Shwesandaw Pagoda was the first pagoda in Bagan to feature stairwells that lead up to the base of the pagoda from the bottom. As such, it is a good spot to watch the sun set and is even occasionally referred to as the 'sunset pagoda'. I arrived there at 15:15 and found the pagoda to be completely deserted. I climbed the narrow stairwell, some stairs being twice as high as they are deep - definitely not for those who are acrophobic, and found the entire periphery of the round base of the pagoda to be an excellent viewpoint of the vast fields of pagodas stretching out into the distance.
I woke up to the cry of a flock of House crows (Corvus splendens) that had gathered in the tree above me and were looking down at me in fascination. Still bleary-eyed, the sun ducked behind the clouds and a gust of wind whistled through carrying away any remnants of sleep that still lingered. Approximately an hour had passed, but that one hour had made a huge difference in the intensity of the sun. Feeling a little refreshed, I decided then to head back to Shwesandaw Pagoda and to set up my camera for a sunset timelapse before the bus-loads of crowds began to arrive. I realised soon after that this was a good move as the entire platform had been overrun by people by 17:30!