It’s known as the world’s largest book. But it doesn’t look much like any book you’ve seen before.
Myazedi Stupa, which translates as “emerald stupa,” has an ancient stone tablet that includes the earliest known example of written Burmese language.
Dating to around the end of the 11th century, Nagayon Temple lies just south of Myinkaba Village. Its dark interior hides some impressive frescoes and interesting design features.
With several oversized statues of The Buddha crammed into spaces barely big enough to hold them, Manuha Temple is one of the easiest temples in Bagan to visit. It’s also one of the oddest.
Apeyadana Temple is dedicated to an 11th-century chief queen consort of King Kyansittha of the Pagan Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) and maternal grandmother of King Sithu I of Pagan.
Mani Sithu Market is Nyaung-U’s main market in the middle of town and offers food and daily supplies for sale to the local community.
Thatbyinnyu Temple is the tallest of Bagan’s temples and occupies a prominent place near Old Bagan and the famous Ananda Temple.
This small but ornate pagoda lies deep in Taungbi Village, just to the northeast of Old Bagan and not far from the much better known Htilominlo Temple.
Its gleaming gold stupa certainly stands out against the surrounding countryside. Completed in 1198, it features an unusual 5-sided design.
Dating back to the early 13th century and featuring impressive frescoes, Lemyethna Pagoda is located in the eastern part of the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
Tayok Pye Temple is in the eastern part of the Bagan Plain and features ornate stucco decoration and impressive frescoes.
The impressive gold stupa at the heart of the complex is reputed to encase a bone and tooth of The Buddha.
There’s not quite so much of the gold left that once covered the wood, but it’s ornately carved teak is arguably even more impressive.
That Chomsi is at the top of a hill overlooking the old section of UNESCO World Heritage Site Luang Prabang, offering wonderful views out over the town, nearby wats, Mekong, and the region.
Ananda Temple is one of the most famous, most visited, and most renovated temples in Bagan, and it has been an active place of worship for nearly a millennia.
Sitting on top of Mandalay Hill, Sutaungpyei Pagoda features a large patio that offers a wonderful views over Mandalay City and the Ayeyarwaddy.
Dating to 1334, Thisa-wadi Temple isn’t the grandest of the thousands of temples, stupas, and pagodas in Bagan, but it is one of a handful where it’s possible (and allowed) to climb on the upper terraces for wonderful views out over the plain of Bagan.
Htilominlo Temple is a large, two-story, 12th-century temple in the northern part of the Bagan plain best known for its ornate stucco decoration.
It’s one of the oldest–and from all appearances, richest–of the many pagodas in Sagaing. Sitting high on top of Nga-pha Hill, it was built in 1312.
Tucked away in a narrow dirt side street of Myinkaba Village is the morning market, a little slice of local life.
Dating back to the 12th century, Dhammayangyi Temple is the largest temple in Bagan. Just mind the bats!
U Bein Bridge has become one of Myanmar’s iconic landmarks. Spanning 3/4 of a mile, the foot bridge is reputed to be the longest teak bridge in the world.
If you’re flying to Bagan, this is the airport you’ll fly into. As small as it is, it’s the airport that serves as the gateway to the Bagan region.
Oo Hmin Thone Sel Pagoda is an explosion of color, with almost 50 statues of the Buddha looking out from a cave-like crescent from a hilltop in Sagaing.
Covered from head to toe with thick white dust, crouching low on their launches, the young men and boys use angle grinders to carve statues of the Buddha out of solid blocks of white marble.
This guide was produced by the Burmese Ministry of Union Culture in 1963 and contains fascinating historical photographs as well as useful, unique information on the pagodas and temples of Bagan.
Nestled in a quiet, hidden little enclave in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, the Jade Emperor Pagoda offers a calming sanctuary from the bustle of the busy streets outside.
What is now known as Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City served as the home and office of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu during the Vietnam War.
Unsurprisingly, Vietnam takes its revolutionary foundations very much to heart. They’re shown off and commemorated in the national Revolution Museum in central Hanoi.
While the standing stones of Hintang in northeastern Laos don’t inherently convey the kind of majesty of Stonehenge or Easter Island, their mysteries remain just as deep.
At Phonsavan’s morning market you can sit for a tasty bowl of freshly made steaming pho for breakfast or buy some local fruit. You can find much that looks familiar, and quite a lot that doesn’t.
The rugged, mountainous terrain of northern Laos is beautiful. While well off the beaten track and not really on the road to anywhere else, Luang Namtha and Oudomxai provinces are well worth seeing.
Modeled on the Hotel de Ville in Paris, Ho Chi Minh City Hall is the seat of Saigon’s city government.
Southeast Asia’s morning markets are much more interesting than the night markets. Luang Prabang’s morning market is no exception.
Inside the Citadel walls was once lavish and opulent, with ornate gardens and intricate pagodas. But the Vietnam War was not kind to the Imperial City. Large parts of it are now nothing more than rubble.
Hue’s Dong Ba market (Cho Dong Ba)–like so many of the markets around the world in places people rely on markets for their day-to-day food and merchandise needs–is a bustling, crowded affair with things for sale crammed into every available space.
From its fearsome gold naga guarding the main stairs, its incredibly lavish gold and red interior, and multi-tiered roof, the Haw Pha Bang at Luang Prabang’s Royal Palace looks ancient. But it’s not.
The Vietnam Military History Museum in central Hanoi celebrates the Vietnamese victories of the 20th century, first over the French and then the United States. And, of course, it presents a version sanctioned by the Vietnamese Communist Government.
Quan Thanh Temple in the Ba Dinh district of Hanoi next to the southeastern corner of West Lake is a Taoist temple that dates back to the 11th century.
I don’t usually have issues with claustrophobia, but this isn’t fun anymore. How people could live down here is beyond me.
Hoan Kiem Lake (also known as Sword Lake, Ho Guom, or Lake of the Returned Sword) is at the very heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and a cultural heart of the city. And it’s rather beautiful.
Despite it being a replica of what was once a thousand-year-old pagoda, the One Pillar Pagoda is today considered one of Vietnam’s most iconic Buddhist temples.
Wat Si Saket (or Sisaket Temple), with an impressive collection of 2000 Buddha statues, is reputed to be the oldest Buddhist temple still standing in Vientiane.
At 1400 years old, Tran Quoc Pagoda, in a picturesque spot on a small island in Hanoi’s West Lake, is the city’s oldest temple. And while small, it’s quite beautiful.
The War Remnants Museum presents an important but one-sided history of the appalling legacy of the decades of war that have ravaged Vietnam.
Vientiane’s waterfront seems purpose-built for beautiful sunsets. With a wide promenade and park, it’s well used. And right across the river is Thailand.
Even Uncle Ho needs a holiday. Even while he’s away on his annual autumn sojourn in Moscow, his mausoleum in downtown Hanoi still gets the royal treatment.
Hanoi has a lot of lakes. And as you’d expect from a bustling, industrialized city of several million people in a country with a decidedly mixed record of dealing with environmental challenges, most of those lakes are severely polluted. But the lakes provide a respite from the crushing traffic and incessant bustle in other parts of the city.
This is not a place of sweetness and light. Hoa Lo Prison, better known in the west as “the Hanoi Hilton,” was first a French colonial jail for Vietnamese political prisoners and later used during the Vietnam War for American pilots held as prisoners of war. And it’s a place with an especially grim history.
I’m standing right above the middle of the river, 25 feet above the water surface. And I don’t smell a thing. The Perfume River, it turns out, is only fragrant at a specific time of the year, in the autumn, when the flowers in the orchards up river lose their blossoms into the water.
Nong Khiaw is a small riverside town in northern Laos on the Nam Ou (River Ou), It’s dramatically framed by steep, rocky karsts and beautiful countryside.
The Narita-san Temple is a 1000-year-old Shingon Buddhist temple complex in the heart of Narita, about 40 miles east of Tokyo.