Timeless temples in the ancient capital of Bagan

by TAA on December 20, 2019

Bagan was the ancient capital of the Pagan kingdom, known as the Land of a Thousand Temples, and the symbol of Burmese religion, history and culture. There are more than 2,000 pagodas and temples to be found, most of which were built by the ancient kings and leaders of Burma from the 11th century to the 13th century.

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Arriving in Bagan, I felt like walking in the space of the past in the holy land, perhaps the gods are also wandering around.

temple ruins in Bagan

I fell in love with Bagan for the very first time setting foot on this land - Photo: Internet

The flight from Yangon (Myanmar) took me to the ancient capital of Bagan in the sunny morning. Through the window frame, Bagan appears with barren sandy fields, with a few small bushes in the middle of the desert and some ancient temples.

Bagan used to be the capital of the Pagan kingdom from the 9th to the 13th centuries, preserving many temples and stupas imbued with Buddhist culture. Today, Bagan is very famous with nearly 2,000 temples and towers.

Visitors to Bagan also have many other interesting activities, such as sitting on a balloon watching the sunrise, taking a boat on the peaceful Irrawaddy river, or climbing to the spiritual house of Myanmar people on the top of Mount Popa…

temple ruins in Bagan from above

Bagan is very famous with nearly 2,000 temples and towers - Photo: Internet

sunset watching from a temple in Bagan

Dawn in Bagan - the city newly recognized by UNESCO as the World Cultural Heritage - Photo: Internet

white buffalos

Simple and peaceful life in the Buddha land - Photo: Internet

white Ananda Phaya Temple with gilded rooftop

Ananda Phaya Temple with its gilded main tower can be seen from far away - Photo: Internet

hot air ballons on top of temples in a foggy day

The hot air balloon rising in the fog makes a perfect picture: Photo: Internet

Mahabodhi Paya

Mahabodhi Paya is a temple with an architecture very similar to the Bodh Gaya temple in India - Photo: Internet

a girl with white Thanakha powder on her cheeks

Pretty babies with Thanakha powder on their cheeks - Photo: Internet

a girl with white Thanakha powder on her cheeks, chin and forehead

This is a powder used by the Myanmar people to skin care and sun block - Photo: Internet

golden Shwezigon

Shwezigon is the first gilded and considered the most sacred pagoda in Myanmar - Photo: Internet

Horse-drawn is passing the street

Horse-drawn passenger vehicle is a popular means of transportation in Bagan - Photo: Internet

The carriage took me to Tayoke Pyay temple. At this time, it was not morning yet but there were many photographers waiting with modern equipment to be able to catch the first moment of sunrise.

Sitting in a small quiet corner, I closed my eyes, enjoyed the feeling of peace and clarity in front of the silent temples. The feeling of seeing the first sunshine in every corner of the temples is magical, very similar to the scene in Hollywood's treasure hunt movies.

I saw hot air balloons rising up through the temples in the fog and the sunlight which creates a perfect picture.

After watching the sunrise, I rented a bicycle to take a leisurely walk on the red soil trails, free and comfortable to see the temples and pagodas. Bagan is famous for temples made of red bricks and then covered with gold.

There are many temples and pagodas to explore such as Ananda Phaya, Htilominlo, Shwezigon pagoda, Dhammayangyi, Thatbyinnyu temple but the most impressive for me is Shwesandaw Pagoda. I remember the feeling of standing with my arms in front of the wind, imagining how the people of Myanmar used to make such a majestic, solemn and sacred ceremony. I let my soul back the past, Bagan previously must have been glorious and gorgeous.

After freely exploring the ancient temples, I continued to discover Taung Kalat Temple - the spiritual home of Myanmar people - which is located atop of Popa volcano. Burmese believe that the volcano is the home of Nat - the supreme deity, and this temple is often reflected with Mount Olympus in their country.

You will have to walk 777 stone steps to reach Taung Kalat - which keeps many large Buddha statues, and attracts many devout Buddhists throughout Myanmar. From Taung Kalat, you can see the valley below, on the nice days you can see the Irrawaddy river.

An activity not to be missed when traveling to Bagan is to take a boat ride along the Irrawaddy river peacefully, enjoyably and relaxingly. The boat is quite nice, fully equipped with tables and chairs, food and drink, with quite cheap cost.

On July 6, 2019, UNESCO recognized the ancient capital of Bagan as the World Cultural Heritage.

The most beautiful time to visit Bagan

The best time to visit Bagan is from October to March next year, the peak season is January and February. The weather is still a bit chilly, little rain, many festivals, beautiful scenery, especially when sunrise and sunset.

Transportation to Bagan

From Vietnam, you can choose to fly to Yangon capital by Vietjet Air, Vietnam Airlines, Air Asia, Thai Airways... From Yangon, you buy domestic flight ticket or take a bus to Bagan.

Bus: Buses in Myanmar are very clean and comfortable. You should choose the bus service of JJ Express or Elite Express.

Domestic aircraft: You can choose domestic airlines with routes to Bagan such as Air Bagan, Air Mandalay, Air KBZ, Yangon Airways... Fares range from 80-120 USD for one way.

If you take a tour with Travel Authentic Asia, you will not be worried about transportation to Bagan. We will select the good transportation for you with high quality service and affordable prices, so that you will have a convenient and amazing journey.


There are 3 main areas in Bagan: Old Bagan, New Bagan and the town of Nyaung - U. The Old Bagan area is more expensive than the rest, but you will be near the ancient temple area. Room rates in New Bagan and the town of Nyaung - U are average from 20-60 USD / night.

Vehicles in Bagan

Horse carriages, cars and bicycles are three main transportation vehicles in Bagan. Horse carriage is the most favorite vehicle, coach can be your guide for free. The price fluctuates for a full day from 25,000 kyat, while the half-day rent is 15,000 kyat.

Bicycle is also a vehicle chosen by Bagan travelers. Normally, renting a bike costs 1,500 kyat / day and electric bike costs 7,000 kyat / day.


The cost of a hot air balloon in Bagan is quite expensive, from 300-400 USD depending on the time.

The Taunggyi Tazaungdaing hot air balloon festival, held in November, is one of the most fascinating things in this place.

When you enter a temple in Bagan, you must leave your shoes outside. You also should wear discreet clothes, avoid wearing halter tops or short skirts.

To book a tour to Bagan or any destination in Myanmar, you can contact Travel Authentic Asia via email: [email protected] or WhatApp: +84 912221442. Travel Authentic Asia is the tailor made tour operator based in Vietnam since 2011, which has delivered excellent travel experiences up to 4000 travellers over the world.


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