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The Temples of Bagan, Myanmar

The Temples of Bagan, the best ones to see in a day…

Ananda Phaya – This is one of the largest, and best preserved temples in Bagan. It was built between the years 1090-1105 AD. Inside the temple there are 4 giant Buddhas, carved from teak wood and coated in bronze.  

That Byin Nyu Phato – At 207ft high, this is Bagan’s tallest temple, built in 1144 AD.  If you walk 100 yards out of the southern exit, you will find a small portion of the old city wall, which you can stand on and get a good view of the temple.  

Sulamani Phato – This is known as Bagan’s most attractive temple and it was my favorite one.   Constructed in 1181 AD, the temple has large and lush grounds and what is thought to be the best brick work in Bagan.  There is much to see inside this temple, as well as outside.  It is covered in carved stucco which is now breaking away, but some of the original shapes and patterns can still be seen. 

Dhammayahgyi Pahto – Built in 1163-1165 A.D, this temple is visible from all over Bagan.  It is known for its bricked up inner passage ways and hidden cruel history.  The inside of the temple is out of bounds and no one knows what is hidden inside the walls.  Many people come here to speculate the sins hidden within.
The king that built this temple, was infamously evil and told the workers that if the bricks didn’t fit together perfectly without using mortar, he would chop off their arms.  Check out the bricks when you walk around this one! 

Shwe Sandaw Paya – This temple is the one made most famous as the place to watch the sunset.  There are great 360 degree views.  However as sunset neared there were far too many tourists and we made a quick exit and went to Pyat Hada Paya to watch the sun go beyond the horizon instead.  There are VERY steep steps up to the top of the temple, Vertigo suffers beware!  It offers a very nice view, go during the day and you will have the place to yourself, everyone comes to this one for sunset, by the bus load. 

Pyat Hada Paya – The top of this temple boasts the largest roof terrace in Bagan.  We found it to be a great sunset viewing spot, with far less tourists and much more peaceful than the ‘tourist hotspot’ of Shwe Sandaw as it is relatively unknown.  Bring a torch with you if you want to stay up on the terrace for the whole sunset.  The stairs were lined with candles when we got there, but had all burnt out by the time we walked back down in the pitch dark! 

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