Whenever we are looking for a new place to travel, we always get drawn to places with historical and cultural sites and I’m a massive fan of Hindu and Buddhist temples whether old or new. One of the best websites to do your research for your next trip if you think like me is the UNESCO World Heritage site, there you will find all the listed sites in the world and these site tend to be looked after better than some less known places.
The main reason why you would be visiting this part of Myanmar would be to see the ancient temples of Bagan. There are many temples that were built between the years of 1057 and 1287 and rival those of Angkor Wat near Siem Reap, Cambodia, Borobudur in Central Java, Indonesia and even the likes of Machu Picchu in Peru.
A popular place to stay to see these amazing structures is in Nyaung-U, only about 4km from old Bagan and is really close to all the sites. We stayed in a small hotel called Zfreeti which was reasonably priced and also had a pool to relax after a long day exploring.
There are many modes of transport that you can use to see the temples from Nyaung-U, these include bicycles, e-bike, private car or even a horse and cart, although these are not as popular as they used to be. As it was our wedding anniversary the day, we went to see the temples, we went with the horse and cart which was surprisingly comfy.
There is no hard rule of what temples you should visit and in what order so below is a list of the main sites you should add to your list and then you can just stop at others while discovering the area.
The Shwezigon Pagoda is situated in Nyaung-U so is an easy one to visit on foot if you are staying in the area, it’s close to many bars and restaurants so maybe this one you could do on a separate day while having some downtime. The completion of the building of this temple was completed in the year of 1102, it is covered in gold leaf and claims to enshrine the bone and tooth of Gautama Buddha.
If you want to get up early to catch the sunrise over the temples and most likely the balloons in the air, you can head to Thisa-wadi Temple for about 5:30 in the morning. It is located in the south east of the Bagan Archaeological Zone. It is one of the only temples that still allow you to climb it to watch the sun rise and has brilliant views of the surrounding temples.
To end your day with the sun setting over the temples, Pyathadar temple is a good option as it’s quite large and has good views from it’s terraces. Some of the temples you can view from there include the Sulamani temple and Dhammayangyi temple which is the biggest temple on the plains of Bagan.
Other temples that you should add to your list include Ananda pagoda, one of the best preserved and stunning temples of Bagan and the Thatbyinnyu temple which is one of the highest structures in the area. You can also just wonder around Nyaung-U as there are many smaller temples scattered around the town.
Keep up to date with all that’s going on in Bagan and other destinations in Myanmar on the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism government website and I hope this article has inspired you to travel to this wonderful country.