Traveling to a new place for a short time, I am always worried that I would not be able to cover enough ground or see everything I “must see.”

All my worries disappeared when we entered Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort. At the entrance, you’ll already see a few small temples in the compound itself—a sample of what Bagan offers in multitude. Walk a bit further past that, and you’ll find a breathtaking view of the Ayeyarwady River, their key feature and your new favorite sunset spot.

There are many hotels that provide a river view, but only Thiripyitsaya gives you history and luxury at a reasonable price. Thiripyitsaya is one of the original resorts in Bagan, and has become a household name among locals. It was used as the government’s guesthouse and, after being renovated in 1996, was used as a setting for old films and probably everyone’s vacation dreams.

The resort aged well thanks to its excellent quality management. The general manager does daily rounds every morning to check every brick and bush and has a service staff of 180 to maintain standards, and the results show. They have a landscape that could rival Maymyo Botanical Garden. It’s the perfect backdrop for private dinners, wedding photo shoots, and romantic proposals, all of which can be arranged by special request.

People go to Bagan for the famous sunrise/sunset view, but the real must-do is the sunrise boat trip across the river towards Tant Kyi Taung Pagoda – one of the four wish-fulfilling pagodas housing the Buddha’s sacred tooth relics. Locals believe that if one can visit these four pagodas (including Law Ka Nanda, Tu Yin Taung, and Shwe Zee Gon Zedi) before 12 noon, you can make a wish.

Staying at the Thiripytisaya Sanctuary Resort was already a wish fulfilled. “Thiri” means peace, and it definitely lives up to its name. With its rich culture, top-notch luxury, and picturesque landscape, your trip can also live up to the term “vacation.”

Excluding the Sakura Inn, there are three types of rooms: Deluxe Garden View Bungalow, Deluxe River View Bungalow, and the most luxurious, Premier River View Suites. The deluxe rooms come with basic amenities, hot/cold showers, free wifi, and work area, with a bonus pair of lounge chairs at your own private terrace.

The price ranges from US$200-450, but savvy travelers could find online booking promos that could drop rates to as low as 50 percent. The best time of the year is December to February when the flowers are in full bloom (bonus tip: good and safe weather for hot air balloons too). At Thiripyitsaya, you’re not only paying for a place to sleep, but an all-around Bagan experience.

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