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One of the richest archaeological sites, if not in the world, in Asia. The magic of Bagan has inspired visitors since many centuries. Bagan was the origin of Buddhism as still practiced nowadays in Myanmar, and was the seat of religious learning. An earthquake on July 8, 1975 severely damaged this ancient city’s invaluable heritages, yet Bagan unbelievably maintain its majestic glamour. Today, in a vast plain on the western bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, ruins of thousands of pagodas, stupas and temples spread endlessly. These are not just the symbol of once a glorious kingdom, but are the source of priceless records of the country’s history. Bagan is particularly beautiful at sunset. As the sun sinks behind the already misty Ayeyarwaddy, it’s not scarce to see foreign visitors waiting patiently on one of the ruins, just to catch Bagan’s most enchanting moment in their cameras. Some may choose to enjoy such moment from a local boat or from a cruise. During winter months, a unique travel experience is a hot-air balloon flight over the Archaeological Zone. Beside the temples and pagodas, Bagan is also the centre for high quality lacquer ware industry. Take some time to witness how these intricate wares are produced artistically and manually.
Highlights of Bagan
Shwezigon Temple, Ananda Temple, Thatbyinnyu Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple, Manuha Temple, Bupaya Pagoda, Tharabar Gate, Farming Villages, Lacquer Ware Workshop.
Day excursion highlights
Drive along the banks of Ayeyarwaddy River through Chauk to visit this small town. Alternatively, one may opt to sail down the Ayeyarwaddy River to enjoy the river scenery. The town is once an important centre for Buddhist education. To date, its own unique style of Bagan era architecture in Salay still exits. Highlights include Yokesone Monastery with beautiful wood carvings, Payathonzu Complex with Bagan era murals, and Man Paya with large lacquer Buddha image.
Situated on the western bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, this quiet city is reached from Bagan by a peaceful up-river excursion by boat. Typical village life and the river life are important characters of this visit. This unspoilt small town is known for its checkered blanket weaving, Thanatkhar wood (locally used as make-up) and tobacco trading. The nearby 19th century town of Pakhangyi has one of the oldest wooden monasteries in Upper Myanmar with 254 teak pillars.
Brief overnight tour highlight
A side trip from Bagan, set amid lovely hill and forest scenery. Mt. Popa is an extinct volcano and its steep-sided volcanic peak is dedicated to the legendary “Nat” spirits of Myanmar. Although its surrounding areas are arid, Mt. Popa is an oasis in the plain of central Burma with over 200 water streams. Plenty of trees, flowering plants and herbs grow due to the fertile volcanic ash. This is an easy day’s journey from Bagan stopping along the way at local villages and a palm tree plantation. But, an overnight trip is worthwhile if one would desire a little adventure tour in the Popa National Park with dense sandalwood forests and rare species of birds and butterflies worth a walk or a trek. Every year, there are two important festivals celebrated in Mount Popa, to entertain the Nats.