Best Temples in Bagan
In the beginning, there were over 10000 temples in Bagan. During the years that passed, due to earthquakes, many were damaged and despite all the restorations done, the government removed a lot of them. Now, you can find in Bagan around 2000-2500 extraordinary temples and pagodas. Even with the numbers down it is still overwhelming to decide which one to see. I decided to make your life easier and make a list of the best pagodas that you can visit!
To enter the Bagan Archaeological Zone, you will have to pay an entry fee of 25000 kyats for 3 days. We were asked to show our tickets only once at Ananda temple. I have no idea if you can not purchase a ticket, for us, the taxi driver stopped at a ticket counter on our way to the hotel and didn’t have a choice to purchase the ticket or not.
Tip: getting around the area where all the temples are, is best done by electronic scooters (e-bikes) that you can rent for the day. Just keep an eye on the battery level during the day – our battery died in the first day :)). There are also bicycles to rent but keep in mind that it gets quite hot during the day. You will not want to melt during the day, also the paths are mainly just sand so pedaling is quite difficult.
Here is my guide for you to visit the best temples in Bagan in a day or two!
While you’re planning your time in Bagan, make sure to read my 10 Days in Myanmar itinerary before you go!
I am starting with this one, as this was my favorite pagoda. It is crazy when you think that this is one of the first temples built and it is so well preserved. The look of it is quite different from the other temples and pagodas making it quite impressive and unique. Ananda Temple is considered Bagan’s holiest temple and is also known as the “Westminster Abbey” of Burma.
If you’re visiting in the end of December to early January, there is a big festival here. You will see lots of people there, local entertainment and ceremonies.
Read more: Best Time to Visit Myanmar
Dhamma Yan Gyi Temple
This temple has quite a story behind it. Dhamma Yan Gyi Temple was supposed to be the highest in Bagan but it is not finished. Locals believe that the temple is haunted as it was built by a tyrant king who killed his own father, brother, queen and countless slaves. Even unfinished it is one of the most impressive temples I visited!
This is one of the most popular pagodas to visit. While we were there, the stairs were blocked with woods in order for people not to climb it anymore, and couldn’t get a picture of it that would do justice to its beauty. I really hope they removed them now as it was ruining the beauty of the pagoda!
This one I left it titled Temple X cause I have no idea what’s called. We found it while we were biking around Bagan. Right now I am looking at Google Maps, trying to let you know the easiest way to find it. We started at Saytana Gyi Temple. From there we took the road to the right and followed it a little bit, maximum 5 minutes, and you will see this medium-size temple on your right side. You have to make right on a smaller road to reach the entrance of it. I know it sounds difficult but I found more beautiful and interesting these unnamed temples.
If at temple X I could look on the map and let you know a little bit how to find it, at this one I am lost for words. I was lost when I found it to be honest, so I wouldn’t know from where to begin. Wait, I am lying. The last temple visited before this one was Sin Phyu Shin Temple. From there, instead of making right on the “main” road we took the smaller road to the left and kept driving until we found this one. Maybe we got a wrong road cause at one point our bike was driving on fields instead of roads!
Three more temples that make the list is Sulamani Temple, Htilominlo Temple and Thatbyinnyu. All of them are gorgeous, despite suffering serious damages during earthquakes.
I am aware that there are many more temples to put on this list, but these are my favorite ones. Hopefully, you are more prepared now to adventure into the endless sea of Bagan temples!
My last piece of advice is to just take a second to cherish the place you are seeing, being fully present as you don’t know what tomorrow will bring!
UPDATE 2020: Bagan area is an UNESCO site and now all pagodas are closed for climbing to the top. Apparently there are now two viewpoint hills overlooking the most famous temples in the area which are good for viewing the sunset and sunrise.
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