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Bagan has known the richest archeological site in Asia which has four million of Pagodas. Bagan was the capital of first Myanmar Empire founded by King Anawratha (1044-1077 AD). Bagan is situated 196km (125 miles) and laid on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. South of Mandalay, the most of these well-preserved shrines show a rich architectural heritage form the 11st to 13th century Era. When Shin Arahan (the mission monk from Thatlon) help Myanmar to become the religious center of Buddhism.. Bagan is the richest site in Asia and it’s famous for more than 3200 religious monuments spreading in 47 sq km. Bagan can be compatable with Angkor Watt of Cambodia and Borobudur of Indonesia. The interiors of the pagoda and Stupas were mural painted the life of Buddha and that are very complicated. Bagan has so many scenes that impress visitor’s memories forever. Time, people and nature, particularly earthquakes have taken their precious heritages but the most important monuments have been restored like their original grandeur.
In 1975, a strong earthquake destroyed many smaller temples. Even a number of large and massively built temples and pagodas were harmed among four million of pagodas and only have 2500 remain today. Bagan is enjoys world-wide renown of the ancient pagodas, temple and other religious building around it. The buildings have many ruins constitute of the architectural wonders of the world. Visitors could get the unforgettable experience in lifetime while walking between ruins and temples in Bagan. The sun set or panoramic view from the top of the temples was memorable and fantastic. The technologically daring, exquisite in execution of temples in Bagan are rarely witnessed anywhere else in the world.
Bagan's peak time coincided with Myanmar's architectural peak time in 1044 with King Anawratha's ascension to the throne are occurred in the same time. In 1056, a Mon monk, Shin Arahan, he went to ear against the Mon town of Thaton to gain possession of holy Buddhist scripts, the Tripitaka after one year King Anawratha’s conversion to Buddhism. The holy Buddhist scripts were not the only trophies gained from war the Burmese army took some 30,000 Mons prisoners of war to Bagan. Among them numerous craftsmen and artisans, who in following decades not only enriched, but even determined, Bagan's culture. In 1287 hordes of Mongolian horsemen under Kublai Khan conquered Bagan.
While travel by flight, it talks about one hour and twenty minutes to fly from Yangon to Bagan. There have daily flights to Bagan from Yangon, Mandalay and Heho. By coach or car, it takes about 16 hours from Yangon and about 8 hours from Mandalay. There is also a double-decker steamer service between Mandalay and Bagan and the cruises " the Road to Mandalay" operated by RV Pandaw, and Irrawaddy Princess E & O Express.
Hotels in Bagan
Restaurants in Bagan
The Tharaba Gateway was locted on the east side of the palace. It was used as the main gate to the city. The gateway was built by King Pyin Pyar Min (A.D 845-879) during the 9th century. The King Pyin Pyar Min built the fortress of Bagan with 12gateways. The meaning of the “Tharaba” is “The Gate which can prevent the arrows of the enemy”. On each side of the gate, there have spirits guards of Min Maha Giri (the brother) and Namadaw (the sister). They were brutally killed by the king lest the mighty brother would become a rival to the throne. The images are still kept in the gate shrines and given respect by the people of Bagan and the neighboring area.
Ananda temple is the great land mark of Bagan civilization. It was built by King Kyansitta in 1091 and it was one of the largest, best preserved, finest and revered of the Bagan temples. There are four huge Buddha images in standing position, facing in four different directions and a series of eighty relieves depicting the early stages of the Buddha's life from the Birth to His Enlightenment. Facing outward from the centre of the cube, you can see Bagan-style four standing Buddha images. Facing north and south are original images and the other two images are replacements. This Temple is the "mother of all temples" in Bagan, containing representative works of all the arts, architecture, glazed plaques, woodcarvings, stucco, terra cotta and stone sculptures found in all Myanmar temples.
Ananda Okkyaung Monastery was called Brick Monastery. It was situated in the compound of Ananda Temple. The inside wall of Okkyaung monastery were covered in 18th century painting depicting Buddha’s life and elements.
That Binn Nyu temple is the highest temple in Baga. It is the brick masonry and was built by King Alaungsithu around the 12th century. The structure contained of two huge cubes; the lower one merges into the upper with three diminishing terrace from which a sikhara rises. The centre of the lower cube is solid, serving as a foundation for the upper temple which is house and easterly direction of Buddha figure. There are two tires windows in each storey. Huge arches with flamboyant pediments, making the interior bright and allowing a breeze to flow through. >Monks were stayed in the first two stories of this great temple. The third level has housed images and the fourth level was a library. At the top was a stupa containing holy relic narrow internal stairway leads to the three upper-most terraces.
Nat Hlaung Kyaung
Nat Hlaung Kyaung was situated west of Thatbyinnyu and inside the temple, there has the old city walls was the only remaining Hindu temple in Bagan. It was believed to be built during (A.D 931-964). In the early days of Bagan, people used to believe in Hinduism, and worshipped Vishu, Brahman and around the outside wall are figures of the "ten Avatars",. King Anawrahta brought Theravada Buddhism to Bagan with the conquest of Thaton, and made the Hinduism vanish. It is one of the earliest of the Bagan temples.
Nga Kywena Daung Paya
This was the Pyu type brick masonry stupa. On the external walls and each face had been carved in brick the ten misadventures of Vishnu. An emormous brick mass surrounded classically bricks that decorated at the center of the temple.
Shwe Gu Gyi Temple
The Shwe Gu Gyi Temple was built by Kin Alaungsithu in 1132 AD. The pilasters, arch-pediments, cornice and plinth molding are decorated with fine stucco carvings, evident of Myanmar architecture of the early 12th Century. It is famous for the last day of a great king who was a noted sea traveler. When he was seriously ill, his son quickly removed him from the golden palace to this temple. The dying king, on his death bed, miraculously regained consciousness.But it was too late that the son immediately came down from the palace and suffocated him with a pillow. Shwegugyi has not much left to see.
Gaw Daw Palin Temple
The Gawdawpalin temple was built during the reign of Narapatisithu (1173-1212). It is one of the most elegant and courteous temples of bagan. But it was very badly damaged by the earthquake in 1975. The large eastward-facing two story temple set on low platform in the center of a wall enclosure with four gateways. It is about 60 meters high. When visitors can see fine view over the ruins of the Bagan and the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River over the temple.
Myoe Daung Monastery
The Archeological museum is located near the Gawdawpalin temple. There has a variety collection of more than 2200 items including Buddha images with different posture (Mudra) which was made of (gold, silver, bronze, tone and wood), paintings of pagodas, stucco pieces, terra-cotta cup and pots are displayed. Bagan Archeological museum is the best place to see numerous archeological items in clay, wood, and sandstone, glazed ceramic, lacquer and metal etc. The many styles of traditional hairdressing ways of Bagan women during Bagan period (1044-1287) are shown in the museum. The museum is every day open of 9 AM at 4:30PM close on Monday and gazette holidays.
Dhamma Yan Gyi Temple
Dhamma Yan Gyi Temple was built by King Narathu(1167-70) who also known as Kalagya Min means “ The King was killed by Indians”. The temple is the best temple in Bagan and the design similar to the Ananda temple but loss of delicate. There has four extraordinary temples in Bagan, among them Dhammayangyi temple is well known for the mass and thickness of the temple. The masonry work of this temple so remarkable that even a needle cannot penetrate between two bricks of that temple. The Dhamma Yan Gyi temple is said to rank as the finest in Bagan because of the interlocking, mortar-less brickwork on the upper terraces. The temple has six terraces and the main structure was the plan of a pyramidal shape. The highest terraces and hidden stairways leading to them are now off limits to visitors.
Bupaya stand on the bank of Irrawady River and it is a clearly visible landmark for travelers along the river. The cylindrical Pyu style stupa is said to be the oldest pagoda in Bagan and built around 3rd ceutury AD. The Pagoda was tumbled into the river in 1975 earthquake but now has been rebuilt completely like the original structure. This pagoda is gourd fruit shape and favorite spot for visitors to watch the sunset.
Sulamani Temple is one of the attractions and destinations in Bagan and the name of the temple means Crowning Jewel or Small Ruby. The temple was built by King “Narhapati-Sithu” in 1183. Sulamani Temple was the first and most architecture temple in Bagan. The temple is similar to Htilominlo and the Gawdawpalin in structure but Sulamani temple was better interior lighting. The feature of the temple includes tine brickwork and uses the stone in both load-bearing areas are vulnerable external corner elements that painted with fines watercolor type of painting and that are still can be seen today. The external walls are decorated buy stucco and pilaster and glazed lotus flower of green and yellow colors. The temple is like cave and massive in structure and Superb architectural works of art was decorated at entrance.
Mingalar Zedi Pagoda
Mingalar Zedi Pagoda was built by King Narathihapatae in 1256-1287. The pagoda is the ultimate pagoda of the Bagan dynasty. In Myanmar language “MingalarZedi” means “Auspicious Pagoda”. When the pagoda was in progress there was a bad news or prophecy that is “when the pagoda is completed the kingdom will be ended” thus why the King stopped all the construction for pagoda but lately, the King understand “nothing is stable” so he had to continue for Pagoda. Ten years later, the King was run away from Bagan because of colonize by Mongols.
Shwe San Daw Pagoda
The ShweSanTaw Pagoda was built by King “Anawrahta” in 1057. ”ShweSanTaw” is the same meaning with “Golden Hair of the Buddha” in Myanmar language. it was brought from Thaton. There have five terraces to the stupa top. This pagoda is the Bagan’s most famous to viewing sunset at the top of the five terraces. This pagoda is interesting for the fine wall paintings of scenes from the Jataka. The dome of the pagoda is really impressing to visitors which are decorated with glazed plaques. The corner of the terrace has a Hindu statue which is known as “Mahapeine”. This pagoda is the first monument in Bagan because of the base of the pagoda is square shape and the top of the pagoda is round shape. The “Hti” was hit by earthquake and lying on the ground in pagoda compound. For the visitors to see the sunset view of the Bagan is very unique and wonderful at ShweSanTaw Pagoda.
GuByaukGyi Temple (Myinkaba)
GuByaukKyi Temple is located at the Myinkaba district. This temple was built in A.D 1113 by King Kyansitthar and Queen Thanbula’s son Razakumara. When the King Kyansittha is not well health the King Razakumara made a golden Buddha and donated for his father. This is Indian style temple which is built with large shrine. This temple is very famous for its wall painting designs, which is covering the wall of entrance, passageway and the sanctum. This is early period temple but still well maintain to the inside of temple. The visitors can see the wall painting about the life stories of Buddha. The visitors can also learn the cultural, life style and traditions during Bagan dynasty from these wall paintings.
The Htilominlo Temple is the one of the last and largest temple in Bagan. It was built by King Nandaungmyar (Htilominlo) in A.D 1211-1230. It is located in Nyaung U and Wetkyi In district of Bagan. Among the five sons, the King Nandaungmyar was observed to choosen as a crown prince by the King Narapati Sithu. In Mon language “Htilominlo” means “Blessing of the three worlds”. Outside of the temple decorated with fine plaster carving and glazed sandstone. Inside, the temple high is 46 meter. This temple design is a little similar with Sulamini Temple. This temple is two story building and there are four Buddha image upper and lower floors. The quality of architect is really good, who he was designed with rare and unique technique.
The name of the Dhammayazika Pagoda means in pali language “pertaining the King of Law”. This pagoda was built by King Narapati Sithu in 1198. It is located in Phwar Saw village, southern part of Bagan. This pagoda is looks alike with Shwezigone pagoda. The pagoda has the three terraces but this is not the same with others square terrace its pentagonal shape. At this place decorated with glazed Jataka plaques. There is a small Buddha image temple each side of the pagoda. In 1197 the King Narapati Sithu received the four Buddha image from Sri Lanka and built the pagoda.
The King Anawrahta was starting built this pagoda but it is not completed, the King Kyansittha was built in 1084. The Shwezigone Pagoda is the one of the most attractive pagoda among the others sour famous pagoda. The pagoda is located between Wetkyi In and Nyaung U region. The King Kyansittha thought to build his palace near the Pagoda. The King Anawrahta brought the Buddha’s tooth replica and collar bones from srikhitra( pyu capital near pyay)and brought to Bagan with white elephant. At that time the king wished he will build the pagoda where the white elephant knelt down place. It is built with sandstones which is get from “Tu Ywin Taung” This pagoda is bell shape and oldest pagoda in Bagan. This pagoda’s festival celebrates from late October and early November. During the festival, full moon day of Tasaungmone, a rice offering always have been made no one come to pagoda early morning.
Refer to history, the pagoda was built by non historical King Taungthugyi, some archeologist said that built was King Sawlu because of the wall paintings. The temple is similar with Mon style inside but temple was reconstructed by King Kyansittha in 1113. the building is looks like “Pyu” style. The window was built by stone and there have lotus bud sikhara.
The name of the pagoda is same meaning with the “three same size pagoda”. The height, appearance and size are same. This monument has been built in 13th century. In high season the visitors need to appointment to inspection. Usually the pagoda is open for group tours.
This temple is erected by King Nandaungmya, the Mahabodhi temple is the same name with Bodhgaya in India. The high is 140 feet and two story building. All are built with brick. And the design is square shape and pyramidal tower. At the top of the pagoda have the spire and umbrella. Inside the temple the visitors can see beautiful stuccos figures with birds and nats.
Pitakat Taik means the library for the Buddha’s prophesied and scriptures. It was built in 1058 and repaired in 1738. It is square building and stone windows are notable for visitors.
This temple was built by King Kyansittha in A.D 1102-1103. The most attraction are still exist in this temple these are inner wall paintings. Inside the temple has large brick seated Buddha image. At the north entrance the wall are presenting with painted pictures 550 jatakas.
Tantkyi Taung or Tantkyi Hill
It is located on the western side of the Ayeyarwaddy River the other side of Bagan. At the Tantkyi hill has the lying Buddha image and the pagoda is well maintained. The visitors need to take about half a day to visit this place. The Tantkyi Taung wasl built during A.D 1059 by King Anarawhta.
This pagoda was built by King Anawrahta during his reign in 1059. This pagoda is located near the eastern Ayeyarwaddy river. There have three octagonal terraces among them two of the terraces are connected with short staircase. This pagoda is enshrined in Buddha tooth relic in Bagan. The Ayeryarwaddy river side and sunset view are the unforgettable memory for visitors.
This pagoda is located from the south part of the Bagan. The King Manuha was built in A.D 1067. This name of the temple is given by King Manuha’s name. Ancient time in Bagan all of the Kings, Queens, Prince and princess built pagodas anysize thus why King Manuha also want to built a temple but he don’t have money so he sold his Manaw Maya jewel to rich people from Myinkaba village and built this large seated Buddha image. There is an also huge and 90 foot long. In 1975 the pagoda was hit by earthquake and collapsed the central roof and badly damage to the pagoda and repaired the pagoda since there.
Nan Phaya Temple
Nan Phaya temple was built in 12th century and King Narapati Sithu’s Son-In-Law. This temple is rare and unique style among the temples it was built with sandstone and brick. This pagoda is situated south of the Manuha Temple. The pagoda which is built with sandstone has only four pagodas there are Shwezigone, Kyauk Ku U Min, Sek Ku Taik and the other one is Nan Phaya Temple. The structure of this pagoda is really unique. This inner wall is built with baked brick and the outer wall is built with sandstones. This pagoda’s design is similar with Hindu style. This temple is an example of workmanship from the early Bagan period.
Nyaung U Market is located in Nyaung U village, Bagan. It is nearly with the famous of Pagoda Shwezigon Temple. This is the local market to the northeast of Bagan. It is one of the tourist sites in Bagan. You have a chance to take a great photo and also you can meet and greet with local people how their daily work is. The market separate with two parts for dry market and wet market. In Market, selling product are rattan, green tea leaves, cotton cloth, other cloth and Myanmar delicious food.
Mt.Popa, a 1,500 meter extinct volcano, about 60 km south east of Bagan is home of Myanmar’s “nats”- a collection of 37 supernatural begins. Mt.Popa considered the residence of most powerful Nats (spirit) and the most important Nat worship center and is a primacy pilgrimage destination. Twice yearly, thousands of people will assemble here to attend the nats festival to honor these spirits. It can be done day return trip from Bagan. It is well-known as the oasis of the central Myanmar dry zone.
One of the ancient and richest Myanmar cultural towns is Salay. Drving range from Salay to Bagan is takes only 20 miles (15 kilometers) to the south. Salay is located in Magwe division of central Myanmar. It is lying on the east bank of Ayeyarwaddy River. Salay have hundred ruins of pagoda like Bagan but the design, archeologists and history of pagoda are not similar with Bagan. In Salay, the visitors can visit to plentiful of ancient monasteries where can be seen very graceful woodcarvings monasteries and colonial style buildings. By seeing this decorating the visitors can know the miracle art work of Myanmar.
Sale Yoke Sone Kyaung
In Salay one of the tourists attraction place is the Sale Yoke Sone Kyaung. The monastery is the oldest wooden monastery in Salay and most beautiful ones in Myanmar. This monastery is built with all teak and splendid carvings featuring with traditional. Its also has many collection of Buddha statues made with different materials like wood, silver, bronze and palm leave scripts.
U Pone Nya Museum
The U Pone Nya Museum also included in popular place of Salay it is decorated with antique lacquer wares and wooden relief. The King Mindon was donated this monastery in 1879 and has many original poem writings of poet U Pon Nya in late Konbaung period. The poet U Pon Nya is very popular in legend his poem are really precious and valuable for Myanmar. He was famous in Salay thus why people called “Salay U Pon Nya”. The huge sitting post Buddha image also made with lacquer. This Buddha image is also known as Yun Phaya.