Asia Trip 2015, Myanmar: Bagan Temple Tour

This is it! The moment we've all been waiting for! Well, inassume ko lang naman yun. Haha. Well, for me, this is the post I am most excited to share with all of you. Everything still feels so surreal. Dati, I only admire Bagan from afar (as in from a computer/cellphone screen), can't believe I already experienced its magic first hand! There's just so much see, so much to unearth. It's rawness is so beautiful. The best thing was not knowing what to expect. Each discovery came as a sweet and pleasant surprise. :) You have to go guys. You just have to. Without further ado, let me take you on this fun and exciting tour of BAGAN...

Before I take you on this wonderful journey of discovery & history, OOTD first!:)

H&M jumpsuit, Nava sunnies, Veloci watch, Primadonna backpack & sandals

I wanted to wear something chic, lightweight and something that will pop in photos without compromising the country's strict dress code, so I chose this H&M jumpsuit as my tour outfit! I just brought a denim polo (which I borrowed from Nico) as cover-up. Also chose to wear this Primadonna sandals because it's easy to remove (you have to take off your footwear when entering temple grounds as in kahit malayo pa yung entrance sa mismong temple dapat naka paa na) and it's waterproof! Helped me move around easily lalo na when I had to drive an E-bike or scooter.

Stories through photos below!

free breakfast na d ko inavail coz mas inavail ko ang tulog haha

There's an E-bike rental outside our hotel, so we rented two E-bikes for 8,000 kyats each or P280 for the whole day na! 

The best way to see the temples and explore the city is to rent an E-bike. You can walk, but I wouldn't advise it. The temples are far from each other and the heat could be unbearable and draining. You could also rent a regular bike, airconditioned taxi/van or a horse carriage. It's more fun going around in an E-bike scooter though. :) We started our exploration at Anawrahta Road. :)

1st Stop: No Name temple (sorry don't know what it's called)
Stopped by this small temple on our way to the archeological zone. Didn't go inside though. 

We always park our bikes outside each temple. Don't worry it's safe naman. Can you guess what's mine? Hihi. These bikes use rechargeable batteries and has pedals but they're locked haha. A fully charged bike shows 4 bars. Used it for 7 hours and 1 bar lang nabawas.:)

On my first hour, I was really trying hard not to fall, crash or die. The last time I rode a scooter was 10 years ago! Naman kase db. Haha. It gets easier once you get the hang of it. Mga after 10 million mini heart attacks.

2nd Stop: No name temple 
Aura sa temple. Forgot the name of this temple! It's also not in the map:( Just saw this on the side of the road and decided to stop and take photos. There are thousands (4,000+) like these scattered all over!

Buddha inside the temple

Dirt road

3rd Stop: Alotawpyi Temple / Pagoda 

A few vendors will greet you at the entrance

One of the few golden-tipped temples in Bagan

So cute this monk taking a photo of this child. 

4th Stop: Ywa Haung Gyi Temple (one of my faves!)

We were the only ones there! 

When driving around, you should always be alert! Check out your surroundings, look to the left & right, and you just might see a nice temple hidden behind dense trees, waiting to be explored and discovered! Saw this towering, red-bricked beauty while we were driving along Anawrahta Road. Best part? It's completely isolated. Not one tourist (or vendor) in sight! Fell in love with  it even more. This might even be my favorite. 

Perfect place to rest, chill or contemplate on life. Just you, the sun, the sky and the temple.

This temple is eerily charming

Saw this HUGE Buddha inside. It felt like it was smiling and looking down on me, like it knows all of my secrets. :)

Hey, look up:)

Centuries old paintings on the wall

I am just a dust in this universe po. I am not worthy po.

5th Stop: Ananda Phaya Temple

On the main road, at an intersection, you would see this huge temple on the right. We decided to check it out. The front gate was closed, so we drove around it until we saw an open gate. We asked the caretaker if we could go inside and he said yes. We left our footwear outside the gate and went inside...

               So beautiful! It truly stands out in the midst of all the orange temples.


The Ananda Temple is a Buddhist temple built in 1105 AD during the reign (1084–1113) of King Kyanzittha of the Pagan Dynasty. It is one of four surviving temples in Bagan. The temple layout is in a cruciform with several terraces leading to a small pagoda at the top covered by an umbrella known as hti, which is the name of the umbrella or top ornament found in almost all pagodas in Myanmar. The Buddhist temple houses four standing Buddhas, each one facing the cardinal direction of East, North, West and South. The temple is said to be an architectural wonder in a fusion of Mon and adopted Indian style of architecture. The impressive temple has also been titled the "Westminster Abbey of Burma". (from Wikipedia)

The temple ground was HUGE. We had to walk around barefoot. Careful lang coz you might step on sharp stones.


Other side of the temple

The temple has been built with bricks and plaster depicting iconographic images in stones and plaques (terra-cotta glazed tiles) with the main purpose of educating the people of the region in the religious ethos of Theravada Buddhism and in accordance with the personal beliefs of the King Kyanzittha.

Let's go inside!

Kakusandha, Standing Buddha facing North

The four standing Buddhas (pictured) are adorned with gold leaf and each Buddha image faces a direction, from north to south, stated to represent attainment of a state of nirvana. Out of the four images, the images facing north and south are said to be original, of the Bagan-style depicting the dhammachakka mudra, a hand position symbolizing the Buddha's first sermon, while the other two images are new replacements, after the originals were destroyed by fires. The four Buddhas placed in the sanctum, called the "Buddhas of the modern age", give an indication of Buddha's "sense of the omnipresence through space and time".

Simple hallway

Jataka scenes (life story of the Buddha – said to be sourced from Mon texts) are embossed over 554 terra cotta tiles that decorate the base, sides and terraces. Each niche, inside the four entrances of the cubical structure, form the sanctum where standing Buddhas, fully gilded and in different mudras or forms are deified and worshipped. In these inner passages, surrounding the central cubicle, sculptural ornamentation in the form of 80 large reliefs carved out of volcanic rocks, representing Buddha’s life from birth to death, are depicted. The two main passages have cross passages also, which provide the link between the porch and the standing images of the Buddha.

Frescoes of Buddha from birth to death depicted in the passage

Saw this meditating monk inside

Konagamana, Standing Buddha facing East

I love this place

Some workers doing repairs

After leaving Ananda, saw this herd of cattle on the road!

Nico just had to. Haha. BAKAsyunistas daw sila. Okay.

While stalking the herd, discoverd this small temple in the process. So pretty. with all the flowers outside.

6th Stop: Thatbyinnyu Temple

Biked all the way there! 

Adjacent to the Ananda Temple, Thatbyinnyu Temple or "the Omniscient", is a famous white temple built in the mid-12th century during the reign of King Alaungsithu. It took its name from the Omniscience of the Buddha, meaning "knowing thoroughly and seeing widely." Thatbyinnyu is a transitional temple, standing between the Early Style of the Ananda and the Late Style of the Gawdawpalin. It is one of the earliest two-story temples. 

Inside the monastery is a huge bronze bell supported by stone pillars with foliations in an inverted V pattern. This bell was offered by King Alaungsithu and is made from pure copper and is larger and nobler than the five great bells offered by his grandfather, King Kyansittha.

Main entrance. They have lockers for shoes! Nico and I just leave ours on the floor. Hehe.

Let's go inside!

Some areas have flooring

Huge Buddhas inside

Paintings for sale


Went around and stepped on so many bird poop. Hihi.

Ice scramble break while looking for someplace to eat! 

Don't know what this is called but tastes like ice scramble haha. 

Ready to explore again!

This is the Old Bagan area

After passing this sign, mga 50-100 meters away, we turned right and looked for someplace to eat. Found this quaint restaurant we also saw in our Lonely Planet book guide! So I thought, this must be good. It definitely did not disappoint! View palang eh. :)

Look for Starbeam Bistro!

Recommended by travelers!

It's located North of Ananda Phaya Temple!

Menu:) Budget friendly meals!

Lunch with a pretty view! 

Ordered Eggplant Salad, Chicken Curry, Chicken cashew nuts & Steamed rice

We paid more or less 11,000 kyats (more or less P500) for our meal. Not bad! For the food (so tasty & serving was enough for 2), service and ambiance, the price was totally worth it. :)

7th Stop: Min-O-Chanta / Minochanta Temple

Minochanta is just a few meters away from Starbeam Resto. It's a pretty small temple with a nice viewing platform. Loved the view from the terrace! This temple was erected under orders of King Kyansittha, who had fallen seriously ill around 1112 AD. The complex is on a low raised platform with a small modern wooden shrine along its western face and impressive stupas, guarded by chinthe, the half-lion and half dragon from Hindu-Buddhist mythology.

From the low platform of the Min-O-Chanta temple you could see lush green scenery of some part of the vast Bagan plain with its many stupas and temples, including Ananda temple on right side. :)

Only a few people worship here

8th Stop: Law Kahtikepan Complex

While driving around, we saw this dirt road and beyond it are a group of small temples. We decided to check it out!

Elephants & other sculptures are found outside the temples

9th Stop: Khay Min Ga Temple Grounds

It's a nice & quiet place to rest with the trees providing shade

it's a group of small stupas

10th Stop: Htilominlo Temple

From the main road of Old Bagan, you would see this temple surrounded by nice trees

Situated close to the road between Nyaung U and Bagan, and about 1.5 km northeast of Bagan. This large temple was built by King Nantaungmya in 1218. The temple is known to be the last Myanmar Style temple built in Bagan. The name is a misreading of the Pali word for 'Blessings of the Three Worlds'. King Nantaungmya erected the temple on this spot because it was here that he was chosen, from among five brothers, to be the crown prince. (from http://bagan.travelmyanmar.net/)

View inside the entry way or arc. The are stalls lined up towards the entrance:)

Inside the 46-metre-high temple, which is similar in design to Sulamani Temple, there are four Buddhas on the lower and upper floors. Traces of old murals are also still visible. Fragments of the original fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations have survived on the outside. The doorways feature nice carved reliefs. Several old horoscopes, painted to protect the building from damage can be found on the walls of the temple.

You can still see old writings or murals on the wall


I love it

11th Stop: North Guni Temple

We stumbled upon this charming little temple tucked away from the main road. It is not that easy to find but when you do, it's totally worth it. It is known to be one of the best temples or places in Bagan to watch the sunrise or sunset. Not too crowded unlike the Shwesandaw. We were the only tourists when we got there. 

There's a hidden staircase inside which you could climb! The view at the top is beautiful. You could see the Dhammayangyi and Shwesandaw pagodas. There were manongs or old men chilling inside, just reading their newspapers and taking a nap on this hot afternoon, but they were very nice and welcoming. 

Be careful! Stairs are a little steep.

View from the top

It was super hot so we just stayed there for about 5 minutes hehe

Peek a boo!

This sweet old man asked for a photo with Nico! Haha. Kala ata niya Korean. Hehe.

12th Stop: Mahabodhi Temple

The Mahabodhi Pagoda within the city walls of old Bagan is a pagoda built to resemble the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, North India, the place where the Buddha reached enlightenment some 25 centuries ago.

Pathway going inside

Didn't go inside na, so I just rested for a bit on one of the chairs outside. :)

I was so exhausted and drained from the heat, so we decided to rest here for a bit. After 15 minutes of just sitting and cooling ourselves, we left the temple. Outside the temple, a nice lady named Phyu-Phyu approached us and chatted with us. She invited us to her store where she put Thanaka (their traditional make-up) on our faces! 

Phyu-Phyu making Thanaka paste made from water & ground bark

Nico went first

She showed me this postcard given to her by a Pinoy guest! :)

It was odorless and feels cold when applied. It was quite refreshing actually.

She shared with me her love for Lee Min Ho and her desire to travel. :)

Thanks Phyu-Phyu! Hope to see you again soon:)

Nico bought a Longyi (Myanmar's national costume or traditional outfit) from her! I think it's just P200. :)

New loveteam! Si Ate nagpush niyan. So cute!

She also insisted on taking our photo!:) 

13th Stop: Gawdawpalin Phaya Temple

The Gawdawpalin Temple was built by King Narapatisithu after building the Sulamani Temple. Construction was not completed, and his son Htilominlo finished the job. This temple is the 2nd highest temple in Bagan with its height of 55 meters or 180 feet high. It is one of the largest shrines in Bagan. 

Parang may pinagdadaanan si Nico dito hahaha

 Rested for a bit na naman. I love how people are so chill! They just spend their day reading newspapers and chatting with each other. 

 Mejo masikip sa loob. Hehe.

The double-storey temple is square in plan, with porticoes on all four sides, but with the eastern portico projecting further than the others. On the ground floor, a vaulted corridor runs around a central block against whose four sides are placed images of the Buddha. 

 One of Buddhas inside

 And another

14th Stop: Bagan Archeological Museum

Paid 10,000 kyats or P400 for the 2 of us. 

Parked our scooters outside

 We were assigned a locker where we were told to leave our things. No photos inside.

We were there for less than an hour. Haha! There was not much to see. So if you're going there, don't expect too much. There were 2 floors but the items displayed were mostly spread out. Also, some of the rooms were being renovated when we went there. So much dust. Haha. The small museum contains artifacts and relics from Bagan's history. I didn't learn much from the displays and most of the relics are replicas na. :( It's still a nice respite from the heat, though!

15th Stop: Mimalaung Kyaung Temple

This temple is just across the Bagan Archaeological Museum! The temple's entrance is adorned by a couple of Chinthe (lion like creature) standing guard. The short flight of stairs lead to the terrace. The 4-meter high plinth secures the temple from any risk of fire or flood.


Budhha inside

Love the view:)

Saw these on the wall

16th Stop: Dhammayangyi Pahto Temple
largest temple in Bagan

This temple which consists of a massive square base topped by six receding terraces was thought to have been built by King Narathu circa 1167-70. According to legend, Narathu built the temple to atone for sins-- killing his father & brother to claim the throne. He was said to have been killed by priest-assassins hired by his wife's father whom he executed for practicing her Hindu ritualsThe construction of the temple was ceased upon his death, and it was left in rubble by his workers. So much dark history!

some items for sale outside the temple

Local vendors inside the temple;)

Power db? Hehe

Let's go inside!

WOOOW. I know. 

The temple has four entrances, each containing a seated Buddha image on a pedestal. Main entrance is the one on the East. The Western sanctum contains images of the Gautama Buddha and the future Maitreya Buddha, side by side.

Quick shoot lang. Was actually darting away from flying birds inside. Nangtatae kasi sila! 

Story goes that King Narathu was so wicked that he had labourers killed or their hands chopped off if he was not pleased with their work. That is why you could see that the brick work in this temple is so precise. 

May issue ata si Nico kay Kuya haha

situation outside the temple 

Hihi it was fun watching them eat 

Dahon pa more sila

East entrance. It's closed but you can see the Buddhas inside.

Closer look

Rested for a bit before heading to our last stop, Shwesandaw!

I'm ready for sunset!

17th Stop: Shwesandaw Pagoda 
Took this photo on our way to the temple

We had to pay $20 Bagan Archaeological Zone Fee! That covers all the temples na and valid for 5 days. Funny how we were able to go around without anyone checking. Dito lang sila strict. Oh well, anything to maintain this historical site.

vendors selling clothes

This temple is Bagan's most famous sunset/sunrise viewing spot. The pagoda contains a series of five terraces, topped with a cylindrical stupa, which has a bejewelled umbrella. The pagoda was built by King Anawrahta in 1057, and once contained terra cotta tiles depicting scenes from the Jataka. Enshrined within the pagoda are sacred hairs of Gautama Buddha, which were obtained from Thaton.  (from Wikipedia)

Restroom break! It was clean naman.

Stairs near the restroom. This is the least crowded stairs going up the temple.

Such a steep climb. Halfway through!

The climb was worth it! WHAT A VIEW. <3 font="">

Feel na feel namin our Thanaka but spell HULAS.

You could see Thatbyinnyu and a few other major temples from the top

It's breathtaking. I just stood there for almost half an hour just admiring the view and reveling in all these beauty.

Viewing deck:)

It could become super crowded especially during sunset. So it's best if you come early to secure a nice spot. :) The climb to the deck could also be a little scary for people who are afraid of heights. Be careful!

Ganda ng view:) Haha. *winkz*


You could also watch the sunrise by hopping into a hot air balloon! It's quite pricey though. A 20-minute ride ranges from $275-$300. 

Road leading to the main street

That rectangular building with the white roof, houses the giant reclining Buddha

We left the pagoda at around 6:15pm. We decided to eat dinner first before going back to the hotel. Decided to try another recommended resto in our Lonely Planet book -- The Black Bamboo.

It's located in a quiet street sa area where most of the restaurants are located. Look for the "The Black Bamboo" sign on the main road. :)

Owned by a charming and nice French lady:)

Beautiful garden setting:) Staff placed something below our table to ward of mosquitos. :)


Love this place mat which shows a bit of history

Ordered Grilled Fish w/ potatoes & veggies (9000 kyats) + Tzatziki greek salad (3500 kyats)

Tzatziki greek salad served with Popadom crackers. Delicious! This salad refreshes the palette. It's made of cucumber, yogurt & mint. YUM. 

They also sell homemade ice cream!

It's quite pricey for backpackers like us, but finding good food in Bagan is hard (at least for me) so this was really a nice discovery. Staff were all helpful and nice. Owner went out of her way to chat with customers. Food was great. Place was perfect. It was worth it. :)

Ordered Coconut Ice Cream for 2000 kyats. So flavorful!

This ends my temple run in Bagan Day 1 post! Part 2 is next! Hope you stick around and continue reading. Took me 5 hours to finish this post ha. Grabe. Haha. Had to research all the names of the temples. You know me, more details, more fun! Same thing will happen as I work on Part 2, so please bear with me. Haha! Hope you enjoyed reading this, as much as I did writing it. Hope you consider Myanmar as your next travel destination! :)

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