HK Magazine - - UPFRONT -

Ba­gan is in­escapably beau­ti­ful. The 104 square km plain in cen­tral Burma hosts some 2,200 tem­ples, all built be­tween the 11th and 14th cen­turies. These red brick build­ings range from tiny, one-man shrines to huge com­plexes with vast Bud­dhas.

Take a horse-and-cart tour to fa­mil­iar­ize your­self with the lay­out of the plain, and the bet­ter-known tem­ples. But af­ter that you’ll want to hire an elec­tric bike (around $40-50) and whizz around the dirt tracks of the plain, seek­ing out your own tem­ples to ex­plore. The view from a tem­ple at sun­set is un­beat­able—a thou­sand tow­ers glow orange in the sun, as they have for hun­dreds of years.

The Au­gust 2016 earth­quake hit Ba­gan hard, af­fect­ing more than

400 of its build­ings. But it was the more re­cent con­struc­tion and in­ap­pro­pri­ate restora­tion at­tempts that bore the brunt of the dam­age, clear­ing the way for bet­ter struc­tured con­ser­va­tion and restora­tion plans. The ready money gen­er­ated by tourism has never been more vi­tal in help­ing to sup­port this de­vel­op­ing re­gion.

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