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BAGAN TRAVEL GUIDE: 10 Must-Visit Temples in BAGAN MYANMAR + Itinerary and Travel Tips

Bagan Budget Travel Guide Myanmar Tourist Spots

Bucket list checked!


If there's one must-visit destination in Myanmar, that I've been wanting to visit for the longest time, that would be Bagan. And I am so happy that finally, I got to visit and explore it last month!

Boasting with more than 2,000 temples and pagodas, Bagan in Myanmar is definitely a must-visit travel destination in Southeast Asia. Known as Myanmar's previous royal capital, Bagan is popular among tourists; and undeniably Myanmar's top travel destination.

Bagan Budget Travel Guide Myanmar Tourist Spots

If Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia will amaze you with huge and monumental structures, Bagan will impress you with thousands of spire-topped temples and pagodas. I love that even with the influx of tourists, Bagan still retained a lot of its old-world charm. So, if you're planning to visit Myanmar, don't miss to explore Bagan. It is definitely a must visit for anyone travelling to Myanmar.


WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS BAGAN MYANMAR TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG?


Ok, let's get started...


Bagan Zone Pass


Before anything else, you have to secure a Bagan Zone Pass.

To visit the temples and pagodas in Bagan, you need to have a Bagan Zone Pass. Being an archaeological zone, all tourists are required to get this pass upon entering Bagan. The passes are usually sold at the airport, bus stations, or at the border-entry of Bagan. In our case, since we traveled by bus from Mandalay, we bought our Bagan Zone Pass upon entering Bagan. It costs 25,000 Kyats ($17 USD or 904 PHP) and each pass is valid for 3 days. Make sure to keep your pass and always bring it with you for the whole duration of your stay. There are officers that will check it upon entering or exiting the temples, or at any given time.

Bagan Budget Travel Guide Myanmar Tourist Spots

Here are the temples and pagodas we visited during our 2-day temples tour in Bagan.


1. Shwezigon Pagoda


The first destination for our temples tour on our first day in Bagan is the Shwezigon Pagoda. Located in Nyaung-U, the Shwezigon Pagoda is a circular gold leaf-gilded stupa surrounded by smaller temples and shrines. This pagoda is believed to enshrine a bone and tooth of Gautama Buddha - a primary figure and founder of Buddhism.

Bagan Myanmar Travel Guide Itinerary

Bagan Myanmar Travel Guide ItineraryBagan Myanmar Travel Guide Itinerary

2. Ananda Phaya


Our driver told us "our next destination is Ananda Phaya, one of the most beautiful temples here in Bagan." And he is correct, it is indeed beautiful!

Ananda Temple is a Buddhist temple built in 1105 AD during the reign of King Kyanzittha of the Pagan Dynasty. Inside, you’ll see four huge standing Buddhas adorned with gold leaf and each one is facing the cardinal direction of East, North, West and South. I love how lovely it is and very well maintained. Don't miss to be mesmerized by the intricate relief carvings at the temple's doors and outside surface.

Bagan Myanmar Travel Guide Itinerary

Bagan Myanmar Travel Guide ItineraryBagan Myanmar Travel Guide Itinerary

3. Thatbyinnyu Temple


Built in the mid-12th century, Thatbyinnyu Temple is one of the highest monuments of Bagan. Inside, you’ll see a number of seated Buddha images seated in pedestals along the temple's corridors.

Currently, it is under restoration after some of its parts were damaged by the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Bagan in August 2016.

Near the temple are some souvenir shops, food kiosks, as well as small pagodas and temples that you can visit too. Just walk around and you can see them just a short distance from Thatbyinnyu Temple.

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

4. Shwesandaw Pagoda


Another popular pagoda in Bagan,is the Shwesandaw Pagoda that was built in 1057 by King Anawrahta. This tall pagoda has a series of five terraces, topped with a cylindrical stupa, which has a bejewelled umbrella. It is believed that this pagoda has the sacred hairs of Gautama Buddha.

A favorite among tourists because you can climb to the top of the pagoda to see the sunset or the sunrise and panoramic views of other pagodas and temples. Unfortunately, climbing it is not allowed anymore.

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist SpotsMust-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

5. Dhammayangyi Temple


Of all the temples and pagodas we visited, this is definitely one of my favorites. Dhammayangyi Temple was built during the reign of King Narathu from 1167 to 1170. Also known as “Dhammayan,” it is the biggest of all the temples in Bagan.

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

Things to do in Bagan MyanmarThings to do in Bagan Myanmar

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

Things to do in Bagan MyanmarThings to do in Bagan Myanmar

Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Tourist Spots

Things to do in Bagan MyanmarThings to do in Bagan Myanmar

6. Htilominlo Temple


The last temple we visited on our first day of tour in Bagan is the Htilominlo Temple. This Buddhist temple was built during the reign of King Htilominlo (where the temple got its name) from 1211 to 1231. Inside, you’ll see four Buddhas that face each direction of East, North, South, and West. Not to be missed are the glazed sandstone decorations and the intricate carved reliefs on the walls of the temple.

Currently, the top part of the temple is being restored. I guess, it was also damaged by the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Bagan in August 2016.

Things to do in Bagan Myanmar

Things to do in Bagan MyanmarThings to do in Bagan Myanmar

Things to do in Bagan Myanmar

Things to do in Bagan Myanmar

Bagan Temples Private Tour


For ease and convenience, we booked our Bagan Temples Tour via Klook.com. The private tour includes a private car with convenient hotel pick-up and drop-off service, English-speaking driver/guide, cold bottled water, and a visit to 6 most popular and crowd-favorite temples in Bagan. See the itinerary below.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK A PRIVATE TOUR IN BAGAN!


Bagan Temples Tour Itinerary


  • 08:00 AM - Hotel pick up
  • Shwezigon Pagoda
  • Ananda Temple
  • Dhammayangyi Temple
  • Htilominlo Temple
  • Thatbyinnyu Temple
  • Shwesandaw Pagoda
  • 01:00 PM - Hotel drop off

If you have more time, you can visit these 4 other temples.


On our 2nd day in Bagan, we decided to rent a private car and visited other temples and pagodas on our own or DIY style. We visited Iza Gawna Pagoda, Phaya Thon Zu Phaya, Le-myet-hna Hpaya, and Dhamma Ya Zi Ka Pagoda. We ended the tour with a visit to the "Sunset Pagoda" where we enjoyed the sunset. Click here for Bagan Private Car Charter.

7. Iza Gawna Pagoda


Located near the airport is the Iza Gawna Pagoda. It's a beautiful brick pagoda that is elevated from the ground. It has a unique character of its own and even if it's small compared to other temples, it has intricate details decorating its outer surfaces.

 Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Myanmar Itinerary and Travel Tips

 Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Myanmar Itinerary and Travel Tips

 Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Myanmar Itinerary and Travel Tips

 Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Myanmar Itinerary and Travel Tips

8. Phaya Thon Zu Phaya


One of the lesser known temples in Bagan, Phaya Thon Zu Phaya is quite simple. It's a brick temple with pointed spires on an elevated platform. In the article of Myanmar Times, it says that "According to historical evidence, the pagoda was built by King Tayote Pyay Min and comprises ancient stucco decorations, terracotta plaques and wall paintings."

 Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Myanmar Itinerary and Travel Tips

9. Le-myet-hna Hpaya


According to the information posted outside the temple, "Le-myet-hna Hpaya was built in 1223 A.D. by Minister Anandathuya. It is surrounded by a brick enclosure and the temple rests on a high platform. The main entrance faces east and the walls inside have mural paintings with ink inscriptions. Apart from the temple, there are also a three-storied brick monastery, remnants of sima (ordination hall), a water tank and a dhammasala or preaching hall in the premises of the enclosure."

 Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Myanmar Itinerary and Travel Tips

10. Dhamma Ya Zi Ka Pagoda


Located in the village of Pwasaw, east of Bagan, Dhamma Ya Zi Ka Pagoda is a huge Buddhist temple built in 1196 during the reign of King Narapatisithu. One of the most striking features of this temple is its huge bell shaped fully gilded dome. Unlike the other pagodas in Bagan which has a square floor plan, Dhamma Ya Zi Ka Pagoda has has a pentagonal layout with each side enshrining an image of the Buddha.

 Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Myanmar Itinerary and Travel Tips Must-Visit Temples in Bagan Myanmar Itinerary and Travel Tips

TRAVEL GUIDE Bagan Temples Myanmar Pagodas TourTRAVEL GUIDE Bagan Temples Myanmar Pagodas Tour

TRAVEL GUIDE Bagan Temples Myanmar Pagodas TourTRAVEL GUIDE Bagan Temples Myanmar Pagodas Tour

Bonus: Sunset Pagoda


This pagoda actually has a name, but I wasn't able to get it. Hahaha! This is where tourists are allowed to climb to the top of the pagoda where they can enjoy a stunning view of the sunset and the numerous pagodas and temples surrounding the area. This is one of my favorites and definitely a good spot to see the sunset in Bagan.

Things to do Tourist Spots in Bagan

Things to do Tourist Spots in BaganThings to do Tourist Spots in Bagan

Things to do Tourist Spots in Bagan

Things to do Tourist Spots in Bagan

Things to do Tourist Spots in BaganThings to do Tourist Spots in Bagan

Things to do Tourist Spots in Bagan

Travel Tips and Reminders


  • Don't forget to take off your shoes (including socks) or slippers before entering the temples. When exploring, best if you just wear slippers so it would be easy to take it off when entering the temples.
  • When visiting a temple, the basic rule is to cover your shoulders and knees. This applies for both men and women.
  • Always abide by the rules in the temples and places of worship you're visiting.
  • Be sure to check the weather before traveling to Bagan. If you're traveling during the summer months (March to April), wear light and breathable clothes and bring a face mask to protect you from the dusts. If you're traveling during the rainy season (March to October), be sure to bring an umbrella or raincoat to protect you from the rain. And if you're traveling during winter months (November to February), be sure to bring a jacket.
  • If you want to see or ride a hot air balloon, the best time to visit Bagan is the during winter months which is from November to February. Click here for discounted Bagan Hot Air Balloon Sunrise Experience in Bagan, Myanmar.
  • To save on travel expenses, join a group tour in Bagan. Click here to see available tours in Bagan, Myanmar.
  • To stay connected to the internet while in Myanmar, be sure to buy a Myanmar Prepaid 4G SIM Card.

Bagan Travel Guide 2018 with DIY Itinerary

Other Guided Tours in Bagan, Myanmar



Klook.com

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