Sagaing is one of Myanmar’s Buddhist centers and is grouped around Sagaing Hill, about 20 km southwest of Mandalay near the former royal city of Ava on the Irrawaddy. More than 600 stupas and monasteries and 100 meditation centers can be found here. Sagaing is named after a tree that hangs over the river. By 1315, it became the capital of an independent Shan kingdom after the decline of Bagan which plunged central Birma into chaos.
With its countless stupas and monasteries, Sagaing has plenty to offer to visitors, so a day trip is usually not enough as the city stretches over three ridges. The main destination is certainly the Sagaing Hill on which is also the U Min Thonze Pagoda, the pagoda of the 30 caves. Buddhas from all over the world can be found in the International Buddhist Academy. But not only the cultural monuments in Sagaing are worth a visit. A trip to one of the monastery schools is at least as interesting and allows personal contact with the locals.