Sunrise Skyline, Bagan

Photograph by Cynthia Dial

Known for its more than 4,000 temples in a 26-square-mile space within a dusty, flat plain, the best times to experience the serenity and scope of Bagan are at dawn and dusk. After heading from my hotel's cozy bed and climbing in the dark with my camera and tripod to set up on a ledge of Minyeingone Pagoda, this was my reward—the unlayering of Myanmar's ancient city of temples.

(This photo and caption were submitted to the 2011 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. Browse all entries and vote for your favorites.)