There is nothing like Sunrise and Sunset in Bagan. While Sunset is for the lazy ones who can’t get up early, if you do catch a Sunrise you will be rewarded with the amazing balloon filled view of sky.
Don’t run away as the soon as the Sun goes down, remain for the dazzling display of colors once the Sun goes down the horizon. Just before the darkness when the temple lights are switched on, you will witness the glowing temples under a sky filled with myriad color. Believe me, still till the very end you will not regret it.
There are numerous temples in Bagan (though the no. is going down rapidly) from where you can view the Sunrise or Sunset. It is important to understand the temples of Bagan are considered very sacred and many of them are still in use by the Burmese devotees.
So, as a tourist it becomes your responsibility to respect the sentiment of the people and act in a well behaved and responsive manner. Do not disrespect the temples and the local cultures, you are stupid if you do that and ruining this beautiful experience for everyone. It is only natural that govt. will impose restrictions which will ultimately mar the whole experience.
1. Narathihapatae Hpaya
This is a small temple located quite further away, because of the distance it is far less crowded. On the downside you have to travel quite a bit in the dark irrespective of you are staying in New Bagan or Nyungwe Shaw.
2. Shwe San Daw Pagoda
Shwe San Daw Pagoda gets the popular choice award and rightly so. It’s spacious (a very large platform), and rewards the people with sweeping views of the surrounding plain. Another plus is its location, the Shwe San Daw Pagoda is located right in the main Old Bagan area very close to the wall.
On the downside it can get really crowded around the sunset, it is advised to get here in time to grab the best spot.
Probably one of the most visited temple in Bagan for sunset and sunrise views. Although, Buledi isn’t very tall but its main advantage is that it is located on the main road and hence provides an easy accessibility if you are coming from Nyungwe shaw town. Just in case if you find Buledi is closed (it can be for repairs and other reasons) there is one smaller temple very near to it that you can climb to get to see the fabulous sunset views of Bagan.
4. Thabeik Hmauk
Thabeik Hmauk is located near to the more popular Sulamani temple. This one has a clear advantage of being away from the big crowds
5. Oak Kyaung Gyi
Though small in height, Oak Kyaung Gyi more than makes it by providing a solitary sunset experience in Bagan.
6. Thitsar Wadi Paya
Make a visit to Thitsarwadi for sunset or sunrise if you are staying in new bagan area. The temple itself is very old, been built in 1334 by king Saw Monnit. The temple has a three storey architecture which defies the usual two storey norm found in other Bagan temples. Inside the temple you will find beautifully done stuccos and murals painted on the inner walls.
7. Nan Myint Tower, Bagan
Nan Myint Tower is probably the tallest structure in the Bagan to view a sunrise and sunset. Though it is not free to visit as the Bagan temples, and you have pay an entrance fee of $5/ 8000 Kyat to get to the top. The viewing platform provides a sweeping view of the Bagan temples area. Unlike the Bagan temples, many of which are closed for tourists to climb, you can still climb Nan Myint Tower.
Nan Myint Tower undoubtedly has the best sunrise and sunset view. The disadvantage is that it is located quite further away from both Old and New Bagan town.
8. Pyathada paya
Considered a a secret temple of Bagan, Pyathada paya sunset views are gorgeous! The temple is located behind Sulamani. Pyathada paya’s main disadvantage – far from both old and new bagan, is actually its biggest advantage as it helps keep the crowd away. The temple has wonderful panoramic views from the roof, which is its top platform.