Day 4: Bagan Breakfast at hotel. Bagan is the main historical site in Myanmar. We will visit the great Shwezigon Pagoda, which was donated by King Anawrahta; Ananda Pahto, which is 170 feet high, with its shimmering gold, and a symmetrical masterpiece of Mon architectural style and considered to be the most beautiful among all the temples of Bagan; Ananda Ok Kyaung: Ananda brick monastery, one of the few surviving monastery buildings from the early Bagan era. The interior of the building is lined with well-preserved murals with everyday scenes from the Bagan period; Thatbyinnyu Pahto, a famous temple built in the mid-12th century, covered in white stucco, and located at the corner of the old city wall. Then we will enjoy the stunning sunset from one of the temples. Overnight in Bagan Day 5: Bagan – Mt Popa – Bagan Breakfast at hotel. In the morning, visit the Nyaung U market and you can explore the countryside around Bagan. Then, 2 hours drive to Mt. Popa, where you will walk up the huge volcanic rock on a staircase to see shrines for nats (celestial spirits of Burmese mythology) and small temples for Lord Buddha. It will take about 20 minutes to reach the top of Mount Popa and you will pass by many small food stalls and small stalls selling herbal medicine. Return to Bagan. Just in time for another spectacular sunset. Overnight in Bagan. More photos here: - The Temples of Bagan: http://www.myanmartravelessentials.com/religious-sites-and-temples/the-temples-of-bagan/ - Sunset at The Temples of Bagan: http://www.myanmartravelessentials.com/religious-sites-and-temples/sunset-at-the-temples-of-bagan-myanmar/ - Balloons Over Bagan: http://www.myanmartravelessentials.com/religious-sites-and-temples/ballooning-over-bagan-ancient-temples-from-the-sky/
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
We headed to Shwesandaw Pagoda for sunset, to be honest we weren't sure about this one. We'd heard it was the most popular sunset spot and as a result from 4pm onwards tour buses start to roll up and it becomes very crowded. On the same note we didn't want to miss it so went anyway. Arriving around 4:30pm, it was already busy, there were a few tour buses parked up and row upon row of e-bikes and push-bikes. The climb up the side of the pagoda was very steep and the steps were very high. It was quite a struggle for little old me and my short legs. Luckily there's metal railings both sides to help drag yourself up the steps. Tourists positioning cameras and tripods crowded into the top two or three terraces. Several perched precariously on the walls, dangling their legs over the side. They were all trying to get the perfect sunset shot. Once at the top we could see why it was so popular. The views were spectacular, on a par with, if not better than the views from Bagan Viewing Tower the day before.
Next is the Ananda Temple is titled the "Westminster Abbey of Burma" and displays a fusion of Mon and Indian type of architecture. This temple is the main attraction in Bagan. Ananda Temple is like a museum. You can study all kinds of Myanmar arts here — architecture, stone sculpture, stucco, glazed plaques, terra cotta, wood carving, artwork of blacksmith etc. After this, we proceeded to the Myinkaba village to buy local handicrafts made by artists. then followed a visit to the Manuha temple, built in the 11th century in Mon style by King Manuha and the Nanpaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument which according to legends used to be palace site of the King Manuha.
This hotel was perfect for us while we toured around Bagan. Nice staff, decent breakfast, clean rooms, quick internet, and a salt water pool. It was within walking distance to new Bagan restaurants. Biking from here to the temples in Old Bagan was within a day's work too. Great value for money.
Bagan Archaeological Museum
Exploring Bagan's Archaeological Zone by foot is a no-no. Other travel arrangements are necessary as it sprawls over 26 square miles and sports more than 2,000 pagodas. There are five main modes of transport to choose from. Push-bike, e-bike, horse and cart, rented car and hot air balloon. Push-biking looked too much like hard work - hot, sweaty and dusty. The horse and carts looked to slow, bumpy and uncomfortable and a rented car was out of our budget. A hot air balloon ride had been high on my wishlist. It would give the best views of Bagan, but at over $300 per person for only a couple of hours we just couldn't justify it! After considering all our options, we decided e-bikes it was! It would still be dusty just like the push-bikes but we could live with that.
Bagan Golden Palace
We came across the Golden Palace next and were in two minds whether to go in or not as at $5 per person it was quite pricey. We decided to go for it but in all honesty it wasn't worth the money. It's a government reconstruction of the original aimed to attract tourists. I doubt if it shows much resemblance to the original. Soon we'd seen all there was to see and were back outside ready to set off on our e-bikes again.