Literally! No need to unearth this city. Figuratively! Yes, it is from my point of view. Bagan, Myanmar it’s not as popular compared to other ASEAN cities. But she has hidden beauty that needs to be discovered. The temples of Bagan were dubbed as the land of thousand temples and the Machu Pichu of Southeast Asia.
Bagan is located in the Central Part of Myanmar. It is a 9-hour bus trip from Yangon. It was the ancient capital city of Myanmar from 9th to 13th centuries, the city was also the hub of the Theravada Buddhism during those times. Many scholars and monks all the way from India and Sri Lanka came to study. The kingdom ceased due to the invasion of the Mongols.
Majestic! If I were to describe Bagan in one word. Majestic in the sense that the over 2000 small and big temples, pagodas, shrine and stupas of different shapes and designs were widely spread across 16 square miles in the Central Myanmar. According to the locals during the height of the kingdom, there were 10,000 temples, shrines, monasteries, and stupas were built across the plains of Bagan.
Presently, only 2000 temples survived by the earthquakes and destroyed by the foreign invaders. The moment you sojourned in this city it seems that you were brought in the ancient times. I need to pinch myself to prove that I was not dreaming. You can’t walk a few feet without seeing temples.
A must try in Bagan
Visit the significant temples
It is a gigantic task to explore the 2000 temples. Most travelers and blogs suggested to avail the whole day tour of the prominent temples. The tour agency knows where the location of these temples. The guide can give information about each temple and what makes them stand out from the rest.
If you are an art enthusiast, the ancient mural paintings inside the temples will blow you away. The locations of the temples are far from each other. I discourage to do this on your own. The Old Bagan area, where the temples located in a walled city. The roads are like a labyrinth, difficult to remember, and temples resemble each other.
You can explore these temples by horse cart, which is a bumpy ride at the same time you must brave the dust and it is quite slow. I chose the van which is faster and I make most of my time visiting the temples.
Get lost in Bagan!
After I explored the significant temples on the first day. I and my friends decided to wander the walled city. We rent a bicycle in the New Bagan (most of the hotels are located here). We started pedaling our bicycle around 8 in the morning.
While traversing the road from New Bagan to Old Bagan, You can observe the changes of the atmosphere from modern to ancient surroundings. I had this feeling of having a backward time travel. The moment I entered the Old Bagan wall where time stands still. The benefits of biking in Bagan is you can reach the off the beaten track of Old Bagan.
The picturesque sunset
Do not miss the sunset on the top of the temple. The travel agency brought us to this temple that has the most panoramic view of the sunset according to them. The sunset lives to its promise. A breathtaking scene when the sun hid below the horizon, its rays sliced the clouds and hovered the ancient temples. This spectacular view really penetrated in my mind and I keep on reminiscing it.
Shop at the local market
Burmese is also known for their artistic handicraft. The lacquerware is the pride of Bagan. It is highly recommended as a souvenir item.
Bagan, Myanmar should be included in your bucket list as a place to visit. Now is the best time to visit this place. Before urbanization consumes her. If you do not want to appreciate her for what is it than what it was.