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Sightseeing in Bagan - what to see. Complete travel guide

Long time ago, people founded a settlement and called it Bagan. This ancient city in Myanmar is also famous as “the city of a thousand temples”. It is a miracle that this historical site has survived until our days. In modern times, more and more tourists become interested in visiting Myanmar and Old Bagan. What are they searching for? This is an absolutely unique place with a magical atmosphere.
Historians think that Bagan was founded in 850. This was a period of time full of bloody battles for the throne. The palace coups became so frequent that they turned into a real disaster for local people. Two centuries after the foundation of the city, Anawrahta became the king of the region. He was the founder of the Pagan Empire. Thanks to his reign, the empire was growing in size by conquering the adjacent territories. Anawrahta wanted to develop the Pagan Kingdom and make it superior to other kingdoms. For this purpose, he was inviting talented masters who were creating true masterpieces for the city.
When the king died, many kings were changing each other. The life in the city was changing as well. Bloody battles came to the prosperous land, bringing chaos and disorder. The Pagan Empire ceased to exist at the end of the 12th century. The country’s population decreased significantly, and many landmarks were destroyed in fire. Only magnificent old temples still stand as reminders of the past glory. A devastating earthquake happened in the region in 1975. It almost completely ruined the city. There were attempts to restore the temples in the 90s of the previous century, but these attempts caused even more harm. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
In Bagan, tourists can attend an incredibly interesting excursion for foreign guests – a tour to Phowintaung (or Po Win Taung). This is a Buddhist complex consisting of more than 900 caves. According to a legend, a medieval alchemist (mage) called Po Win lived in these caves. He knew the secret of turning any metal to gold and could make every wish come true with a simple swing of his magic wand. The labyrinth of caves is 25 kilometers long. Nowadays, visitors can participate in an exciting and very interesting quest in these caves. During the quest, the participants search for the Holy Grail manuscripts. In order to participate, visitors need to come at noon. When the time for pilgrims is over, tourists can play the quest game.
Some tourists might wonder whether there are still any landmarks in Bagan since the city was destroyed. This is a logical question. Despite the tragic events of the past, the city is still worth visiting. There are still thousands of stupas and temples that create a mystical atmosphere and add a secretive charm to the area. The ruins look quite gloomy, but no tourist feels down or depressed here. Local temples look very different from the usual buildings. They are nothing similar to oriental temples and western churches.
To admire a panorama of Bagan and enjoy some striking views, head to the viewing platform. It is hard to control excitement right from the moment when you start climbing up. While going up on sunlit steps, you will feel how tender sun embraces you. Having reached the top, you will have an opportunity to fly over the ancient city in a hot air balloon.
During the period of prosperity of the Pagan Kingdom, almost 4,500 Buddhist stupas, temples, and monasteries appeared in the Bagan plains. Many of them were destroyed, but it is still possible to see more than 3,800 of them. Moreover, some temples are in great condition. No wonder why Bagan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, tourists can see numerous stupas, the local name for pagodas or chedi. Perhaps, the Shwezigon Pagoda is the most notable temple in Bagan. This is a giant building with a golden cupola. The height of this stupa is 99 meters. Near the temple, there are smaller buildings that are older than the city. The Sulamani Temple was built in 1181. This building is a fabulous example of early and medieval Burmese architecture. The first style is reflected in flat horizontal objects. The second architectural style is clearly visible in vertical elements. This combination of details adds uniqueness to the building and makes the Sulamani Temple a must-see attraction for all tourists who visit Bagan. The inner décor is an elegant blend of carved ledges, attics, and walls with paintings. Talented craftsmen could restore the inner décor of the building, so tourists can see the exact temple that masters created centuries ago.
Not all countries have a direct connection to Myanmar. It may be easier to fly to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore first and then take a flight to Yangon. It is easy to reach Bagan from Yangon. Tourists, who don’t want to make airplane rides, can reach Myanmar by land from Thailand. In this case, they will need to get a short-term Thai visa as well. There are regular bus rides from Yangon to Bagan. Mandalay also offers ship rides to Bagan, but the time in transit will be longer in this case – up to 12 hours.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Bagan and surroundings

Sights around Bagan from our guide 'Extreme places on Earth'

Taung Kalat

From the series “The Most Remote Monasteries and Temples in the World”
Originally, the staircase was roofed-in, but eventually the old roof has dilapidated and today some areas are completely open. The only thing that can save from falling into the abyss is fragile wooden railing. Another dangerous feature is a huge number of monkeys running around. Thus, you will need a lot of patience and caution to overcome the cherished 777 steps. Since ancient times, locals considered Taung Kalat mountain to be the sacred place and an abode of spirits, which were revered on par with Buddha. Most pilgrims visit the monastery during the festival of the full moon, Nayon. This religious festival is celebrated twice a year. … Read further

Sightseeing in Myanmar-Burma: things to see

Mandalay is famous as the cultural center of the country. If you like exploring historic landmarks, you should definitely include a visit to this city in your plan. In this city, there are more than 700 beautiful pagodas built in different periods of time. The ancient royal city of Amarapura in the township of Mandalay has been transformed into a monastery. The Mahamuni Buddha Temple is located nearby. This is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over the world. In this temple, there is a unique statue of Buddha. According to one legend, Shakyamuni Buddha himself was present in the temple when the statue was built. … Open
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Sightseeing in regions nearby Bagan

All about Bagan, Myanmar-Burma - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with OrangeSmile.com - find out the 'must see' things in Bagan, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Bagan in few days.
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