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.