You’re an intrepid traveler who loves to explore every corner of a destination. lug in your general preferences and let Hotwire do the rest.
One of the highest pagodas in Bagan, Shwesandaw is an imposing sight rising above the surrounding plain. It was built by King Anawrahta, the founder of the Bagan Kingdom, in 1057 AD following his conquest of the Mon Kingdom of Thaton. In accordance with ancient Pyu tradition, it was placed outside the city walls along with four other pagodas including the Shwezigon, to provide divine protection for Bagan.
Featuring five terraces and a bell-shaped stupa with a bejewelled umbrella (hti), Shwesandaw is the most elegant pagoda in the Bagan area. It’s also one of the few in the region where you can climb to the top. Narrow, steep flights of steps on all sides lead to the top, where there’s a stupa and a gilded hti. The Shwesandaw is renowned for its spectacular sunset and sunrise views over the sprawling plains of Bagan.
The shrine inside enshrines an ancient tooth relic, which is brought out for display during the annual Shwesandaw festival. The festival also features traditional plays, competitions between drum and cymbal orchestras, and a lively market selling religious icons and home wares. Thousands of pilgrims flock to the Shwesandaw each day to watch the sunset. However, the recent earthquake has led to the closure of many of Bagan’s pagodas, and this is now one of only a few where you can still enjoy the experience.
Taungoo Archaeological Museum
Taungoo Archaeological Museum is one of the best places to visit in the city. The main feature of the museum is its collection of ancient objects from the city. Moreover, it also features exhibits from other parts of the country. The museum is a good place to learn about Myanmar’s history and culture.
It is located near Shwe-sandaw Pagoda in the center of Taungoo. The old version of the pagoda was said to enshrine four strands of Buddha’s sacred hair. The pagoda was built in the shape of a gilded bell, and it is a religious landmark for the city.
The museum’s collection of artifacts dates from the Pyu city-states to modern Myanmar. The exhibition includes a wide range of items, including gold ornaments, pottery, and stone statues. The museum also has a room dedicated to the story of the Pyu kings and their conquests.
The museum has been through a renaissance since democratic reforms began in 2011. Several museums have opened across the country, and the government has invested heavily in heritage projects. The Pyu cities of Halin, Beikthano, and Sri Ksetra have been listed as World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO. Despite these successes, the country faces challenges and many archaeological sites remain unexplored. The museum’s collection is a testament to the nation’s rich history.
Myasigon Paya is a large gilded stupa that sits on a number of square receding tiers and is topped with multiple ornamental spires called hti. Flanking the base are lion statues, a common feature on Burmese temples. The paya was built in the early 12th century by a prince for merit and as a memorial to his mother.
A walk around the surrounding area is pleasant and includes a small produce market, usually bustling in the morning, along with simple eateries and teahouses. There is also a Chinese and an Indian temple nearby, another reminder of the intermixing of cultures and religions in Myanmar.
The National Museum showcases all elements of Myanmar history from geography and traditional dress to music, pottery and more. There are so many rooms and exhibits to see that you will need to plan at least half a day here. We are not normally museum fans but found it very easy to while away 2 hours here!
There is no public bus service within the city and it is best to hire a private car for A to B trips or use taxis to get around. Taxis are inexpensive and are usually about 5,000 kyat per hour or less for a full day. The hotel provides free parking on site.
With golden spires extending to the sky, Kawmudaw Paya is an impressive sight. Stroll around the temple grounds to soak in the tranquility. Then, explore the nearby monastery for a deeper understanding of this spiritual destination.
The town is also home to a lively central market and a pretty lake. If you’re interested in history, head to the Taungoo Archaeological Museum. This museum features a variety of artifacts and relics that showcase the area’s rich cultural heritage.
If you’re looking for an upscale hotel with a little extra luxury, look no further than Royal Kaytumadi Hotel. This deluxe hotel offers 63 rooms that are well-appointed with minibars, satellite TV, and complimentary wireless internet access. You can also enjoy the onsite bar and restaurant. Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, this hotel has something for everyone.
The main attraction in this charming town is the Bagan-era temples that scatter across the landscape. There are plenty of ways to explore these incredible monuments, including a balloon tour (p122; Balloons over Bagan; $40-$60, h8am-5pm).