Bagan Temple Guide
While I was in Bagan I decided to make a Bagan Temple Guide to make it easier for other people to get an overview of what’s possible to see there. Hopefully it can help you plan you trip and decide which pagodas you want to go to, how long to spend there and which ones you should skip. I spent 6 days exploring the area, taking pictures and jotting down brief details (if any) that might be worth knowing so I could include it in this Bagan Temple Guide.
I wish I had had more time there because it was raining a lot while I was there which limited the amount of time I had to explore. If I had had enough time I could have easily spend several weeks just cruising around and exploring as much as possible. In fact I might still go back and do that one day and expand on the Bagan Temple Guide.
Information About This Guide
You can find most of these pagodas on Google Maps. This makes it easier for you to find them because Bagan is a pretty big area and has a few thousand pagodas spread out all over the place. There are only signs for the biggest and most popular pagodas so Google Maps and GPS comes in handy. You can also get paper maps if you prefer that.
In order to find the pagodas from this guide in Google Maps, look at the spelling under “Is it on Google Maps” on each individual page. The spelling on Google Maps is not always the same as the spelling commonly used on Google searches. I’ve used the most common name used for each pagoda/temple, but to avoid any confusion I’ve added the name used on Google Maps as well. Without the correct spelling it can sometimes be difficult to find on Google Maps.
I think I’ve included most of the famous pagodas in this Bagan Temple Guide, that was my intention at least, I’m sorry if I missed any. There are more than 40 pagodas included in this guide and they are split up into 3 posts to keep the size and loading time down. To go to part 2 click here and for part 3 click here.
This page should give you a quick overview and impression of the pagodas I’ve included. To see more pictures in higher resolution, as well as the name used on Google Maps, just click the appropriate image.
Some of the pagodas that were closed when I was there (July 2016) might be open at other times of the year. Sometimes it’s also possible to pay a key holder who might be around nearby. However, I consider this a scam and therefore note it as “not possible to climb”.
If you don’t mind paying extra then you might be able to gain access to some of the pagodas you otherwise couldn’t. So, even if I’ve noted a pagoda as inaccessible, you might still find someone who’s willing to open up if you “pay money for Buddha”.
Depending on the season and government regulations everything is subject to change, so keep that in mind.
Alright enough introduction. Let’s get started on the Bagan Temple Guide.
Alodawpyi pagoda is rather small and I didn’t find it particularly interesting. However behind Alowdawpyi there was another pagoda you could climb instead. From there you had a nice view of the surroundings and could see some of the biggest pagodas. I’m not entirely sure if it’s allowed to climb it but there was a local guy who started talking to me and told me from which side it was safest to climb from. When I came back down he wanted to sell me his paintings so he might not be the most legit source.
This is the most famous pagoda in Bagan. It’s a very beautiful building. However, it doesn’t have a sense of adventure and “Indiana-Jones-experience” that many of the other pagodas do. If that is what you seek you will not find it here. As the most famous pagoda it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s a tourist trap. But of course it still has to be seen. If you like the Buddha statues that you find in many of the pagodas then this is a great place for you. If you like a sense of immersion and adventure this will disappoint. Go with the right expectations and enjoy it as it is. The area around the temple is very unappealing, but the pagoda itself is indeed a beautiful sight and worth seeing.
This pagoda is from 300 AD. I honestly don’t know why people go here but it’s very popular. I personally found it very uninteresting. It was completely destroyed in an earthquake in 1975 so the current one is a replica. The area is crowded with lots of shops and nothing to see. I would recommend to only go here for the river view and don’t go out of your way to see the pagoda.
There’s a sign telling you not to climb this pagoda. People still did it and I saw several hanging out on the pagoda. The view is incredible. Among the best. Especially toward the sunset direction. But still great in all directions. You can see the river, you are at a great height (heighest does not equal best in Bagan in my opinon) and you are immersed by the surrounding trees and pagodas. The floor on the pagoda seems to be in good shape and it looks like they have prepared it for people to climb it. But that is purely speculation on my part. Only negative (except for the sign) is that it’s close to the road so you do have some traffic noise. It’s not overwhelming but it’s there.
This is the largest pagoda in Bagan, but it can’t be climbed. A very beautiful pagoda. Watch out for the bat poop inside.
This one is really interesting. It has an unusual shape and the walk around the pagoda is beautiful.
You cannot climb this one but you can walk around inside. She Myet Hna is within the walls of the temple complex.
Gubyaukgyi Temple was closed when I was there. No photos or videos allowed. However, you might be able to buy a ticket to enter and also hire a guide to tell you more about the murals inside.
Gu Byauk Nge
This one is closed. Would have been great to get in though. There might be a gate keeper around somewhere.
Htilominlo is a 46 meter high pagoda. You are not allowed to climb it. But if you go all the way through the temple to the other side you’ll find a small building. You can enter and walk up the stairs inside the building for a good view point.
To go to part 2 of the Bagan Temple Guide click here.
If you are going to Bagan and are looking for a hotel to stay at then check out my review of Bagan Emerald Hotel.