Bagan (or Pagan) is an ancient city that was the capital of the first Burmese empire. It is located in the dry central plains of the country, on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy (or Ayeyarwaddy) River. As the heart of Burma during ancient times, Bagan serves as home to temples and buildings built from the 11th century to the 13th century. There are more than 2,000 pagodas and temples to be found, most of which were built by the ancient kings and leaders of Burma. Among all the cities in Myanmar, Bagan is the most ideal destination for tourists to visit regardless of the time of the year. Unlike cities in the lower part of Myanmar, Bagan does not experience a rainy season and it is the perfect climate of Bagan that enables tourists to discover and explore the ancient city with ease all year round. Bagan may be an old city, but it does offer something fresh to its visitors. There are many contemporary hotels and establishments for the modern adventurer. As aside trip, while in Bagan you can make a half-day excursion by road to Mt. Popa.