Photo: Missed a few spots.

Old Bagan to Nyaung U

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Compared to our Old Bagan Walled City loop, this trail is lower on monuments but higher on kilometres and is best done by bike. The starting point is the fabulous Ananda and the circuit finishes at spectacular Shwezigon, two of the most prestigious and celebrated Bagan temples.





The 11th century-built Ananda Pahto is considered to be one of the first "great" Bagan monuments and today is one of Burma’s most venerated temples. Four enormous gilded Buddhas at the centre of the temple are the highlight, but glazed tiles showing scenes from the jataka mythological tales, a Buddha footprint, fantastic light play in the temple’s surrounding corridors and small sculptures contained within inner niches are all equally captivating. One of the four large standing Buddhas is original apparently and note how the faces’ expressions curiously change as you approach the statues.

One of the cardinal point Buddhas at Ananda. Photo taken in or around Old Bagan to Nyaung U, Bagan, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

One of the cardinal point Buddhas at Ananda. Photo: Mark Ord

The popular approach is from the east (shoes are left at the very first gate) through an area absolutely awash with souvenir sellers. Like any of Bagan’s most popular sites, this one can get very busy when the tour buses arrive. Allow at least 30 minutes.

Returning to the main road it’s around two kilometres until you reach a track south to Htilo Minlo, another large and spectacular site easily spotted from the road. This red, weather-beaten temple, standing alone and surrounded by trees, effuses character and comes with far fewer souvenir stands and local pilgrims. It’s at its most impressive from a distance, though it does reveal murals and stucco work at close quarters. As with many two-storey monuments at Bagan, the upper storey is officially off limits to casual visitors, but the ground floor corridors, murals and stucco make it still well worth visiting.

Ananda Pahto is one of Burma’s most venerated temples. Photo taken in or around Old Bagan to Nyaung U, Bagan, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Ananda Pahto is one of Burma’s most venerated temples. Photo: Mark Ord

Htilo Minlo is thought to date to the 12th or early 13th century. A legend describes young King Zeyatheinkha as chosen to build the temple by his father after a white umbrella tilted in his direction. The monument follows the same design at both Sulamani and Gawdawpalin, though lacks the whitewash, with small spires on the corners of each level as the temple rises in steps with brick, almost battlement-like, ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Location map for Old Bagan to Nyaung U

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Popular attractions in Bagan

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