Explore the Beauty of Bagan in Magical Myanmar

An ancient city of magnificent temples across a vast lush landscape, Myanmar's crown jewel, Bagan is known for its breathtaking sunrises, sunsets and epic scenery. Let yourself be enchanted by its epic views and endless opportunities to explore centuries old temples.

By: Adrien Patané
November 29, 2016

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There truly is something magical about sitting perched on the side of an ancient temple waiting for the sun to slowly dip below the mountains flanking the lush plains and temples of Bagan. Photographers and travelers alike flock to this wonderful part of Southeast Asia for its scenic and cultural attractions as well as being an active religious site.

The towering Thatbyinnyu Temple in the distance

The Bagan Archaeological Zone covers 40 square miles and is dotted with over 2,200 temples remaining from its peak of over 10,000 in the 13th century, once the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Myanmar (Burma). It's a spectacular place to visit allowing solo exploring of the region and temples.

The twin golden Buddhas in the interior of the mighty Dhammayangyi Temple

North Guni Temple lit by candlelight

Whilst there are some temples that dwarf others such as the mighty Dhammayangyi Temple, each have their own character and many allow exploring of their inner chambers. Some of the lesser visited temples to seek during sunrise and sunset are the Bluedi and North Guni, primarily due to their vistas and unique viewpoints. The towering Shwesandaw Temple is by far one of the most popular and if you don't mind crowds, is worth visiting for at least one sunrise or sunset - just bear in mind you certainly won't be alone.

Golden sunrays bathing the temples of Bagan

The best way to see this stunning landscape is by bicycle allowing you to navigate its labyrinthine of soft sandy roads and paths connecting many of the temples. Bikes can be rented (including electric) from many places spread across the ancient city, with Old Bagan being a personal favorite, it's a great base to explore the surrounding temples with a number of restaurants scattered about too (The Moon being a quirky vegetarian favorite).

Morning mist dissipating over the plains

Staying in Old Bagan allows you fast access to the temples for early morning wanderings and of course the best light for photography.  The mornings in Bagan are especially beautiful and peaceful, it's a wonderful time to explore without the chaos and heat of the day.

Early morning sun and temples

If you can work it, the best way to truly see the entire plains of Bagan is by hot air balloon. From above you can really see the breadth and scope of this once magnificent city.

Unique perspectives in Bagan

Bagan is known for its epic sunrises and sunsets; time it right and you absolutely won't be disappointed. Just be sure to pick your location early and relax. You definitely can find solitude and beauty if you seek it here - it's all part of the adventure and without a doubt one of the most picturesque locations on the planet.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.