Sagaing is about 20km from Mandalay and is reached by crossing the Ayeyarwaddy River over the Ava Bridge.
Our driver was very proud of the bridge and spewed out all sorts of facts and figures. The Ava Bridge was built by the British in 1934 and remained the only crossing of the Ayeyawaddy until a Chinese built bridge was completed in 1998. There was a twelve year gap during the war as two of the sixteen spans were destroyed to hinder the advancing Japanese. Today it’s also known as Inwa Bridge or Sagaing Bridge.
A steep covered pathway leads up the hill to the first platform called Umin Thounzeh, or Thirty Caves.
These are home to forty five Buddha’s in a crescent shape colonnade, pictured above.
A man outside the entrance told me to take off my shoes and carry them inside. No problem.
A lady inside told me off for carrying my shoes and told me to leave them outside. Slight problem.
The top of the hill is lined with golden stupas, and allows a view back down towards the river. The hills and river plain are dotted with over 500 stupas, plus nunneries and monasteries.
If you’re not visiting Bagan it’s an impressive site, but looking back it pales compared to the plains around Bagan Old Town.
Sagaing Visitor Tips
There is a $3 Sagaing-Mingun Archaeological Zone Admission Ticket for sale at the base of the hill.
We were only there a couple of hours so went directly to Sagaing Hill. If you have longer then shaded walkways cover the paths between temples and it would be easy to spend a day hiking.
Summer season was hot, so take a bag full of drinks as sellers can be quite spread out. A bag would also be useful for hiding your shoes when visiting the temples…