Photo: Landscape and view from Dhamma Yazika.

Central Plains of Bagan

Our rating:

Our suggested central plains circuit begins close to Old Bagan, covering numerous sites on the wide plain.





Unless you’ve managed to find an unusually good quality bike, we’d say an upgrade in transport is required. An air-con taxi is the easiest and most expensive; an e-bike might be a bit tricky battery and sandy track-wise; a horse and buggy will be cheaper, and the driver will know the back ways, but they are slow and, after a short distance on rough tracks, can become seriously uncomfortable.

View from Shwe San Daw to the northeast. Photo taken in or around Central Plains of Bagan, Bagan, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

View from Shwe San Daw to the northeast. Photo: Mark Ord

Whichever you’ve chosen, exit Ananda by the south and turn right onto Anawrahta until you see signs on the left for our first stop, Shwe San Daw. This monument can still be climbed, so it’s best known for its sunrise and sunset views. Its wide vistas are worth taking in at any time of day though and outside of dawn and dusk it’s a peaceful spot. The multiple levels of the 11th century, bare brick pagoda offer commanding views and the much later reclining Buddha out front is well worth a look as well.

One of the earliest of the large stupas in Bagan, Shwe San Daw is believed to have been built to enshrine a sacred hair relic of the Buddha, which was presented to King Anawratha.

Dhammagan-gyi and surrounds. Photo taken in or around Central Plains of Bagan, Bagan, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Dhammagan-gyi and surrounds. Photo: Mark Ord

Next is the Dhammayan-gyi which looks like the sandcastle you’ve never quite been able to pull off. This is the big one with the truncated, worn stupa. Construction commenced under the reign of Sithu I but was never completed after his son, Narathu, apparently smothered him on his death bed to speed things up a bit. The curiosities of Bagan’s largest monument don’t stop there as the entirety of the inner corridors was bricked up for reasons unknown. Theories involve a magician monk, rampaging Sri Lankan raiders or the upper structure just needing additional support. The Dhammayan-gyi is the only one of the major monuments that didn’t have its spire restored after the ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Location map for Central Plains of Bagan

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Popular attractions in Bagan

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Bagan.



Best places to stay in Bagan

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Bagan.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Bagan.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Bagan.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Bagan.
 Read up on how to get to Bagan.
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See below for more sights and activities in Bagan that are listed on Travelfish.org.


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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Bagan? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Burma_myanmar.


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