The Temples of Bagan

You must truly love temples if you find yourself in Bagan. This is not like Siem Reap where you have the bustling nightlife and Tonle Sap Lake to fall back-on should you be bored to death with all those ruins. Bagan is just temples and more temples. In my case, I adore temples. They’re sanctuaries of peace for me, no matter if they’re filled to the brim with tourists. No one stays long anyway so alone time is still quite possible,  even for just a few precious seconds.

With thousands of temples scattered accros the vast flat plain, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Me? I left it all to my driver.  Three days of temple traipsing and I still want more.

Best for Peace and Quiet
There are many. You can find your own temple and see no one else. I stumbled on this treak structure which hardly saw anyone. I don’t know of it’s a monastery. There was nothing inside. No Buddha or anything. Just enormous teak posts.
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Best for Raiders of the Lost Ark
Don’t get your hopes too high. I chose Nanpaya for its small dark chamber and bas-relief walls. Bring a torch and pretend you’re Indiana Jones.
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You can also walk the eerie corridors of the Dhammamayangi Temple. This thing is massive.
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Or pretend you’ve found yourself in a crumbling monastery where the only sound are pigeons flying.
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Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name of this place. It’s opposite a stupa. This is how it looks outside.
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And this is the stupa
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It’s in the south plain.

Best for Awe
Sulamani and Gubyaukgyi (Minkaba with their beautiful walls and ceilings are so awe-inspiring I could have spent an eternity just looking at them. I could just imagine how jaw-dropping they were centuries ago when the painted images gleamed from the plasteted walls.
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Another favorite is Phayathonzu. The walls are really gorgeous.
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And then there’s Laymyethnar.

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There are benches in corners where you can just sit and take-in the gorgeous walls and ceilings on all their faded beauty.
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There’s even a bed!
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Best for Cuteness
The ordination hall, Upali Thien is small, cute, and sits by its lonesome self. Step inside and be amazed by the painted walls.
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There are many more that I like. Each temple has its own beauty and characteristic. Another favorite is Minangalazedi Pagoda with its perfect zedi and beautiful but deteriorating bas-relief.
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