The ancient city of Bagan
The second place I visited, was also the reason why most people come from far and visit Myanmar. The temple-filled plains of Bagan rival the temples from Angkor Wat as one of the most impressive ancient sites in South-East Asia. There are about 4400 temples spread out all over the are. While the individual temples of Angkor are more impressive than in Bagan, the real beauty of Bagan is the overall view of the plains dotted with stupas all over.
The best way to visit the plains is to wake up early to one of the viewpoints to catch the postcard view of the plains at sunrise. Me, being the lazy traveler, of course didn’t do this. Well, that’s part of it, but the main thing was just because the sunrise didn’t really interest me that much eventhough I know that those are the most scenic pictures you see about Bagan. I rented a bike and went around the major temples and viewpoints. A word of warning, since the area is pretty much made up of sandy plains, there’s limited amount of shade to be found and the temperature can get quite high when you’re out in the plains biking around.
Another point of advice, most if not all of the temples require you to enter the premises barefooted. With the strong sun heating up the stones around the temples, the ground can get quite hot to walk on and some temples have quite a long distance from the main gate to the actual entrance of the temple.
About the temples, eventhough there are so many temples, it still suprises me sometimes how some of them are so different from others. Some have a lot of frescos left in them and all of them have at least 1 if not more Buddhist statues in them. And people do come to the temples and pray in front of the huge statues. Probably not all of them but I’ve seen quite a few of them when doing my round.
The views were impressive indeed and the temples amazing. But the problem is that everything is all spread out and sometimes it takes a while to get from one temple to another. Because of that, I do prefer the temples of Angkor more though, but this isn’t a pissing contest so I shouldn’t really compare the both. But Bagan IS a place you should visit, it’s truely an amazing sight. To see the temples spread out all over the plains of Bagan. You could take a few days out as well to visit “all” of the temples, but for me 1 day was enough to get a grasp of the temple dotted plains of Bagan.