Our Bagan visit was filled with wow moments that we had a chance to admire the perfect spectacular Bagan sunrise and sunset. It was like magics happend in our life and we will never forget these moments. We have researched extensively over 2,200 temples and pagodas in Bagan to find out the best location for Bagan sunset and sunrise. We narrowed down in this list our the best Bagan temples and their alternatives with all the details on where to find the best Bagan sunrise and sunset!
Best Bagan temples for both Sunrise and Sunset
1) Thitsarwadi Temple: Close up of Balloons over Bagan
If you want to get the perfect stunning photos of Bagan with the baloons and morning colors then Thitsarwadi Temple is definitely a place for you. There are many hot air balloons that rise over Bagan fly right over this temple. The balloons are very close and big enough to make you feel like you can touch it. The hot air balloons float slowly in your direction and eventually over your head, making it great to make the time-lapse video. You can also get cool instagram photoes with the silhouette of nearby golden temple.
This smaller temple is located off the main road leading from New Bagan to the bus station. If you are coming from New Bagan, it is just past Dhammayazika Pagoda (a very big golden pagoda that is impossible to miss). Look for a small sign that signals the turnoff. When you enter the temple, there are stairs up on either side.
2) Ta Wet Hpaya: The Secret Temple
Ta Wet Hpaya is a secret temple located in the middle of the Bagan Archaeological zone, making it a great Bagan temples to admire sunrise and sunset. What I like about this temples is that the location can’t be beat and there were not crowded people. If you could manage to get up early (let’s say 5 am), you will only share the sunrise with a few other people ( the sames goes for the sunset).
It is quite difficult to find the temple since it is well off the main road. So check the map below for the exact location. After parking, pass through the archway and enter the temple on the left side. The stairs up are on the left side inside the temple.
You can check it here: https://goo.gl/maps/F82MM5YxaWx
3) Shwesandaw Pagoda: A Well Known Spot
Another Bagan temple that is quite popular for both sunrise and sunset is Shwesandaw Pagoda. It gives uninterrupted views of the vast plain and is a great spot to watch the balloons slowly rise in the distance. Better find yourself the temple location, get up early and drive ebike to be here real quick, then find a good spot, otherwise, you will have to fight for the chance to snap a photos as many people will be here for the sunrise too.
This pagoda is also popular for sunset, but I thought it was better as a sunrise spot since the parking lot with all the tour buses is quite visible during sunset but is hidden behind the temple during the sunrise. Nothing ruins a picture quite like a parking lot of cars and buses.
Best Bagan Temples for Sunrises
Bagan sunrises are truly iconic. Temples as far as the eye can see, a morning mist rising over the plain, a rainbow coloured sky and hot air balloons drifting over the horizon. Our mornings in Bagan are some of our favourite travel moments that we’ve ever experienced and are one of the highlights of our Myanmar adventures.
4) Low ka Oushang Pagoda
A great spot for the sunrise is Law Ka Ou Shaung. This temple gives great sunrise views with the well known Shwesandaw Pagoda in the background. I managed to get a spot high up on one of the higher levels that gave great views without anyones head (or camera) in my way. It took a bit of clambering and was a quite precarious position with a long drop if I had fallen – so be careful! There was a small crowd here, but nothing compared to some of the more well known sunrise spots. And people were quite gracious in moving out of the way for other people to take a photo.
Low ka Oushang, a small, slightly off the beaten track pagoda seemed like the perfect spot to capture the best Bagan sunrise.
- Easy to access second level terrace (with the possibility to climb even higher if you want to and don’t mind heights!)
- Gorgeous views overlooking scores of temples on the sacred plain – you can see almost the entire Bagan plain from here
- The family who look after the pagoda open it well before sunrise
- It’s slightly off the beaten track and so it attracts a relatively small crowd. On the two mornings we watched the sunrise here we were joined by less than 15 people at the pagoda.
- We didn’t come across anyone selling anything. Just to note: the sellers in Bagan are harmless and are often young kids but their persistence can be frustrating when you are trying to enjoy the moment.
Getting There: This temple can be accessed from two different directions. One way is to drive as if going to the popular Shwesandaw Pagoda and turn right on a small dirt road just past it. Follow this and Law Ka Ou Shaung will be on your right side. Alternatively, you could turn off the main road and drive from the opposite direction, with the pagoda being on your left side. Check the map below for specifics!
2) Sunrise at Buledi Temple
Buledi is very easily accessible and is situated off main road between Old Bagan and Nyaung-U. It has fab views to the east for sunrise and the west for sunset but it is a bit of a steep climb to the top.
Best temples for Bagan Sunsets
The ancient town is at its finest as the blazing sun sinks slowly to earth and a rainbow of colours fill the sky. Our evenings in Bagan were spent atop the temples and pagodas drinking in the beautiful sunset scenes and trying to capture every detail so we could relive the incredible moments time and time again.
5) Pyathetgyi Pagoda: Popular Sunset Spot
This pagoda is well known but worth braving the crowds for the sunset views! I arrived well before the sunset and scored a great spot to watch the sun go down. While I waited, I got to see more of the locals life in Bagan when a huge herd of cows came by, led by a local; it was a lot of fun to see.
Because this pagoda is popular, you will see small shops selling souvenirs outside of it as well as cold drinks. After a hot day exploring, nothing beats watching a sunset with an ice cold coca cola.
Getting There: This pagoda is located pretty far into the plain and can only be accessed on dirt roads. These roads can be quite taxing on the battery of an ebike – if you are using one, make sure you have sufficient battery before venturing there!
6) North Guni Temple
Some of our favourite Bagan memories involve giggling uncontrollably as we squeezed through impossibly tiny spaces to eventually perch on a ledge 7 storeys high at the North Guni temple. The beautiful sunset views were entirely worth the effort!
North Guni is slightly off the beaten path and is accessed via a dirt track making getting there a lot of fun on electric bikes. The temple attracts a relatively small sunset crowd, helped by the fact that the large tour buses cannot reach the temple.
You can climb to the sky! With some climbing it’s possible to get an amazing position high over the temple plain and equally amazing views come as part of the package!
The drive home under the shadow of the temples is a true bucket list moment!
7) Pyathadar Hpaya
Despite our reluctance to follow the crowds we wanted to try out Pyathadar Hpaya, one of the busier temples on the Bagan sunrise trail. Also known as Pya-Tha-Da Paya, it has one of the biggest terraces of all the temples in Bagan and its location made it the perfect place to watch the sunset over Bagan.
Pyathadar Hpaya’s has an epic sunset view and watching the sunset here is a truly breathtaking experience.
Although it is a little away from the main tourist route, Pyathadar Hpaya is accessible to buses so it’s almost guaranteed that you will share your sunrise moment with many others! On the flip side, there is a huge terrace meaning there is room for everyone.