By Zayhtoo Aungwin
The Ancient City Bagan, UNESCO listed World Heritage Site, is lied in the Mandalay Division, Myanmar. It’s also the heart of Myanmar. The panoramic view of the ancient city is covering with the thousands of pagodasand several stupas. These pagodas and stupas were mostly built at the 9th to 13th centuries, at the time ofTheravada Buddhism is propagated. At that time in Bagan, over ten thousands of temples and monuments wereconstructed but remains over two thousands because of earthquakes. Amongst the rests, the several lures are still enduring in those pagodas, in term of architecture, mural painting, stucco curving, wood curving, glazed terracotta tiles, stone curving as well as its virgin landscape.
It cannot be enough to wondering with two or three days for the whole area, but the commitment of this article can explore for your meaningfulness and satisfaction on the visit. As soon as the visitor enters Bagan, 25000 MMK will be charged for the entrance of the archaeological zone, but they can perceive that it is very deserved to pay zone fees after feeling Bagan’s inspiration. For the visitor’s meaningful trip, the proper recommendation for the specific visits are preferred in this article, and it will guide you to be the comprehensive visit, you will definitely cover to observe the famous pagodas, surrounding attractions of Bagan, and activities.
#1. Enjoying the Sunrise
Starting from your arrival to Bagan, catch the sunrise! Sunrise in Bagan is spectacular with the hot air balloons. Usually the sun goes up at 6 am in the early morning. The best time to see the sunrise with balloons is the October to February (winter season) in all year-round. Moreover, you can also enjoy a wonderful sunrise view at Min-Nan-Thu Sunset Hill and can make unforgettable moment.
#2. Shopping around local market
After watching the sunrise, visit a local market located at the Nyaung U. This market is a hub of local people. Thriving with people coming for shopping, experience the local lifestyle and should taste local foods. After having breakfast at the market, your Day-1 tour to famous pagodas and stupas is started.
#3. Shwezigon Pagoda
Shwezigon Pagoda is one of the four tooth relic sacred of pagodas in Bagan and it’s located at northwest of Nyaung U town. This pagoda was built by the King Anawrahta(1044-1077), founder of the Bagan Kingdom and complete by King Kyansittha(1084-1113). You will see the most impressive and huge golden plate pagoda.
#4. Htilominlo Temple
This 46 meters high pagoda is situated on east of old Bagan and it was built by the King Nadaungmyar. The name of this pagoda is very insane in Burmese language. According to the Burmese chronicles, the King Nadaungmyar was chosen to be a king among his brothers by desire of white umbrella and his father. His father placed the umbrella in the midst of his sons and the umbrella fell into King Nadaungmyar. In this way, he became a king named King Htilominlo and he constructed this temple. Therefore, this temple was named “Htilominlo”. You can find the great architecture and green glaze terracotta tile depicting the Buddhist scriptures at this temple.
#5. Ananda Temple
This temple is the most beautiful and artistic temple of Bagan and was built by King Kyansittha (1084-1113) during the 13th century. It was built in Greece cross style and it has four standing Buddha statues. The north and south Buddha statues are the originals.
#6. Thetbtinnyu Temple
Don’t miss out this highest temple of Bagan! This pagoda is over 60 meters in height. This pagoda was built by the King Alaungsithu (1113-1167), son of King Kyansittha. It is lied near the old palace and moat of the Old Bagan. It has two stories building and six receding terraces.
#7. Enjoying Sunset at Sunset Hill
After the Archaeological department banned for climbing on the temples because of 2016 earthquake, some sunset hills are built and they are mostly located near the Sulamani Temple.
I would like to recommend to have lunch after visiting Ananda Temple. Black bamboo and Tharaba Restaurant is nearest to your location and have the dinner at the Nandar Garden Restaurant by watching Puppet show.
#1. Mount Popa
Mount Popa, an extinct volcano situated 45 km away from Bagan. 1.5 hr drive from Bagan and I would like to suggest that the better ways to go there is by share taxi. Usually Taxi pick up the visitor at 10 am in the morning and drop off at 2pm. The price is around 10000 ks for go and back.
Mount Popa, the home of Nats (spirits) has many pilgrimage sites and nat shrines to explore and have their own stories. There are 777 steps to the Taung Kalat (Pedestal Hill).
On the way back to hotel, taxi will take you to palm restaurant where you can taste the palm juice (like beer) and observe the jaggery making process.
#2. Sulamani Temple
After visiting Mount Popa, visit Sulamani Temple. This pagoda was built by King Narapatisuthu (1165-1211) in 1183. The last earthquake shaked the temple and ruin the top section of temple. The architecture of temple is like Htilominlo temple. This temple is famous for its great wall painting and green glazed terracotta plaques.
#3. Dhammayangyi Temple
The most massive big temple of Bagan, Dhammayangyi was built by King Narathu (1160-1165). Pyramid shape pagoda, never fully completed pagoda has long interestful history. King Narathu supervised the laborers by himself to get the precise brick work. The finest brick work can be seen at this temple.
#4. Sunset in the Ayeyarwaddy river
After visiting the day time, please take a boat in the Ayeyarwaddy river and this is the perfect way of relaxation and you can also have a dinner in the sand island in the midst of river.
For those whose time is limited but have desire to experience and explore Bagan thoroughly with specific must-do tourist activities and must-go Pagodas and Stupas, this two-day tour itinerary is totally perfect.
But I would like to suggest that if you have more time, it will not be a waste for spending more days in Bagan. The more you do exploring, the more interesting and amazing things you will find out in Bagan.
May my Information hopefully be useful to whosoever thinking to pay a visit to Bagan the Ancient City UNESCO, World Heritage Site, Mandalay Division, Myanmar.