Portracit of Bagan

Bagan lies on the left bank of the Ayeyarwady River in the central part of Myanmar. Bagan was founded in 109 AD. The city was named as Arimaddara Pura by King Pyusawhti, the third successor. The present site of Bagan was chosen by King Pyinbya in 860 AD. Having 55 rulers and passing through the period of 1261 years. The ruins of the city of Bagan cover an area of 42km2 containing about 3000 edifices. It is popularly known to visitors as the city of four million pagodas in the richest archaeological site in Asia.

The majority of these well-preserved shrines offer a rich architectural heritage from the 11th to 13th century era. It was also the capital of the First Myanmar Empire. This enchanting city is situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady River, about 193 km south of Mandalay. It takes about one hour and twenty minutes to fly from Yangon to Bagan. There are daily flights to Bagan from Yangon, and regular flights from Mandalay, which takes only 20 minutes. By overland, it takes 12 hours from Yangon and 7 hours from Mandalay by coach. Express trains from Yangon to Mandalay stop at Tharzi, from where it is accessible to Bagan by a 3-hour drive. There is also a double-decker steamer service between Mandalay and Bagan and the cruises “the Road to Mandalay” operated by E & O Express, RV Pandaw, and Irrawaddy Princess & others.

Ananda Pagoda

Ananda Pagoda is estimated to be a monument of the early 12th Century is built by King Kyansitthar in 1090 of the early Bagan Period. It is the masterpiece of early style temple architecture. There are four huge Buddha images in the standing position at the four faces and a series of eighty reliefs depicting the life of Buddha. It is a felicitous and harmonious blending of the best Myanmar, Mon and Indian architectural styles of the ancient days.

Shwezigon Pagoda

It is a Buddhist temple located in Nyaung-U built by King Anawrahta, founder of the first Myanmar Empire and completed by King Kyansittha in 1084. Shwezigon was held in special reverence by successive kings and became the prototype for later Myanmar pagodas. There are three pagoda terraces and around them are many scenes from the previous lives of Buddha. At another corner of the platform, there are spiritual figures, collected and ordered to be kept in a shed eternally by King Anawrahta.

Shwegugyi Temple

Literally meaning “Great Golden Cave” is built by King Alaungsithu in 1131. This temple has not much left to see but historically this dark little temple is famous for the last day of a great king who was a noted sea traveller. Visitors can study its fine stucco carvings and two stone slabs written in Pali in the inner wall that tell its history.

Thatbyinnyu Temple

It is famous for its beautiful, grandeur and sophisticated architecture which is over 66 meters high. It is built by King Alaungsithu, in the middle of 12th century, overtops all other monuments and its terrace affords visitors a magnificent panoramic view of the Bagan plain.

Myinkaba Pagoda

Myinkaba which is also known as Gu Byauk Gyi Pagoda is about two miles south of the walled Bagan capital city and it was the place where the captive Mon King, Manuha and his family were kept by King Anawrahta, after the conquest of the Mon capital Thaton in Southern Myanmar. By all accounts both legendary and historical, the Mon King was not kept enchained but allowed to live in comfort and some styles with a palace of his own, and retainers to wait on him. Later King Anawrahta became fearful because whenever Manuha came to see him, radiance issued from the Mon King’s mouth every time he spoke. King Anawrahta restored to a stratagem to demean Manuha’s glory, by giving him food that had already been offered at the pagoda. After taking this food, Manuha’s radiance vanished.

Gubyaukgyi Temple (Wet Kyi Inn)

This temple is built in early 13th century with a spire resembling the Maha Bodhi temple at Buddhagaya. This temple is known for its wall paintings depicting scenes from the jatakas.

Pitaka Taik

After the conquest of Thaton, in 1058, King Anawrahta carted off 30 elephant-loads of Buddhist scriptures and built this library to house them in this square building which is notable for the perforated stone windows and the plaster carvings on the roof in imitation of the Myanmar woodcarvings.

Sulamani Temple

Sulamani meaning “Crowning Jewel”Like the Htilominlo and the Gawdawpalin this is a prime example of later, more sophisticated temple style, with better internal lighting. It stands beyond the Dhammayangyi Temple and was built in 1183 by King Narapati sithu. The interior was once painted with fine frescoes but only traces can be seen today.

Nathlaung Kyaung

Located slightly to the west of Thatbyinnyu, this is the only Hindu temple remaining in Bagan. Literally meaning “shrine confining the spirits” King Taungthugyi built in AD 931; this was about a century before the southern school of Buddhism came to Bagan following the conquest of Thaton. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and around the outside wall are figures of the “ten Avatars”, Gautama Buddha was said to be the ninth. The central brick pillar supports the dome and crumbled Sikhara and once had figures of Vishnu on each of the four sides. Indian settlers in Bagan, possibly the skilled workers brought to construct other temples, may have built the temple.

Gawdawpalin Temple

Being one of the largest, second tallest and most imposing of the Bagan temples, Gawdawpalin was built during the reign of Narpatisithu (1174-1211) but was very badly damaged by the earthquake in 1975. The reconstruction was started in early 1979. The building plan is somewhat similar to Thatbyinnyu Temple. The top of the stupa, before it fells, reached 55 meters (180 feet) high. The top terrace is still an excellent place to view the sun setting over the Ayeyarwaddy River.

Pahtothamya Temple

In this same temple crowded central area, Pahtothamya was probably built during the reign of Kyanzittha (1084-1113). The interior of this single storey building is dimly lit, typical of this early type of Mon-influenced temple with its small, perforated stone windows. A Pyu-style temple with lotus-bud sikhara.

Bupaya Pagoda

The most beautiful view of the nature of Ayeyarwady River at dawn and sunset can be viewed from this cylindrical Pyu-style stupa. Located on the right side of the bank of Ayeyarwady, it is said to be the oldest pagoda in Bagan.

Shwesandaw Pagoda

It was King Anawrahta in early 11th century which displays a strong Mon influence with a sleep stairway directly to the terraces for a superb view from the upper level.


Similar in plan to Ananda, this temple is much more massive looking. It was built by King Narathu (1160-65). The interior of the temple is blocked by brickwork. It is the finest brickwork of Bagan era.

Mount Popa

Solitary Popa Mountain, towering over the surrounding landscape, can be seen from quite a distance. The remains of an ancient volcano, the mountain is an important Burmese pilgrimage site. A museum there contains 37 nats, or spirits, that are the objects of the pilgrims’ devotion. The pagodas at the summit are reached by a seemingly endless stairway (you can rest at several monkey-inhabited shrines along the way). We appreciated the cool air at the top almost as much as we enjoyed the views of the countryside below. 30mi/50km southeast of Bagan. 1500 metres the highest point within the Bago Yoma Range. To climb up 700 steep steps accompanied by a crowed of monkeys. The Popa National Park with dense sandalwood forests and rare species of birds and butterflies is worth a walk or a trek.


It is a small town about 15km south of Bagan, down the Ayeyarwaddy River. U Pone Nya Museum, formerly the Yoke Sone Monastery, exhibits antique laquerwares, wooden reliefs and a large standing gilded Buddha image. The figures carved outside the front of the building are worth seeing. Another place worth visiting is Tha-ta-na Kyaung (Keythar monastery) where Tipitaka texts are housed in a large red lacqured cabinet. Yoke Sone Monastery - the infrastructure tends to be a blend between monastic & residential architecture - 152 feet lengthwise & 76 feet breadth wise.

Inle Lake

Inle Lake is situated in the hilly Shan State in the eastern part of Myanmar. With an elevation of 900 meters above sea-level, it is one of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar. The lake, 22 km long and 10 km wide, has a population of some 150,000, many of whom live on floating islands of vegetation. Inle Lake, natural and unpolluted, is famous for its scenic beauty and the unique leg-rowing of the Inthas, the native lake-dwellers. Moreover, floating villages, colorful daily floating market and Inle Spa are places worthy to visit. The festival of Phaung-daw-Oo Pagoda in Inle Lake held during October is full of pageantry and colorful splendor.

The most convenient way is to fly from Yangon to Heho, which is the nearest airport to the lake. There are daily flights to Heho which take about an hour. If you are flying from Mandalay to Heho, it takes only 20 minutes. Traveling by car along the uphill and winding road over the Shan Plateau is interesting and well-worth taking although it takes long hours. There is also a regular train service via Thazi Junction to Heho and Shwenyaung, the nearest station to the lake.

Heya Ywama

The largest village on the Inlay Lake; its streets are a web of canals. There is some beautiful teak houses built on large wooden poles driven into the Lakebed. The main activity and attraction is at the floating market in the largest canal.

Hpaung Daw U Pagoda

One of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar, this pagoda houses five small Buddha images. Once a year, at the end of September and early October, there is a pagoda festival during which the five Buddha images are rowed around the Lake in a colourful barge.


Taunggyi, over 1,436 meters above sea-level, is the capital of Shan State in the eastern part of Myanmar. A hill station known for its scenic beauty, Taunggyi is cool and pleasant all the year round. The market on every fifth day is crowded with ethnic minorities in their traditional dresses. The journey from Taunggyi down to Inle Lake area takes about an hour.


Kalaw is a hill town in the Shan State of Burma. It is located in Kalaw Township in Taunggyi District. Kalaw, another hill station as well as peaceful summer resort nestled in pine-clad mountains, is 1320 meters above sea-level. It is located 70 km west of Taunggyi. Many of the Tudor-style houses and English gardens of colonial days remain.

In the neighborhood lies villages of Palaung and other hill tribes who come to Kalaw market held every five days in their colorful costumes, adding to the quiet attraction of Kalaw. For Trekking to the Palaung Village about 17 km where you can see the tea plantations on the slope of the hill, long house with several families living together, traditional ways of life and beautiful panoramic view.

Pindaya Cave

Pindaya is located in the hills of Shan State, is situated on a limestone ridge in Myelat region and is a quiet and peaceful town. The cave is noted for its 9000 Buddha statues in various sizes and materials in every imaginable corner of these mysterious caves. Old and big Banyan Jackfruit tree with their peculiar stems and branches are the beauties of the town.


Kakku, situated in southern Shan state has lately become one of the most visited places near Mway Taw Village, is situated near Mway Taw Village. These Kakku pagodas have two distinct architectural presentations, one being designed as the “Yun” collection of pagodas. The architecture has distinctive tapering spires. The second presentation reflected Myanmar design. There are approximately about 2548 pagodas seen here, the numbers increased through the length of time raising the aura and also enhancing the architectural kaleidoscope.