Exterior of Bagan Archaeological Museum at sunset.

© Zzvet/Getty Images/iStock

Archaeological Museum


Housed in a sprawling complex, this government-run museum features many fine pieces from Bagan (reclining buddhas, original images, inscribed stones and mural re-creations) and an unexpected room of modern-art renderings of the temples. Other curiosities include a room of 55 kinds of women's hair knots (and five men's hairstyles), models of major temples with architectural details, and a model of an 11th-century village.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bagan attractions

1. Gawdawpalin Pahto

0.14 MILES

Standing 197ft tall, Gawdawpalin is one of the largest and most imposing Bagan temples, although by no means the most inspiring, with its modernised altar…

2. Mimalaung Kyaung

0.17 MILES

A nice set of chinthe (half-lion/half-dragon deities) guards the stairway leading up to this small, square monastery platform, constructed in 1174 by…

3. Pahtothamya

0.23 MILES

On the dirt road 500ft east towards the dominating Thatbyinnyu, the Pahtothamya (or Thamya Pahto) was probably built during the reign of Kyanzittha,…

4. Nathlaung Kyaung

0.34 MILES

Between Pahtothamya and Thatbyinnyu, this stubby building – the only Hindu temple remaining in Bagan – has a fascinating history. Named ‘Shrine Confining…

5. Shwegugyi

0.36 MILES

Built by Alaungsithu in 1131, this smaller but elegant pahto (temple), 650ft north of Thatbyinnyu, is an example of Bagan’s middle period of temple…

6. Thatbyinnyu Pahto

0.38 MILES

Named for ‘omniscience’, Bagan’s highest temple is built of two boxy white-coloured storeys, each with three diminishing terraces rimmed with spires and…

7. Mahabodhi Paya


Unlike any other Bagan temple, this monument, located on the north side of the main road 1000ft west of the gate, is modelled after the famous Mahabodhi…

8. Pitaka Taik

0.48 MILES

Following the sacking of Thaton, King Anawrahta is said to have carted off some 30 elephant-loads of Buddhist scriptures in 1058 and built this library …