As the sun sets over Bagan, defined outlines of pagodas gradually disappear and shift into soft silhouettes against a gentle haze. The peaceful quiet is welcomed, and the blazing temperatures finally relent just a little, as nature’s light show creates a magical backdrop to this mysterious city.
Bagan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Myanmar that’s home to more than 2,000 stupas and temples built between the 9th and 13th centuries. In it’s prime, Bagan hosted nearly 10,000 Buddhist pagodas, with both kings and residents building the ornate structures as a means of earning merit.
It’s easy to get lost among these sweeping ruins that span 26 miles, so the best way to enjoy a visit to Bagan is with a local guide or by renting a bike. Also quite popular are the hot air balloons that soar above the city at sunrise—and the sun’s morning welcome is not to be missed. It creeps up and over the treetops, beyond the towering temples, awakening this ancient kingdom once more.