One of the most fascinating sites in the world, Bagan is an ancient city in the Mandalay region of Burma. Bagan was once the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would become modern Burma. During the kingdom’s heyday, between the 11th and 13th centuries, more than 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains—of which the remains of more than 2,200 temples and pagodas can be seen today. The landscape, featuring the distinctive stupas (spires) of the region, is quite striking at any time of day—the area is noted not just for the number of structures but for their distinctive and beautiful architecture. The technique of creating a vaulted ceiling—a special challenge in this earthquake-prone area—seems to have developed in Bagan, as did the pentagonal floor plan for Buddhist temples. Bagan is a must-see on any Burma river cruise.