This is the one we’re sure you’ve heard – or at least seen. But what you probably didn’t know is that this iconic cultural and historical site was only officially put on UNESCO’s list on 6th July this year. With its vast grassy plains peppered with over 2,000 ancient temples and stupas, it’s hard to understand why the postcard-perfect landmark took so long to gain UNESCO recognition.
Arriving at sunrise offers the most memorable views, where the whole of Bagan’s array of pointed and domed temples slowly fade into sight, shrouded in a misty golden light with the outline of the mountains so faint they look like a sheet of torn paper cutting across the horizon.
It’s once the sun has risen that the true splendour of Bagan fully comes into focus, with temples, sculptures and monasteries alike showing off their gilded exterior under the reflected sunlight. The closer you get, the more spectacular it becomes, so take your time admiring the many sculptures and fascinating frescoes. It won’t take much imagination to transport yourself back to the 12th century, during the peak of Bagan civilisation, when this former capital thrived.