Salay is an ancient town rich in Myanmar culture. It has ancient pagodas which date from the Bagan Period and over a hundred ruins. Unlike Bagan, many of them have never been systematically studied by archaeologists and historians. Visitors to Bagan often make this 15 km (10 miles) trip south to see Salay. Another pleasurable way to get there is to use one of the small motor boats available for hire from Bagan at the Bu-Hpaya jetty. Sitting in comfortable cushioned chairs you can watch the river crafts on the big waterway, once the only real life-line of Myanmar, with all the old towns lining its banks.
Salay is famous for its 19th century wooden monastery with exquisite wooden carvings. The whole building is built of wood and is a fine example of monastic architecture of the late Konbaung Period. The main attraction of the monastery is the decorative wooden panels made by the master carvers of the period whose meticulous workmanship is in many ways superior to those of later periods.