Best Bagan Sunrise & Sunset Viewpoints – Discover the best viewpoints in Bagan to watch the sunrise and sunset.
You’ve seen those dreamy photos of temple tops popping through the misty tree canopy as the sky lights up. A highlight for anyone visiting Bagan, is enjoying sunrise or sunset from the top of a temple. So where’s the best place to capture those magical moments? Well, that’s a tricky one, as climbing the temples and pagodas in Bagan is no longer allowed.
We arrived in Bagan to some pretty disappointing news. Access to ALL temple and pagoda terraces and roof tops were closed. Wha? ALL of them? Yep, all of them. To rub salt to the wound, just a few days prior, some were still open. Talk about bad timing! But as they say, there’s no use crying over spilt milk. With our hopes of creating some magical temple top memories momentarily crushed, we still managed to find some pretty nice spots to compensate.
Sunrise viewpoints in Bagan
There are many places in Bagan’s archeological zone that offer breathtaking sunrise views. You just need to find them! And in order to secure a good position, you’ll need to arrive early, which often means driving in the dark!
In our hopes of finding a small temple that might still be open, we headed to this unnamed temple. We were told it was open just days prior to our visit, so thought we’d try our luck. Although not gated, the internal staircase was blocked off. With no ‘back up temple’ in mind, we had a look around the area and found a small mound which gave us a nice vantage point. The views were really lovely, so we stayed and watched the sunrise as dozens of balloons filled the sky.
If you’re coming from New Bagan, head to Dhammayazika Pagoda. Drive around the pagoda keeping it to your left. You’ll soon see a medium sized temple on your right. We recommend scoping out the area during the day to see if you can find a vantage point. Sorry, we didn’t record the exact location of the mound.
Ta Wet Hpaya
On our second morning, we drove towards a hot air balloon launching site near Sulamani Temple. We didn’t exactly know where wanted to go and stumbled upon Ta Wet Hpaya. This used to be a ‘secret’ sunrise spot and a quieter temple top option, unbeknown to us at the time. Although we were unable to enjoy the rooftop views, we witnessed a beautiful sunrise from within the walled temple grounds. The wind was in our favour and within 10 minutes of arriving, the pink sky around filled with balloons. The temple itself is small, yet very pretty, which created a beautiful backdrop. There were only a couple of other travellers floating around, so it was very quiet. It’s worth noting the wind dictates which direction the balloons fly. So there’s no guarantee they will fly over any specific temple or pagoda – we were lucky they flew right above us here.
Directly in front of Dhammayangyi Pahto, is a small hill with temple ruins. This hill provides a little elevation with beautiful vistas and from here, we experienced our favourite sunrise. As the sun emerged, dozens of balloons drifted through the sky, surrounding Dhammayangyi Pahto and neighbouring Myauki Guni Phaya. And a 180° turn provided us with beautiful views of surrounding temple tops and mountains. Although we were the first to arrive at this spot, around 30 other people joined us.
Located near Sulamani Temple, this is the offical sunrise viewpoint and an obvious choice for many travellers. And it’s probably where you’ll end up if you’re on a group tour or have a guide. We were sceptical about these man made hills that were built to compensate the closure of the temple tops. But they actually provide a reasonable view over Bagan. There will likely be hundreds of people gathered here though, so you absolutely need to arrive early to claim your space! We visited the sunrise hill during the day, however we didn’t actually witness a sunrise from the here.
Hot air balloon ride
If you’re after those aerial views of Bagan’s plains, then you’ll need to jump in a hot air balloon. The balloons only operate between October-April, which coincides with the dry season. However, all scheduled flights are subject to weather conditions. If there’s too much wind or rain, there will be no balloons! Furthermore, the wind determines the flight path, flight time, launching site and landing site. There are now 4 ballooning companies in Bagan. With over 20 years experience, the most reputable and original ballooning company are Balloons over Bagan. Other companies that have popped up over the years are STT Ballooning, Oriental Ballooning and Golden Eagle Ballooning. Flight prices start at US$320 depending on which company and package you choose and last up to 1 hour.
Sunset viewpoints in Bagan
Finding a good sunset spot was tricker than we anticipated! It’s possible to find a nice place by accident whilst exploring the area by day. So pay attention if you’re cruising around on an E-bike and make a note of the location so you can return in the evening!
Back to our favourite temple and favourite viewpoint. The hill in front of Dhammayangyi Pahto doesn’t discriminate! It offered beautiful evening views with only a handful of other travellers to share the space with.
The views from the sunset hill actually weren’t too bad. It wasn’t exactly a peaceful event, as the hoards of package tour group invaded the space. But we still managed to get a few nice photos from this spot. We were the first to arrive at sunset hill, which guaranteed us a good spot.
As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to find a nice place to see the sunset by accident. This was the case for us on our first night whilst trying to find the perfect spot! Although these photos aren’t taken from elevation, theres no denying the beauty of Myanmars sunsets!
Bagan is truely an incredible place to visit. And despite the temple tops being closed, it’s still totally worth visiting. For us, the morning skies filled with hot air balloons were our favourite. And it’s 100% worth the effort of getting out of bed early to witness! We hope our you’ve found our best Bagan sunrise & sunset viewpoints post helpful!
Planning a trip to Myanmar? Check out our other posts:
Like this post? Then pin it!