Best Open Temples in Bagan

by @agirlwhoblooms
Best Open Temples in Bagan

Suffice to say, temple hopping in Bagan is not what it once was after closure in early 2018, following the earthquake that weakened their structure.

It’s now much harder to find an open temple that you can climb, and even more so one that is not crowded with tourists. However, they are there, and this is why you need extra time in Bagan than what you would have before.

What people won’t tell you is that there are actually dozens of temples still open, and they are not part of the five listed by the archaeological society. These are temples that have not yet been closed.

Lucky for you, we worked our A$$ off to find a handful of beautiful places to take pictures from, both known and unknown to the regular tourist. Please be mindful sharing these locations. The more people that visit them, the higher the chance there is that they will be closed down. Here’s our list of the best open temples in Bagan.

1) Temple Behind Dhammayazaka

Directions: Head towards Dhammayazaka Pagoda. Facing the entrance of the monument, head left and you will find several temples. The temple that is open is towards the back.

Popularity: Can’t say as we weren’t there for sunrise or sunset. It was empty when we were there and we reckon it would be best for sunrise because it seemed like the temple was directly in the balloons’ path.

Coordinates: 21.145138, 94.88222

2) 360 Degree Open Roof Temple

Just behind a cluster of Pagodas (No. 3 on our list), take a small path through the undergrowth and you will come out into a clearing with a lone temple in the middle. This temple offers views of both sunrise and sunset.

Popularity: The temple was quite full looking during sunset hour when we went to explore the Pagodas.

Coordinates: 21.148057, 94.871913

3) Stairway to Pagodas

Stairway to Pagodas isn’t its actual name but in this cluster of about half a dozen pagodas, there’s a particular pagoda towards the back that has, what loosely could be described as, stairs.

Be careful climbing these so called stairs as they’re very narrow, but once up, you’ll have a perch to watch the sunset.

Popularity: There were quite a few people up on the pagoda when we were there but not enough that it took away from the experience or was ever overcrowded.

Coordinates: 21.149777, 94.871041

4) Lay Myet Hna Pagoda

Or so the name is on Map.Me. We found this temple quite by accident as the other temple we were searching for nearby had been closed just the day before.

AGWB tip: The gate to the temple is locked. You will have to ask the friendly caretaker who sells paintings at this temple to bring you up. He will free of charge on the basis you only stand where he permits you. Not good for sunset, however, where you can stand does face sunrise.

Popularity: In the short time we were there, guides in the know brought tourists to the temple for the caretaker to allow them up. However, it was never crowded.

Coordinates: 21.148256, 94.860375

5) 360 Degree Temple (Sunrise Temple)

The renowned 360 degree temple, also known as Sunrise Temple.

If you haven’t heard of it, you’ve probably not been looking at ‘Best Temples in Bagan’ guides. Located in the middle of everything, this temple has uninterrupted views in each and every direction.

AGWB tip: Get there early and park your e-bike not at the entrance but a little before the entrance along the path because you will get blocked in very soon as droves and people make their way to watch the sun go down.

Popularity: As you can guess by our tip, it’s a very popular spot. Many of the locals bring tourists here, so the only way to assure yourself of a safe and comfortable perch is by getting there early.

Coordinates: 21.16147, 94.867761

6) Sunset Temple

This temple looks derelict and completely forgotten because it’s overgrown with shrubbery. Close to the bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, pull in off the main road between Old Bagan and New Bagan where there are several pagodas. Pass them and continue down the dirt path to find this little known temple.

AGWB tip: As our given name suggests, this is a fantastic temple to watch an uninterrupted view of the sunset from. You could see some balloons at sunrise, too, however, we reckon they’d be a little too far away.

Popularity: We were there for sunset and there wasn’t another soul around. We were all alone and felt like we were as close to the sunset as possible.

Coordinates: 21.158934, 94.853907

7) Open Roof Temple

Not far from Taungbi Village is a temple with open roof access that’s located amongst a collection of small temples and pagodas.

This temple is worth visiting as it’s surrounded by pagodas and temples so the view is really nice. However, for sunrise, we think the balloons would be too far in the distance to be an impactful sight. It would be a better sunset spot.

Popularity: This temple is very popular with tour groups, so go to this temple if you’re struggling to find an open temple, want to check it off your list or just want to go for an afternoon ride on the e-bike with a place to go. However, for either sunrise or sunset, we recommend that you don’t make this a priority spot.

Coordinates: 21.178843, 94.872039

8) Platform View Temple

It’s beautiful with many temples surrounding it, making for some beautiful Bagan photos. We took some of our best pictures here, and got so many different angles on this place. Word of warning, it does get busy at sunrise and sunset.

Word of warning, it does get busy at sunrise and sunset.

It’s beautiful with many temples surrounding it, making for some beautiful Bagan photos. We took some of our best pictures here, and got so many different angles on this place. Word of warning, it does get busy at sunrise and sunset.

Coordinates: 21.176803, 94.881453

AGWB tip: Once you climb the stairs, you’ll come to a platform. Everyone will continue climbing the temple, however, you will be the savvy one and you will sit down on the platform above the stairs on the lower level (as seen in the photo). Everyone who had been fighting for a spot on top of the pagoda for the best view will be looking down on you with envy as the view is also amazing from the small platform and much more comfortable. The view is also amazing, it’s great for photos and as the platform only holds one person, nobody can obstruct your view.

Directions: Go to the Alodawpyi temple, the large temple with the gold pagoda. This temple is in the field behind it.

Popularity: Crowded

We’re hearing word that this temple may be closed. That’s not confirmed as we know for fact that the other three or four temples around this one are locked, so perhaps people are mistaken. Check it out in the afternoon first before dedicating a valuable sunrise to it.

9) Pagoda Cluster Temple

None of the temples in this location are open, but you’re not going for the temples. You’re going for the pagodas and the dramatic sight of the hot air balloons rising with the sun.

When planning your sunrises, we recommend that you go to this temple for your first mornings so you can see the path of the balloons and figure out where you want to be for the next morning. Do bear in mind, the direction of the hot air balloons does vary according to the wind.

Best thing about this location, is that the hot air balloons from here are really big, so your photos from this location will be really dreamy. We discovered this place on our last sunrise in Bagan and was the picture that inspired our preset, Copper Touch (Slide right to see the before).

Directions: This cluster of temples is on Google maps, but it’s not near the Old Bagan area, so it gets very little foot traffic from tourists. Search for Soo Lay Gon Group on google maps.

Popularity: Off the grid. No other tourists in sight. An AGWB find. Tag #AGWB if you use this location and I’ll share on my Instagram stories.

Coordinates: 21.178967, 94.892154

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Jules January 18, 2019 - 8:13 am

Heading here soon and this was so helpful! Thank you Siobhan!

@agirlwhoblooms January 18, 2019 - 10:04 am

You’re most welcome, Jules! Just a word of warning, I’m hearing from fellow travellers that Temple 9 on this list may be closed. That hasn’t been confirmed yet to me and I would be surprised, to be honest, but it may well be.

@agirlwhoblooms January 18, 2019 - 10:17 am

Sorry, I meant Temple 8, not 9.


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