Bagan is an amazing village south west of Mandalay region, about a 6-hour bus ride from Mandalay city. Bagan region was home to 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries, of which the remains of over 2,200 still survive to the present day. It is therefore full of things to see and many people consider it as equal, as a tourist attraction, to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
I had booked for my stay a room at the Hotel Yadanarbon Bagan, a luxurious hotel, with great staff and facilities.
Things to see in Bagan
There are two ways, you may choose from, to explore the magic Bagan: Either with a personal driver, or with an e-bike. I personally chose both of them.
Where I went the first day
The first day I asked my hotel to arrange for a driver and a car for a full-day tour to the temples, and I have to say that was a great choice. There are so many temples that you have to visit, and if you have a local driver to get you there, it is much easier!
Before we started the tour to the temples, my driver took me to the morning local market.
Then we visited these temples:
I went to see the Shwezigon pagoda. It is one of the oldest and most impressive monuments of Bagan. The most notable thing with this temple, is that it is gold plated and glimmering in the sun.
Then my driver took me to see Gubyaukgyi Temple. This Buddhist construction is outstanding and one of the best Bagan attractions.
Followed by the Htilominlo Temple. A large majestic structure reaching 46 meters in height.
The Alodaw Pyi Pagoda. It is known as the wish-fulfilling pagoda, because according to the legend, king Kyanzittha used to pray at this temple before going to war and his wishes were always fulfilled.
Then we went to see Oak Kyaung Monastery. One of the best places to see the sunset or sunrise in Bagan.
Also, the Anada Temple. It is known as one of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples.
Another temple my driver took me to see, was the Thatbyinnyu Temple. With a height of just over 60 meters, the Thatbyinnyu Pagoda is one of the highest monuments in Bagan. The majestic pagoda, towering above other nearby temples and pagodas is visible from much of the Bagan plains.
Then there was the Shwegugyi Temple. Shwegugyi means “the Golden Cave” in Burmese. It is located in front of the Royal palace and is therefore also known as the “Nandaw Oo Paya”, meaning “the Pagoda in front of the palace”.
The Mingalar Zedi Pagoda. It is also known as the “Blessing Stupa” and it lies close to the Ayeyarwady river bank.
Another one we visited was the Shwesandaw Pagoda. One of the most famous viewpoints of the region, which was unfortunately under constructions during my visit.
The we drove to the Gubyaukgyi Temple. It is also known as the “Love Temple”, based on a popular story regarding its’ construction.
The Manuha Temple. Each of the three front halls of the main building contains a large gilded Buddha.
One more temple to see in Bagan is the Dhammayangyi Temple. The temple was built in 1170 during King Narathu’s reign. According to history, Narathu became King of Bagan after murdering his father and his brother, who was next in line to become king. Narathu was worried about bad karma and built a massive temple to gain merit and to compensate for murdering his father and brother. He was later killed himself.
The Sinphyushin Temple. It is a beautiful cave-type Indian-style based monument.
The Pya Tha Da Paya Temple. This is not as busy as some of the other temples, but really worth the visit especially, near the time of the sunset.
Another temple I went to see was the Payathonzu Temple. Payathonzu means “three pagodas”. It is a complex of three interconnected shrines.
The there was the Dhammayangyi Temple. A great place in Bagan to watch the sunset.
The Lemyethna temple. Another beautiful temple in Bagan.
After this exhausting day the only thing I wanted was to lie in my bed, in my hotel room.
Where I went the second day
For the following day I rented an e-bike and I started wondering around the old and new Bagan, to do some shopping and observe the locals.
Since I had already seen almost all the important temples on the previous day, I was very relaxed and I only wanted to visit the Golden Palace.
Where to eat in Bagan
I suggest The Moon (2) Be Kind To Animals, which is an extremely good vegetarian restaurant.
There is also Delicious, for those who love Burmese cuisine.
And lastly, I suggest La pizza 2.
As the name suggests, you come here to have a break from Asian food and have a pizza.
Overall Bagan is a good reason to visit Myanmar!