Photo Essay: The Temples of Bagan, Myanmar

Photo Essay: The Temples of Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar is somewhere that actually made me gasp. I’m not kidding. I had to stop on my e-bike a few times to not only wipe real tears from my eyes but also to simply admire the scenery that surrounded me. I’d wanted to visit Myanmar ever since I saw my ultimate travel inspiration Brenna Holeman’s adventures in Yangon. Until then, Myanmar really hadn’t been on my radar as far as vacation hotspots.

In 2013, I had an ESL student in Chicago who is a Burmese refugee seeking asylum in the U.S. While his level was far too basic to get into any of his experience, the history and ongoing situation intrigued me. The more I Googled it, the more places I uncovered. It wasn’t until I saw Bagan, Myanmar when I made the executive decision that I had to go.

Needless to say, I’m pretty happy I did. We were lucky to meet up with a friend who was our travel companion through our three weeks in Laos. I loved exploring the temples and pagodas on our e-bikes because it was the easiest and most fun way to see everything. The sacred spaces we saw were incredible. Some of these date back to the 9th to the 11th century. Considering the fact I have a hard time believing I graduated high school almost 10 years ago, I’d say a little over one-thousand years is a fairly long time.

The photos below don’t do this place justice. I cannot recommend this country enough. If you’re interested in learning more about Bagan, Myanmar or what to do in the country, I’ve created a few guides. Click here for the ultimate itinerary for three weeks in Myanmar or here for a guide to 24 hours in Yangon

bagan, myanmar www.willfula

Shwesandaw Pagoda

Ananda Pagoda




three weeks in myanmar


Bulethi Pagoda




three weeks in myanmar
















three weeks in myanmar


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The temples of Bagan, Myanmar






  1. July 19, 2016 / 3:28 am

    Nice photos! A student of mine, a Shan woman who was a refugee from Myanmar, also got me interested in the country some years ago and I was there in December-January. Bagan was a stunner for sure.

    • July 20, 2016 / 8:57 pm

      Isn’t it? How cool that you have a similar draw to Myanmar. Thanks so much for reading!

  2. August 4, 2016 / 6:16 am

    Wow, incredible collection of photos Laura! I really wish we could have visited Myanmar ourselves! You really took some excellent photos here! I love the reflection in the mirror of the motorbike. This entire collection is showing your photography skills an a whole new level girl! For now, I will be dreaming of cruising through Bagan through your photos!

  3. August 5, 2016 / 12:20 am

    Wow those temples are amazing, I can see why you got a tear in your eye!!! Im a big happy cryer too so I’m pretty stoked for our 5 month trip to Thailand coming up….Temples….HERE I COME TO CRY AT YOUR BEAUTY!

    • August 7, 2016 / 10:02 pm

      The temples in Bangkok were the first Southeast Asian temples I’d experienced and I was just in awe the entire day! I hope you have an awesome time! I’m jealous of five months in Thailand. I was there for five weeks and could definitely return. One of my favorites!

  4. August 7, 2016 / 2:46 pm

    Laura, these photos are amazing!!! I’ve been wanting to go to Myanmar, and had it planned for an original SE Asia trip, but it’s on the backburner for now until I have more time! I read a lot about the history in college and have always wanted to go since then!

    • August 7, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      It’s actually a blessing in disguise to have it on the backburner as now you can spend more time there when you get there. Its history is fascinating and its culture was really unlike the rest of Southeast Asia that I’d visited. Thanks for the sweet comment re: photos. I try!

  5. August 7, 2016 / 9:55 pm

    What a wonderful set of photographs, especially the ones with the rainbow! I’m also surprised to read that you can rent an e-bike while traveling, haha makes it easier to get around doesnt it? Love your posts about Myanmar, kinda thinking of visiting now – you’re inspirational, keep on doing what you do!

    • August 7, 2016 / 9:57 pm

      What a sweet comment. Thank you so much! I really think you should visit Myanmar… it’s absolutely incredible! It definitely made getting around easier and was so much fun in the process. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be more than willing to answer them!

  6. August 8, 2016 / 10:29 am

    Your photos of Myanmar have totally inspired to go- especially all the photos of the countryside! Looks like such a beautiful place and really unique to other photos that I’ve seen of South East Asia!

  7. August 8, 2016 / 12:11 pm

    Very very nice! I’m very happy that you were able to make the trip that you looked forward to so much.
    Actually Myanmar is a place the I really really want to see. There’s something about Myanmar that has me captivated. I hope to go there as soon as I can, (when I can afford to with my family that is.)

  8. August 8, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    I can absolutely understand why you got teary-eyed: the photos are beautiful! I hope to visit as well one day! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  9. August 12, 2016 / 3:47 pm

    That yellow towel is well-travelled by now:-). Your ebike looks safe but how fast is it? Me curious! Also, your cool to not mind those dust traveling on ebike. Yay, I sound like I have petty concerns, lol. I love the history of places so lucky you to have experienced those temples.

  10. June 29, 2017 / 6:00 pm

    I have never thought about visiting Myanmar either, but your photos are enticing me to book a ticket asap. I love how you were drawn to this region because of a student. I’m not sure if I ever traveled to a destination based off of a person I’ve met from that region. A lot of my destinations are from reading blog posts like yours 🙂

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