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This is a temple of dark past. It was built by a mentally ill king named Narathu. King Narathu was assassinated inside the temple. Later, it is believed to have been haunted.
This temple is famous for its elaborate brickwork with fine carvings. It is known as Bagan’s “jewel on the crown”.
Pya-Tha-Da Paya (Pyathada Paya)
The path to this temple is very difficult to find. If you are not careful you will be wrong to turn or have to turn back. However, this is the ideal place for you to spend the end of the day to visit because you can climb here and enjoy the beautiful sunset.
In addition, you can visit some more temples: Mingalar Zedi Pagoda, Shwegu Gyi Temple.
Some useful tips to visit Bagan temples
- All people must go barefoot in temples (socks are also not allowed). To remove, or wear several times in a day you should wear sandals or flip flops. If you wear the shoes, there is a bit inconvenient and the ground of temple is not clean so when you wear the socks back, the socks will be very dirty.
- Visiting the temples in Bagan you also do not have to walk much. Most of time is cycling from temple to temple. It is not necessary to wear sport shoes. However, women should not wear high heels, because the roads in Bagan are dirt roads, so it is difficult to wear high heels.
- Finding a road with a paper map in Bagan is a bit difficult, as the paths between the temples are almost unnamed, so it’s difficult to determine paths like “go straight, turn left, then turn right , to name of road … then turn. However, finding the way to these temples is not really difficult, as most of them are concentrated in a central area, so you only need walking in the main road of Nyaung U is going to come. When you reach a temple, you take this temple as the standard position and relative position of other temples and pagodas on the map. There are a number of pagodas not in this area, our tip is to open google maps to search the ways to the temple before in the hotel, then without wifi or 3G then look at the red dot on the map (the temple/the pagoda is need to go) and the blue dot (the your position) on the map is easily accessible.
Watching the sunrise and sunset of Bagan on the stupas of the temples
Visiting Bagan without watching the sunrise and hot air balloons on the stupas of the temples is a big mistake. For myself, this is one of the most favorite experiences in Myanmar. Hot air balloons only flies on early morning at dawn, so if you want to capture this classic scene of hot air balloon, you have to go to watching the sunrise.
There are a number of temples and pagodas have the good locations to admire the sunrise and the hot air balloon. Follow the advice of the staff at the hotel I stayed, I watched the sunrise at the Bulethi Temple. Before departure, I search Bulethi temple position on Google maps then find the location of the temple immediately, then follow the directions of Google maps is to the right place to go. The road to the temple of Bulethi is a dirt road, there is a lot of sand on the part of the road, so slightly slippery. Be careful not to ride too fast to avoid falling.
We departure quite early. About 5:30 am departure from the hotel, since the road is dark. When reach to the temple, the horizon is starting to be a bit of aurora. One more reason to go early is that there are plenty of tourists come here for watching the sunrise, so you should come early to get a goode spot. If you come too late, there’s not even spot.
Many visitors soon leave after the sun just rises. But my advice is that you should not leave too early. We stay close to 8 am. During 7 am – 7:30 am, the hot air balloons flies higher and the sun is clear, the scene is even more beautiful.
Another ideal spot you can watching sunrise is at Shwesandaw Pagoda.
Similarly to dawn, the sunset is also a moment to be welcomed during the day to watch the sun slowly go down on the stupas of the temples. It is also very beautiful but in our view, the sunset is not as impressive as the dawn, because there is no blurring of fog, no hot air balloon, and no atmosphere of calm and serenity of the beginning day. Anyway, after a day of walking from temple to temple, most travelers would like to do something else to change the atmosphere. Therefore, temples that are convenient to watch the sunset always are very, very crowded, even more crowded than the dawn (probably because not everyone gets up early) so you have to go a little early to have a spot. The temple that we went to watch the sunset was Shwesandaw Pagoda (Temporarily Closed).
Other ideal places you can watching sunset are: North Guni Temple (also known as Myauk Guni), South Guni Temple, Pyathadar Hpaya Temple, Law Ka Ou Shaung Temple, Oak Kyaung Gyi Monastery, Maha Zedi Pagoda, Htilominlo Checkpoint, Pyathadar Pagoda, Guni Temple, Pyathatgyi, Thitsawadi Temple.
Boat cruise and watching sunset on Irrawaddy River
This is one of the two experiences I like most in Myanmar after watching sunrise but unfortunately it seems this activity is quite less known. From the first day to Bagan I noticed that along the way there were tablesigns writes “SHOW BOAT SERVICE” but I did not care at first because I thought it was a performance show on the boat something, haha. It is actually a boat trip on the Irrawaddy River.
The great river Irrawaddy was the source of the flourishing capital of Bagan about 10 centuries ago. Now, although not as important as before, Irrawaddy may still retain its natural beauty. SHOW boat service is a boat rental service on the Irrawaddy River.
There are many options with different schedules and prices, but I have chosen a sunset tour on the river. Boat ride on the sparkling water of the sun, the two sides are temples, pagodas, the scene is very beautiful. The boat goes within 1 hour from 5:15 PM to 6:15, the price is 12,000 kyat (about $10), can go maximum of 4 people. If you go less than 4 people like us, you can ask the tourists to go together to reduce costs. The boat is beautiful and fully equipped make me surprise, has rattan chairs, table, even have junk food on the boat.
This is the SHOW boat service card of this place. You can call for information if needed. Boat dock is also easy to find. From Nyaung U, go straight ahead follow the main road – the same road to Old Bagan. On the road, you will see road signs along the road with the logo as in this card, it is easy to see, you only follow it to find.
In addition, a bit far from the town is Mount Popa which is also a famous place, about 65 km from Bagan. This is a very spiritual place for locals (consider as the nats’ shelter – spiritual souls) so mostly local people visit. The way to go is to hire a taxi – if you go a few people (for example, go alone or two people), along the way there are many shops hanging the merging taxi boards to Mount Popa, you can go there to register. Because the taxi departs at fixed hours (normally at 7am), so they can merge visitors together, so you do not have to pay too much money. If you go with a large group as our delegation of 8 people, you should rent a car for 40,000 kyat (~ $30), very reasonable.
Bagan travel blog: What and where to eat in Bagan?
Finding good food in Bagan is easy. A hearty meal is priced from 6.000 kyats to 8.000 kyats per person. These are the restaurants we have tried and found satisfied:
This is the restaurant we are most impressed, so that only in 2 days we come back here 2 times. Reasonable price, delicious processing, the evening must be most crowded diners on the street, the staffs full energetic, enthusiasm, extremely serve fast, so eat more delicious. Each meal for 4 people ranging from 23.000 to 25.000 kyats.
Location: 5 Minutes from Thirimarlar on Main Road with other Restaurants, New Bagan, Bagan, Myanmar
Phone: +95 61 65 081
Opening hours: 8am-10.30pm
Price: dishes K1.500-8.000
Choose to eat the first meal in Bagan as it is the closest and looks very beautiful. The food here is good, the price is a bit high but still acceptable. We try every item and fried rice is the best dish.
Address: High School Road | High School Road, 4th street, Bagan 05232, Myanmar
Phone: +95 9 259 754 811
Opening hours: 11am-3pm & 5-10pm
Price: mains K300-10,000
Weather Spoon’s Restaurant and Bar
This restaurant and bar is a very popular place in the Nyaung U restaurant area. Many believe that it serves the best chicken burger in Bagan!
Address: Restaurant Row, Yarkinthar St, Nyaung Oo, Bagan, Myanmar
Phone: +95 9 430 92640
Price: mains K3700-5900
Also located in the Nyaung U restaurant area, this Italian restaurant makes yummy pizzas and pastas. The wines here are not bad either.
Location: Yarkhintar St. | Bagan zone, near Shwezigon Pagoda, Nyaung U, Bagan, Myanmar
Phone: +95 9 40263 0878
Hours: open everyday between 11:00 and 22:30
This is an Indian restaurant with very romantic space, suitable for dating. The food served was a little slow but the curries here are authentic Indian flavor and delicious.
Location: YarKinn Thar Hotel Road, Bagan, Myanmar
Phone: +95 9 204 2630
Price: Dishes K2000-8000
Hours: Mon-Sun: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Be Kind to Animals The Moon
This restaurant claims to be the first vegetarian restaurant in Bagan. I do not know if it’s right or not but it’s not important. The food here is very good. It is located near the Ananda Temple in Old Bagan.
Location: North of Ananda Temple | Old Bagan, Bagan, Myanmar
Phone: +95 9 42070 9847
Hours: 07:00 AM – 08:00 PM
Price: mains K3000-4500
This is an outdoor restaurant in New Bagan, run by, guess? yes, 7 sisters! This restaurant serves Myanmar (Burmese), Thai, Chinese and even European cuisine. I recommend try the curry yellow pig has a very impressive taste!
Location: 79 Nwe Ni Street | Situated at the Corner of 3rd Street and Nwe Ni Street, New Bagan, Bagan, Myanmar
Phone: +95 61 65 404
Price: dishes K4000-12,000
Other good choice restaurants you can refer to: Queen Restaurant, Emperor Restaurant, Harmony BBQ, Myanmar Foods House, Star Beam.
Bagan travel blog: What to buy in Bagan?
One of the great things about Bagan is that there are not too many tourists, so you can buy souvenirs that are both cheap and beautiful, typical Myanmar (instead of keychains and magnets). These are the things I find most suitable to buy as souvenirs or as gifts in Bagan.
You can find elaborate sand paintings sold outside the temples or pagodas of Bagan. A small sand painting costs 5.000 kyats while larger pictures range from 15.000 kyats to 30.000 kyats. I bought a painting from a painting artist outside a small temple. I like the way he does not offer or force me to buy, just gentle talk to me. Uncle told me he had not finished senior high school. So I guess selling sand paintings is his main source of income. I am happy to be able to help. Moreover, his paintings are really beautiful.
These handmade umbrellas are from Pathein, a small village in Ayeyarwady. They are made of cotton, silk or satin, and are elaborately decorated. I saw a lot of shops selling this type of umbrella at the restaurant area in Nyaung U.
For the first time I try this tiny Tamarind candy like coin is at the Weather Spoon restaurant. They are very sweet and addictive. You can buy the sweets Tamarind flakes in grocery stores or markets for only 1.000 kyats per package.
In Myanmar you will find many places selling gems (such as ruby). But if you are not familiar with gemstones and do not know how to distinguish real gemstones, I advise you not to buy.
Bargain: The sellers of goods / services here say very high, so it is best to bargain to pay the price of one third or half of the price they said. Sometimes I buy at half the price they said but still be lost. Read more: What to buy in Myanmar (Burma)? — Top 10 best things to buy in Myanmar.
- Explore Shwezigon Paya — The first gold-plated & most sacred pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar.
- Contemplating splendid sunrise in Bagan — An extraordinary experience!
- 5 major buddhist sites in Myanmar for pilgrimage.
- What not to do in Myanmar — 10 things every traveler should avoid while visiting Myanmar.
Are you looking for more top things to do in Bagan: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out at here.