Bagan is an ancient kingdom with a very village-like feel. The temples have stood tall among the grassy plains for centuries, while the nearby towns and villages have moved, grown and evolved, creating an exciting destination for any traveller.
This area doesn’t have an active nightlife like it’s cousin Siem Reap in Cambodia, but it’s the perfect spot to find out more about Myanmar’s fascinating ancient history.
Way back in 1057, the kings of Bagan began building this incredible temple complex. Approximately 2,230 of the 4,450 original temples have survived earthquakes, floods and more so you can still see them standing today.
Ananda Pahto is one of the most popular temples, so you might get a hawker or two standing outside. However, mass-tourism hasn’t reached Bagan yet, so you’ll be left mostly undisturbed.
The Shwesandaw Pagoda is known for having the most incredible sunsets. Climb up the steps in the early evening, and you’ll have an unbeatable view of the temples and the growing horizon.
If you want to go somewhere a little more private, head out into the green grassy plains. You’re unlikely to see anyone else here, but there are plenty of temples around.
We suggest that you start off your trip to Bagan by flying over this incredible temple-town in a hot air balloon. You’ll have amazing views of the temples, rural villages, river and mountains, so it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
If you’re spending a few more days in Bagan and have seen the main temples, head up to nearby Mount Popa – a sacred mountain with the most astonishing temple placed atop. You could also visit Salay, the ancient religious centre that has fantastic examples of 12th and 13th century pagodas as well as a few colonial buildings dotted around, or join a river cruise from Nyaung-U.
We love Bagan because other historic sites, such as Machu Pichu and Angkor Wat, are often swarming with tourists. However, this place is utterly tranquil; you can explore these incredible temples at your own pace and really get a feel for the reach of this ancient city.
Plan your trip to Bagan today!