The main reason to visit the town of Sagaing, the fourteenth-century capital of a Shan kingdom, is for Sagaing Hill, which is dotted with white-and-gold pagodas and offers wonderful views of many more. It’s around 21km from Mandalay, across the Ayeyarwady River.

The most common approach on foot is from the south side; the first temple you come to at the top is Soon U Ponya Shin Paya, which has fantastic views of the Ayeyarwady River and the surrounding temple-dotted hills. There are several other religious structures on the hill, the most interesting of which is Umin Thounzeh, a curved chamber containing 43 seated and two standing Buddha images, a twenty-minute walk from Soon U Ponya Shin.

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