Tan Min Yaw / Bagan / Burma
Burma may be rapidly changing, but there are still plenty of corners of the country steeped in ancient history if you know where to look.
Published on Oct 5, 2016
As Burma leaps towards the modern world, making up for decades of isolation, there are still plenty of opportunities to slow to a 19th-century pace and appreciate the country’s rich history. One of the best places to do this is on the 42-square kilometer plain that makes up Bagan. Dating back to the 11th century, upwards of 13,000 Buddhist temples and stupas once dotted the landscape. Today, that number has dwindled to fewer than 2,000, but this is still a magical stop on the map. No less than Marco Polo described the site as a “gilded city alive with tinkling bells and the swishing sounds of monks’ robes.” Those with patience can still feel the spirit of that sentiment today, particularly at dawn when local monks enacting age-old traditions render the scene timeless. For now, at least, any trip to Burma remains punctuated with moments like these, when the best course of action is to simply sit back and drink it in.