How to get to Bagan
- It takes about one hour and twenty minutes to fly from Yangon to Bagan. There are daily flights to Bagan from Yangon, and regular flights from Mandalay, which take only 20 minutes. By overland, it takes 12 hours from Yangon and 7 hours from Mandalay by Coach. There is a regular train between Bagan and Mandalay too. The newly constructed railway between Mandalay and Bagan was unveiled in September, 1996. Express trains from Yangon to Mandalay stop at Thazi, from where it is accessible to Bagan by a 3-hour drive. There is also a double-decker steamer service between Mandalay and Bagan and the cruises " the Road to Mandalay" operated by E & O Express, RV Pandaw, and Irrawaddy Princess.
The road to Bagan
- Although this region is part of the dry zone and the most arid part the country with in-significant annual rainfall, it is fertile enough for rice and other crops. In contrast to other parts of the dry zone, this area has been irrigated since Bagan Anawrahta founded the first Myanmar Empire. Villagers walk along with loads of goods. Small groves of toddy palm trees are present in the near distance, some toddy climbers are climbing them to harvest juice to produce an alcoholic beverage.
- As you approach further the surroundings become drier and parched. Water becomes less visible, Htanaung trees now line the road almost exclusively with neem trees as reinforcement in certain places. Typical dry zone crops like maize, chilies, pulses, sesame, onions and groundnuts replace much of the paddy plants seen earlier on the journey. Clouds of dust rise from the bullock cart tracks beside the road. There are some cattle market along the road in an open space with over one hundred cattle and two to three hundred people milling around on the dusty earth floor. Meikhtila - where the Mandalay-Yangon road intersects the Bagan-Taunggyi road. The landscape remains brown and parched, sandy land still sparsely covered with cacti, shrubs and thorny bushes. Eucalyptus and lead trees continue to line the roadside. Htanaung, Neem, Tamarind, Cotton and toddy palm, characteristic dry zone trees are a constant feature. Visitors frequently see a group of women sit under a huge shade some distance from their village, busy spinning cotton. Toddy groves are now a permanent fixture beside the road, larger than those sighted before reaching Meikhtila. Toddy shacks lie amongst the groves, temporary abodes for climbers collecting toddy juice. Cooking Jaggery is major cottage industry.
- As you approach Kyaukbadaung the terrain becomes uneven, the road rises and falls slightly, there are a few twists and turns, small sandy reddish earth dunes appear on both sides of the road. Away to the northwest, 10km northeast of Kyaukpadaung, Mt. Popa an extinct volcano, the highest landmark in the central dry zone, rises 1,518 m. Established as National Parks, the Popa Mountain Park is now verdant and green with a rich flora especially of medicinal plants. It is the center for Nat worship in the shrine of the Mahagiri Nats, where pilgrims flock annually for the Festival of Spirits held in the month of Nayon (May / June). The road now heads northwest towards Nyaung Oo, 30 miles away. The road runs through two sandy streambeds, each over 200 feet wide. Low hills, denuded of vegetation lie to the south, with white and told pagodas on their summits. Bagan is just three miles away.
- The main gate of the eastern wall, only left out of the twelve gates of the wall of the city which king Pyinbya established in 849 AD.
The Ananda Temple
- Completed in AD 1091 by King Kyanzittha, the name of this most majestic of temples means endless wisdom and symbolizes the wisdom the Buddha. Designed as a square, there are with four large vestibules entering symmetrically from each side forming a perfect Greek. There are four niches deep in the temple facing the four cardinal compass points each containing a single 31 foot tall standing Buddha statue representing the four previous Buddha's. Two Buddha footprints mounted on pedestals stand on the west porch. This Temple is the "mother of all temples" in Bagan, containing representative works of all the arts, architecture, glazed plaques, woodcarvings, stucco, terra cotta and stone sculptures found in all Myanmar temples.
- Over 66 meters high, and built by King Alaungsithu in the middle of the 12th century, this white stucco building overtops all other monuments as the highest pagoda on the Bagan plain.Shwegugyi temple
- Standing on the high brick plinth, this temple was built by King Alaungsithu in 1131 AD. The arch pediments, pilasters, plinth and cornice molding are decorated with fine stucco carvings, evident of Myanmar architecture of the early 12th Century.
- This temple was built by King Narapatisithu during the 12th century. It is about 60 meters high with a fine view over the ruins of the Bagan plains and the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River.