The ancient city of Bagan in central Myanmar is truly one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites, matched only really by Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
In 2019, 25 years after it was first nominated, Bagan was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The thousands of temples that span the plains of Bagan are testament to the religious devotion of Myanmar’s people and rulers over many centuries. Our particular favourites include the Htilominlo pagoda, famed for its original fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations and the Dhammayangyi pagoda, Bagan’s largest temple. The structure is an enormous square, single story, pyramidal temple with six monumental ascending exterior terraces. We recommend enjoying the sunset from its summit; by far the most scenic spot in town. Sunrise is arguably, however the best time of day to view the temples, as miles of gleaming spires rise from the dawn mist. Make a pilgrimage to Popa. An hour from Bagan, Mount Popa has been a sacred site since long before Buddhist monks established the Taung Kalat monastery near its peak. Legend holds that the mountain is home to the 37 ‘nats’ (spirit gods) of Myanmar, all displayed at the base of the temple. Climb the 800 steps to reach the peak – it’s well worth the effort. The views from the top are incredible and reach as far as back to Bagan on a clear day.