The temples of Bagan © Lisa de Araujo
Bagan is quite simply one of Asia's most astounding sights, a seemingly impossible collection of thousands of temples and monuments scattered over a vast plain. The buildings range in condition from ruined to resplendent, although many retain the power and majesty their devout designers intended, even if they are slightly dilapidated. Most of the structures were built between the 10th and 12th centuries, when Bagan was the capital of the First Burmese Empire. Regrettably, many temples have suffered under the government's ham-fisted attempts at restoration, but others have been well-preserved by organisations like UNESCO.
The temples can best be viewed via bicycle which allows for independent exploration as bike trails link all the temples. The really incredible thing about this attraction is that it still feels relatively undiscovered and allows you that Indiana Jones excitement; you will often be the only one exploring a temple. Each one is unique so you really can spend days exploring and remain enthralled. Sunset is prime time in Bagan as locals and visitors alike head for the highest temples to enjoy the magnificent sunsets over the stupa-dotted plain. Another popular way of seeing the temples is from the air, in a balloon.
Address: Bagan is located 90 miles (145km) southwest of Mandalay. The temples are situated within the Bagan Archaeological Zone