Bagan: The City of 1,000 Pagodas

The ancient city of Bagan is one of the lesser known Buddhist attractions in Southeastern Asia. Often compared to the impressive Angkor Wat, Bagan’s history dates back to the 9th century when the Kingdom of Pagan was at its peak. The territory of the city contains hundreds of temples that were built in different eras. It’s best to spend 3 or more days in Bagan to witness all of the most peculiar temples and enjoy a few sunsets and sunrises. Find out about the best accommodations in Bagan at Whether you want to stay at a budget hostel or spend a few days at a luxury hotel, Asia Pacific Hotels offers the best choice of accommodation.

Why go there?

So why exactly is Myanmar’s Bagan so significant? It’s not a secret that 90% of the country’s population is Buddhist, making Bagan a truly sacred city for each and every citizen of Myanmar. King Anarwatha united the country under Theravada Buddhism back in the 9th century. Since then all Bagan rulers and wealthy people made it their duty to build temples in Bagan, which resulted in more than 10,000 monuments being built on the territory of the city. Once the territory of Bagan encompassed up to 100 square miles of plains dotted with temples and stupas of all shapes and sizes, yet now the number is more humble – you can enjoy 2,200 religious monuments, which still create a truly impressive sight. It’s an ideal place for temple geeks and history buffs, otherwise there’s not much to Bagan in terms of infrastructure and tourist attractions. The city itself is the main attraction.

What to do there?

It’s simple really – just rent a scooter and go exploring this spectacular sight early in the morning to catch the misty temples and dream-like plains of Bagan. Other options include riding a bike or taking a carriage with a horse. The latter is infinitely slower and you’ll be taken to a certain route that includes all of the major temples, but omits some of the more interesting ones. You can get a map of Bagan’s most gorgeous temples at any guesthouse and ask the owner about the best sunset and sunrise spots, just mind that the more popular ones are usually crowded with people. Although you will be pleased to find out that Bagan is not infested with tourists – everyone is scattered across the vast plains of Bagan and you can go for hours without meeting a soul. You can also go on a small bike tour that includes New Bagan, Old Bagan and Nyang Oo. This way you’ll get to see all of the city’s hidden gems that aren’t on tourist guides. Another option is flying the balloon early in the morning. It’s a great opportunity to take truly breathtaking pictures especially if you are lucky enough and there are no clouds in the morning. Some people believe it’s the best thing to do in Bagan as you can see miles and miles of the city’s territory dotted with temples and pagodas.