There is something incredible about looking at the sunset or sunrise from the top of a temples in Bagan, among the thousands of shadows on this magical landscape. Despite a recent ban, there are still a few you can enjoy the view from.
Pin This For Later
Reasons for the Ban
The temples in Bagan are from the thirteenth century, which makes them particularly old. Following a 6.8 earthquake in 2016, the temples were even more subject to crack and create accidents for whoever is climbing them.
Additionally, an American tourist fell and killed herself after falling off a Temple in 2017, which questioned the safety of tourists.
Since then, the government has installed a ban on climbing the temples, with fences at the bottom of stairs in the temples, and placed “do not climb” signs all over the land.
The amount of tourists climbing the temples has also created a problem of erosion and accelerate the destruction of the sites, which is a real shame.
Finally, those temples have a very important place in the locals’ beliefs and tourists can easily disrespect them (by not taking off their shoes for example)
Even with many good reasons, locals have shared mixed reactions to the climbing ban and have even started a petition to allow tourists to climb some of the temples with stronger structures.
Temples we found that you can still climb (as per October 2018)
Despite the ban, we still wanted to see the sunset on this magical landscape, see what this was all about! We though that, maybe, the majority of temples would have a ban, but we were hoping that a few were left for lucky people.
We asked our hotel who told us no temple was left to climb, we looked online, but still could not find anything. We thought that this was a shame but we were not going to climb any temple that was forbidden. We decided to go on with our day and drive around to areas we haven’t been in yet.
After a little while, a local stopped us on his bike and asked us if we were looking for a temple to climb, he told us that some were left and he would happily show it to us. We were delighted! We followed our guide on dusty paths and through bushes, to arrive to the temples, which, funnily, was very close to busy sites! I guess nobody was paying attention to look up!
The climb was not that easy, but it was beautiful.
Location: 21.176919, 94.881472
Later on, on our way back, we decided to stop to take a walk around a bunch of temples on the side of the road. After a few minutes, we noticed there were people standing on top of a temple we could see in the distance! We jumped back on our bikes and tried to find it among the trees.
Location: 21.150000, 94.861250
There were a few tourists downstairs, but barely anybody at the top. This temples was much easier to climb and there were platforms you could stand on sit on. A much more practical temple, however the view from the first one was more impressive.
Here are a few extras we found during our research which might be worth a try (we but haven’t been there personally, please bear in mind to avoid climbing unrestored or forbidden pagodas)!
- Near Utrecht, temple at 21.14805, 94.871902) has stairs and is still accessible.
- Temple next to She Myet Hna, at 21.169197,94.857, however the views are interrupted by the road and town buildings.
- Temple at 21.156784, 94.867959. It is located right below the trajectory of the balloons, so it is a great spot for sunrises.
- Temple at 21.178849, 94.872101
- Temple at 21.159125, 94.860988, marked as “Accessible roof”
- Temple at 21.16147, 94.867761 apparently the views are great for both sunrise and sunset.
- Temple at 21.145187, 94.8817. It is more accessible with stairs.
Enjoy yourself, but don’t climb a pagoda you shouldn’t, it could be dangerous, and this temple might need preservation.
And if you know other spots, don’t hesitate to comment below!
While you are staying in Bagan, learn about the Sad story about the Old Bagan vs the New Bagan, why it happened and how you can make a difference. Also generally in Myanmar, get tips on how to travel in a responsible way.