When I lived in Bagan as an ex-pat, I had the opportunity to visit a lot of pagodas and temples but not all 2000 of course! So to save both of our time, I am only sharing the best of the best pagodas and temples to see in Bagan, Myanmar. Some of these also offer the best sunset in Bagan. On saying that watching the sunrise with loads of hot air balloon is something else too! And I have included the secret temples for sunrise as well. Let’s go!

Read 3 full day Bagan itinerary here.

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Thinking where to watch the best sunset in Bagan

Best pagodas and temples to see in Bagan, Myanmar

First thing first, what is the difference between the pagoda and temple?

The answer is simple guys, Pagoda looks like a dome and you CANNOT enter inside but in the temples, you CAN.

Finding the perfect sunrise/sunset spot has become trickier as the temples are getting shut, and a lot of information on many travel blogs and maps is suddenly becoming useless. So, I decided to see it for myself and share with you the names of the best temples and pagodas in Bagan.

So, why are the temples being shut?

One reason I found is climbing old stairs in old temples can be dangerous to people and the monuments too. So, to protect them the authority decided to ban the climb. Another reason I found is, there was an architectural study being undertaken to test the capacity of the temples. It’s due to finish soon. It’s maybe worth mentioning that later this year they will be reopening some of the rooftop temples.

All the pagodas and temples in this list are free to enter at the time of writing.

Note

Don’t forget to carry a valid Bagan Archaeological Zone ticket, take a torch, wear a high-factor sunscreen, and be careful of scorpions as you’ll have to remove your footwear each time you enter these holy places. Smart idea is to bring a carry bag with you. Although Bagan gets crowded with tourists, you can find yourself completely alone at times and you may even have a whole temple to yourself as you sit and watch the sunrise!

Now in no particular order, here are the best temples and pagodas I recommend that offer the best sunset in Bagan.

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Ananda Temple

Ananda Temple is the masterpiece built with the mix of Myanmar and Indian architectural styles. It was one of the first great temples to be built in Bagan and is well preserved. It is also one of Bagan’s best known and most beautiful temples. Inside the four walls of the temple, there are four standing Buddhas, each facing a distinct direction. Oh, and it is wheelchair accessible!

There are also over 1400 inset Buddhas offered by devotees on the wall and as are the wall paintings, found when workers were cleaning walls many many moons ago. It is an ancient but interesting temple, that is a must-see in Bagan.

If you missed it, watch the quick videos, here ->  check out the “Myanmar” stories on Instagram.

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Shwesandaw Pagoda

Shwesandaw Pagoda has five terraces, which means it offers the best sunset views. However, during my visit climb to the top was banned, otherwise, it would have been one of the best sunsets in Bagan! As you can see in front of the stairs there is a “no-climb” sign. In fact, most of the popular temples and pagodas are now banned for climbing. Having said that, some locals were offering to show a temple that is open to climbing. (I didn’t try it, so can’t comment on it, let me know in comments if you have)

Where to see the sunset in Bagan?

Option no 1.

There are two hills made as viewpoints overlooking the most famous temples in the area. FREE entrance but don’t forget to carry your Bagan Archaeological Zone ticket. There were officers checking its validity at the gate. Below are the pictures from one of the viewpoints.

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On one side of the hill, you have beautiful temples, and on another side, you have the river flowing. Both offer the best sunset in Bagan.

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An Asian version of “That Wanaka Tree” in New Zealand!

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Option no 2.

I recommended staying at the Kumudara hotel in my Day 1 Bagan itinerary. And the reason is that, if you stay there, there won’t be any need to rush because the hotel is situated within the Bagan archaeological area and the temple they maintain is right outside the gate! It is built more like a fort than a pagoda or a temple though. So, on the roof, it can easily fit more than 30 guests but nobody was there when I went. Hotel staff kindly opened the temple door and I could climb up a few stairs and there you are with an uninterrupted view of Bagan temples! It was a cloudy day for me, but I have no doubt this spot would be perfect for that best sunset in Bagan pictures. If you go, tell them you read about it here.



Option no 3.

Mimalaung Kyaung Temple

Hands down, Mimalaung Kyaung Temple offered the best sunrise view in Bagan. It was also the ONLY temple WITHOUT a no-climb sign. At the front of the temple, you will see a couple of lion-like creatures that are common at temples in Burma. Once you climb the stairs, the view is unbeatable.

Gloomy morning but the warm rays of the sun, birds chirping away, greenery as far as you can see and nothing but the quietness was a dream setup. I recommend going early in the morning, so you can have this serene place all to yourself.

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Shwezigon Pagoda

While most of the pagodas and temples are in old Bagan. Shwezigon Pagoda is located in Nyaung-U north of Old Bagan and is visited daily by worshippers. It is one of the oldest, and the second-largest pagoda in Myanmar! The architecture is one a kind and the temples surrounding the Pagodas have fine craftsmanship too.

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Sein Nyet Ama and Sein Nyet Nyima

This is a set of a temple and a pagoda in 1 place! Turns out they are known as Sister Temples. Little far away from the crowds but still featuring the bagan beauty. Sein Nyet Ama is the elder sister and is a temple featuring the typical square structure with four entrances. Sein Nyet Nyima is actually a spire influenced pagoda. Beautiful inside and out, and is another best temple to visit in Bagan.

Mount Popa Monastery

Mount Popa Monastery is about an hour’s drive away from the flat landscape of Bagan. Read more about that adventures day here.

NEXT 

If you have visited all of the best temples listed here, I have a challenge for you. Can you find the temple below?



When you are out and about exploring, sometimes get away from the beaten track and you may discover the untouched and undiscovered sunrise/sunsets views. That’s the magic of Myanmar!

I hope this best sunset in bagan article helps you plan your trip.

Best of Bagan, Myanmar – 3 full days itinerary – Day 1 click hereDay 2 here and Day 3 here.

This 3 days itinerary will give you an idea of what to do, see and where to eat in Bagan, Myanmar. I have also included some bonus information regarding traveling to Bagan. So, check it out now!

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What I used to take these photos:

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera

This has been my favourite Camera so far. I love how my pictures come out crisp and colourful. It also has a screen which is useful when vblogging. You can check out what I meant on my Instagram which is here.

Accessories For Canon GX7 Mark ||

Check it out here

GoPro HERO4 Silver

This is the good old Go pro that I take with me everywhere. I recommend it because it is small, lightweight and waterproof. I have had made many memories with this trusted item and looking forward to more.

Accessories For Go Pro Hero 4

Check it out here

SanDisk 64 GB Memory Cards

I have been using SanDisk since my first camera which was back in 2009. They build quality memory cards. I recommend getting at least two, just in case something happens to one of them.

All-in-One Memory Card Reader

Do you think it’s a hassle of plugging your camera into your computer? This memory card reader will fit cards of all sizes and make an easy transfer to your computer. The reader supports all popular SD memory card formats, including SD™/SDHC™/SDXC™ memory cards, UHS-I SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and microSDHC™/microSDXC™ memory cards. It is also compatible with the latest UDMA 7-enabled CompactFlash cards.

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If this helped you share it with your circle. So they can find the best sunset in Bagan too <3

Let me know in comments if you –

Where to watch the sunset in Bagan (With photos)
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21 thoughts on “Where to watch the sunset in Bagan (With photos)

  • August 26, 2018 at 3:22 pm
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    What a beautiful place! Love the architecture!

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  • August 26, 2018 at 3:43 pm
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    I recently went to Yangon and explored Shwedagon Pagoda. It was fascinating but I didn’t have the time in my trip to get to any other parts of Myanmar. I will be heading back there though so I will pin your post to my Myanmar board. 🙂

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  • August 26, 2018 at 4:11 pm
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    The architectural design are really very artistic. Any reason why not possible to get inside the pagoda? I guess there is no specific dress code for the tourists to visit those pagodas and temples in Myanmar, right?

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  • August 27, 2018 at 7:10 am
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    What a beautiful place. I never knew the difference between a temple and a pagoda. It’s too bad they closed off the temples, but it makes sense.

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  • August 27, 2018 at 11:56 am
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    Love your photos! The architecture of temples and pagoda are so unique and fascinating. Seems like an awesome experience.

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  • August 27, 2018 at 4:58 pm
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    What a beautiful place Myanmar is. I didn’t know anything about Pagodas yet, very informative post. These are some really great pics.

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  • August 27, 2018 at 7:31 pm
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    i really would love to visit this beautiful place one day you take great shots

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  • August 28, 2018 at 1:06 am
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    I did not know the difference between a pagoda and a temple ~ thanks for helping me learn!! These looks absolutely amazing, what an experience!!

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  • August 28, 2018 at 2:43 am
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    Your photography is amazing! This guide is so useful for someone who wants to make the most of their trip to Bagan!

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  • August 28, 2018 at 5:06 am
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    This is such a beautiful place! It reminded me of Bodh Gaya and I have been meaning to post pics of my time there. Thank you for the reminder and the picture are stunning!!

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  • August 28, 2018 at 5:47 am
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    As the title suggests all pics portray wonderful pagodas and temples. I have seen famous pagodas in other part not not in Bagan.

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  • August 28, 2018 at 8:51 am
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    These are all absolutely incredible!!! I would love to visit here!

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  • August 28, 2018 at 2:24 pm
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    Myanmar has been on my list for long but I havent been able to make it yet. Your post has only inspired me to go for it soon. I loved the Buddha statues in Ananda temple and that tree in the river is so beautiful.

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  • August 29, 2018 at 12:37 am
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    Those temples seem very impressive to be in with those large ceilings – wouldn’t like to step in a scorpion either 🙂

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  • August 29, 2018 at 4:16 am
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    I have heard such nice things about Myanmar and after reading your post, I am going to visit Myanmar soon. Bookmarked!

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  • August 29, 2018 at 7:25 am
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    These are all so breathtaking. What an amazing trip! I would love to visit and see these temples one day!

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  • March 3, 2019 at 4:17 am
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    Hi!

    We loved your photos, and totally agree with your idea of exploring the archeological zone without any specific destination in mind! Sometimes that was the best way to find the coolest temples.

    Reply
  • October 25, 2019 at 11:37 am
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    I wonder about the 3-day tickets. You have to buy a ticket as soon as you enter town, so if you arrive late in the day and go straight to a hotel your first day is already gone, leaving only 2 days? Or can you stay 4 nights and spend 3 whole days visiting temples and pagodes?

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    • October 28, 2019 at 5:12 pm
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      I would say the new day starts the next day when you start exploring!

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      • October 28, 2019 at 11:47 pm
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        That would sound the most logical to me too, but I’ve read stories of people having to buy the ticket on arrival by bus or plane, even if it’s evening already.

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        • October 30, 2019 at 6:09 pm
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          I meant yes you have to buy it the same day/night you arrive but you can use it from the next day if arrival was late at night.

          Reply

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