Known as the birth place of today-Myanmar, Bagan is a medieval wonder. Covering 40sq km semi-desert land, the area is now well-protected as architectural zone where over 2000 temples and pagodas are standing across the plain. All of them were build 11~13 century AD. Having Indian origin in style and later evolved into a more Myanmar influence, they are silently telling the grandeur of the kingdom. It’s in Bagan period Myanmar script was invented. Theravada Buddhism was encouraged by the emperor. Arts/craft men were employed to construct those epic monuments to propagate and perpetuate the religion. It’s the Bagan Dynasty where the kingdom sovereignty and boundary reached out as of today Union of Myanmar. Bagan is a must place to go see for all tourists and locals alike. One is not considered as a Myanmar if he has never been to Bagan during his life-time. Let’s rock n roll this cradle of Myanmar civilization!
Mt. Popa: 50km away from temples of Bagan and located 1518m (4981ft) above the sea level, Mt. Popa is an abode of Nat (spirit) and known as Mt. Olympus of Burma. Southwest of Mt. Popa is called Taung Kalat, a volcanic plug where a lovely Buddhist temple stands overlooking surrounding plain. Walking up 777steps, where monkeys are running around, is truly a good exercise to experience.
Salay: Well known for its 19th century Yoke Sone Kyaung monastery with nice wood-carving, Salay is about 36km away from Bagan. The small town has many monasteries and a good place to learn about monastic life and Buddhism. On the way, exploring colorful Chauk market is a bonus! Very few tourists visit it and a great place to interact with locals.