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  Home >> Myanmar Destinations >> Bagan and Environs
 

Bagan and Environs

The wonderful archeological site of Bagan lies in the arid plain, with total area of more than 40 square kilometers, by the banks of the Ayeyarwady River in central Myanmar, about 600 km to the north of Yangon, is considered as one of the great Buddhist centers of South-East Asia where some 3,000 pagodas, temples and other religious monuments, dated from 11th to 13th century, scattered over there. It had been said that over 10,000 monuments were originally built, by the people after being converted to Buddhists, in that royal kingdom. During centuries, the ideal cultural home of Bagan has been damaged by time and by many events; water-flood from the Ayeyarwady and severe earthquakes are common- notably the earthquake of 1975 was among others the most powerful. Some years after that tragic event, Bagan was started to gradually restore under supervision of UNESCO. Today, an impressive landscape of ruins and restored monuments, surrounded by some maize fields and toddy palms, and the small mountain ranges, in east and west, gives an incomparable view, especially at sunset.

 

Major Highlights

• A list of most remarkable monuments, according to zones of their location, should be commenced by the most venerable Shwezigon, a golden stupa of 11 century as landmark of Bagan, Kyansitta Umin, tunnel-like construction for meditative purpose dated to 11 century with mural paintings of 13 century, in Nyaung-Oo, a small town where a local market with colors, odors, movements for morning chance of photos, proceeding the Htilominlo temple, as excellent example of pilaster from 12 century, the Dhamayangyi temple, the most durable brick building of 12 century, the Sulamani temple, with finely restored frescos on the inner walls, and the most elegant temple, Ananda, architectural masterpiece of early 12 century, are all together in the heart of ancient archeological zone( the old Bagan). A cluster of ruins near Minnanthu village, in the south-eastern periphery, is worthy to observe for the fine mural paintings, and small-scales of architectural proportion, some of them, namely, are Payathonzu, Thanbula, and Nandamanya. A village, relatively crowed by the houses of artists who produce laqureware as fantastic objets d'art, called Myinkaba around there the famous Nanpaya, unique temple with bas-relief of Hindu Brahma in sandstone, the Gubyaukgyi temple, the best preserved mural paintings of 11 century under UNESCO, can be seen as fine selection.

• The spectacular sunset on the mighty Ayeyarwady, viewed from either Bupaya, just located on the bank, or Shwesandaw, a stupa with five levels of high terraces whose location is center point of whole area.

• For the simple and original way of visit, but unforgettable, the horse carts, as locals use daily, with nice décor are surely recommended to discover the mysterious site of Bagan, and for sportive way, the bicycles are disposable to rent in the hotels, and sunset boat trip as relaxed as to contemplate the glimpses of Bagan. Or the most fabulous way is the hot air balloon, smoothly flies with bird's eye view over the tops of ancient pagodas.

• Buying souvenirs in Bagan must also be one of the not-to-be-missed experiences. There are varieties of handicrafts including well-known lacquerware products such as plates, trays, boxes, and hand-made rattan products like baskets, hats, and cute Chinlone (small traditional ball to play), toys en papier marche, copy paintings of ancient monuments, bronze and earth statues, local cigars named cheroots, and sweet cookies or toddy sugar at particular


Popa

Over 60 km from Bagan, in the east, is the extinct volcano known as Mount Popa. Its highest peak rises 1518 meters above sea level and varieties of floras and faunas (especially some kinds of butterflies) in the creator, and fertile slopes of volcano for horticulture, are characteristics. The magical part of main volcano (technically volcanic plug) has been a place of pilgrimage for over 700 years as the name of Taungkalat where the most powerful and venerable Nats, Myanmar guardian-spirits are said to live here making Mont Popa as the nation's sacred center for Nat worship. On the way to/from Popa, photo stops for some village lives and look out for workers climbing the palm trees to collect toddy juice for making sugar.


Sale

On the south, about 40 km from Bagan, is a small village known as Sale which could be also intended for half-day visit where one can view nation’s most huge lacquer-image of Buddha and beautiful wooden monastery of Yokesone Kyaung, converted as a small cultural museum with Buddhist arts and crafts. The lovely arid-sceneries along Ayeyarwady River and these of old oil-field from Chauk are fascinating.

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