When you just searched for “where to watch the sunrise Bagan,” “Sunrise Bagan” or “best sunrise place Bagan,” you should consider reading this before continuing your research.
Bagan is one of the most famous destinations in Myanmar, and it’s just gaining popularity. However, I didn’t enjoy my time there, and I find the city very similar to Siem reap in Cambodia – more on that in my next post. In this post, I warn you from a viral scam me and my friends got victim off and which nearly got us in big trouble.
Bagan is famous for its hundreds of temples and especially for the sunrise views from a higher point somewhere around the city. It’s a growing hotspot in Myanmar, and a lot of locals go there as well to visit the temples. The most popular thing to do is to visit the Sunrise from one of the temples, and everyone was telling us how beautiful it is. And here the scam takes place.
Actually, since a few weeks or months, it’s not allowed to climb the temples anymore. In 2016 an earthquake occurred in that region and destroyed some of the temples, others were damaged or party broken. In addition to that, even the stable temples suffer when hundreds of people climb the temples every day. Furthermore, Bagan is listed as one of the UNESCO world heritages just since June 2019 (3 Weeks before I’ve been there) which adds extra caution to the temples. All that leads to the fact that the government forbids to climb on any of the temples.
Unfortunately, nobody told us about this and online are hundreds of blog entries which tell you which temple is the best to climb on. These are old, however, and not valid anymore. We got up at 4 and started with our ebikes at 4.30 in the direction of the most famous temple. As we arrived there, it was closed, and at this moment two local kids or young boys came with their bikes and told us that it’s closed, but they know a better place. I know it was stupid to go with them, and I don’t understand why we went with them, but I had the feeling we couldn’t lose too much time else we would miss the Sunrise. We followed them to a nearby temple where they showed us how to climb. On top of the temple they wanted to sell us their things, and as we weren’t interested, they asked us for a tip for showing the place. We gave them 5000 Kyat, and they left.
Literally 3 minutes later, two older men came and started shouting at us. They told us that it is illegal to climb up temples and that they are going to call the police. We said to them that locals showed us the place and where we could go, but they just shouted something like “police” and “illegal.” They left surpassingly to call the police, and that was our chance to drive off and find another place. After searching for another 30 mins, we found a hill and could stay there. The sunset was terrible as well as it was cloudy and so it was an awful start in the day.
In the end, nothing happened to us, and we didn’t break something on a temple. We just lost 5000 Kyat to some scammers which isn’t the end of the world. However, it could have gotten dangerous as the temples are unstable, it’s not easy to climb on the temples, and the stairs are very narrow. Furthermore, if the actual police would catch us, we could get a big fine, and we violated the rules of the country and their religion which aren’t nice things to do – but how could we know.
After reading this, you know better, and you can enjoy your Sunrise without any trouble. Just make sure you know the point where you want to visit beforehand and don’t drive clueless around. Remember, most blogs you find online are old and not accurate anymore. There are several “Sunrise points” or “Sunset spots” on Google maps or Maps.me which are save places. Other than that you can climb up the ruins of a temple which are spread around the area.
- Total countries I visited until now: 38
- Planes: 21
- Busses: 48
- Trains: 19
- Boats: 24
- Km driving: 8000
- Km running: 2972