Can you climb Bagan’s temples?
As of January 2018, most of Bagan’s pagodas can no longer be climbed. Instead visitors can gaze upon their full glory from the ground, or get sunset views across the spires from the Bagan Viewing Tower and lower viewing mounds.
There have been mixed reactions to this development, with some local businesses being concerned that it might reduce visitor numbers, and more than a little of the predictable (yet rather disappointing) indignation from travellers who had previously climbed the pagodas, upon being told they can’t. However, the move stems from a genuine need to preserve these fragile structures from further damage, and to avoid injury to those that do. It wasn’t unusual for bits of the ancient structures to crumble under the strain of hundreds of visitors during high season, sometimes causing injury to climbers.
Though some pagodas might seem to be open, as there’s no fence at ground level, the viewing platforms at the top are almost always fenced off, and visitors should take this as a signal to respectfully keep off the entire structure and enjoy its beauty from a little further back.