Sagaing is located just 12 miles from Mandalay and can be reached by crossing the long Sagaing Bridge over the Irrawaddy River. The city is a frequent tourist destination for day trips. Many people who visit Mandalay will also make a trip across the Irrawaddy River to the town of Sagaing. It known as the Centre of Buddhism in Myanmar and it has more than 300 religious buildings. It is a beautiful and peaceful place with lush, tree-covered hills but most tourists only make a quick visit spending 2 or 3 hours exploring two or three main sites.
Sagaing was the capital of Sagaing Kingdom (1315-1364), and one of the minor kingdoms that rose up after the fall of Bagan Dynasty. Today, the city is part of Mandalay area with more than 1,022,000 inhabitants (2011 estimate).
One of the most popular tourist attractions on Sagaing Hills is Soon U Ponya Shin pagoda. It is connected by a set of covered staircase that runs up the 240 meters hill and is one of the oldest temples on Sagaing Hills. It was built in 1312 by Minister Pon Nya. A Pagoda Festival is held on Full Moon Day of Warso, the fourth month of Myanmar Calendar, which falls in July of each year.
Kaungmudaw Pagoda, also called Yaza Mani Sula, is a huge pagoda 10 km beyond the town of Sagaing. It was built by the King Tha Lun and his son in 1636AD. The dome shaped pagoda rises up to 46 meters. At the base of the pagoda, there are 812 stone pillars, each one with a hollow and an image of a Nat (means Angel) in it. The stupa enshrined the Buddhist relics inside its relic’s chamber. It is one of the famous pilgrimage and tourist destinations in the Sagaing area.
Shin Phyu Shin Hla Pagoda was built by the King Mani Sithu in AD 1095. It is named for the fact that two images of the Buddha, called Shin Phyu and Shin Hla respectively, were interned in the pagoda by King Mani Sithu.
Umin Thonse` Pagoda, also known as 30 Caves Pagoda, is situated on Sagaing Hills. It was built by a venerable monk named Padugyi Thangayaza (though the date has been variously given as A.D. 687, 1005,1050, and 1085. 45 Buddha images sit in a crescent-shaped colonnade within the pagoda.
Yadanar Zaedi Sinmyar Shin pagoda is situated on the Shwebo-Monywa road in Sagaing. It was built by King Mohnyin of Inwa in AD 792, enshrining the five relics brought by two monks who came back from Sri Lanka.
Tilawkaguru Cave monastery is one of the monasteries on the Sagaing Hills. It was a series of meditation caves built around 1672. Bright reds, yellows, blues but especially turquoise, which produced richer more vivid mural paintings, still can be seen in the Tilawkaguru Meditation Caves.
Sagaing Division is famous for its arts, crafts and silver products. If you are looking for a some silver souvenir, there are many silver ware workshops along the Sagaing – Monywa highway road in Ywa Htaung Village, where they make various kind of silverware such as jewelries, bowls, trays, boxes and Buddha images.
You can take photos with great views of Sagaing Hills and surroundings, when you cross back over the Irrawaddy River to Mandalay. Have a fantastic day out and always remember that one of the best new hidden places in Myanmar.