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Bagan is an incredible archaeological area of over 2,000 pagodas and temples covering 100km2, and for many it's the iconic landscape that springs to mind when you think of Burma. This rural land of 11th century pagodas is a world away from the hustle and bustle of urban Burma - so much so that some of the surrounding villages have only just welcomed electricity.
Why we think you’ll love it
- This is the largest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas and stupas in the world, dating back to the 11th century
- Bagan has not grown into a bustling town, and there is nothing in the way of nightclubs and bars - and we hope it stays that way
- The best way to explore the criss-cross network of dirt roads between the temples is by bicycle, or good old fashioned horse and cart
- Bagan is one of the most iconic landscapes to enjoy a hot air balloon ride; a brilliant way to get a different perspective of this beautiful expanse
From the gallery
Visiting Bagan: the Detail
The rulers of the era constructed thousands of huge stupas and temples, many of which are still standing today on the banks of the Irrawaddy River and best viewed from Tayokye Pyay, an elevated temple with a magnificent view of the plains. Nearby is Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.
Explore Bagan with a local guide who will explain the significance of the various shapes and construction techniques of the temples, exploring by bicycle, electric bike or horse and cart. Most are brilliantly preserved or restored by Unesco giving you a chance to discover beautiful frescoes and carvings as well as myriad Buddha statues of all sizes and poses.
Perhaps break the day with a teashop stop for a cup or two of cho seh; black tea sweetened with condensed milk and sugar (yes, both). This is the ultimate gossip and people-watching spot of the locals and no trip to Burma would be complete without taking part in this ritual.
Be sure to get up to one of the elevated temples to watch the sunset. Being such a large flat expanse, even the slightest elevated position gives the most magnificent panoramic views - any photographer's dream - and if hot air ballooning is on your bucket list, this is without a doubt the place to do it.