control point and in front of the main temple. Just walk to it. The risk is that while walking near the river, you can be easily spot by guards.