Why Bago is worth visitng ?If you are planning to escape into Myanmar countryside that is not far away from Yangon , a visit to Bago is highly recommended . A day return trip to the once-capital of a Mon kingdom in the lower Myanmar area is a worthwhile possibility. Once described as a Buddhist Disneyland, Bago is densely-packed with pagodas, monasteries and Buddha figures. An easy day-trip from Yangon, it has a relatively calm, pleasant, small-town feel. Some seventy kilometers north of Yangon is the modern city of Bago, formerly known in English as Pegu. It was founded by Mon traders in the 800’s C.E. From 1365 to 1625 C.E., it flourished under a string of competent rulers who left impressive religious monuments. These works not only expressed but helped strengthen their claims of spiritual legitimacy and worldly power. Pegu hit its peak in the half-century from 1550 to 1600 under the rule of Bayinnaung, who made it the capital of his short-lived Taungoo Empire. Its impressive size is indicated in the map below.
How to travel :By private car with A/c : USD$ 70 for the group size of minimum 03 pax ( for the whole journey including sightseeing in Bago ) By train : you are advised to take the train from Yangon Central Railway Station – The earliest train leave at 08:00 am and ticket fare for foreigner will cost USD$ 02 per person – Train ride will take only 02 hours and 15 minutes to get to train station .
How to do sightseeing in Bago ?If you are not taking the private car from Yangon , you can hire local Tuk Tuk for going around Bago . Chartered rate of local Tuk Tuk will cost around 15,000 Kyat ( USD$ 12 ) for exploring the highlights of Bago . Entry Fees : 10,000 kyat per person for a visit to all highlights of Bago .
The highlights of Bago to explore :
01-Shwemawdaw PagodaBago’s most famous site is Shwemawdaw Pagoda in height of 115 meters (376 feet) it is currently the tallest in the country, reaching 14 meters (46 feet) higher than Yangon’s Shwedagon. The pagoda which stands today was erected in the 1950’s and is the latest in a series of constructions, the first of which was built perhaps twelve hundred years ago. Massive earthquakes over the centuries – including one in 1917 and another in 1930 – means that the structure has been rebuilt often, each time a little taller. As you enter the Shwemawdaw pagoda by one of the four long covered passageways – one at each of the cardinal directions. There is a almost-bazaar-like feeling in the air as you walk up towards the steps to the grand terrace on which the pagoda sits. Once on the terrace around the zedi, there are a number of pavilions and shrines moreover The Shwemawdaw terrace is more open and less cluttered than the one around Yangon’s Shwedagon. During its heyday Bago was a port city and ships would come up the Bago River from the sea. However, by three hundred years ago the river had changed course and the city found itself cut off from the river. Of course, the invasion and destruction of the city a couple of times in the past four centuries in the brutal course of war did not help matters. What still remains – admittedly touched up at times to quite some degree – are the religious monuments that still attract travelers from far away. Off course ,you can spend over an hour taking in the scene on the Shwemawdaw terrace, siting on pavilion steps and watching monks and townspeople go by. Tips : The best time to visit Shwemawdaw pagoda is morning time – not later than 11:00 am . entry fees ticket must be purchased at the entrance of pagoda . 02-Hinta Gone ( The Hillock of Hamsa ) You can take a short walk to Hinta Gone just located from the east entrance to the Shwemawdaw pagoda is built on a nearby hilltop -The hill figures in the foundation myth of a Mon port on the banks of the Bago River in the early 800’s C.E. To them it was the city of the hamsa, the mythic bird known as hintha in Bamar. (The word gon means “hill”.) What the legend said : According to Buddhist legend, the newly enlightened Siddhartha Gautama made a flying trip to Lower Burma, which at that time was covered by sea water. Seeing a female hamsa sitting on the back of a male, perched on a tiny island of dry land, Buddha foretold that this spot would become the centre of a prosperous kingdom 1500 years later. Roughly on schedule, the waters having receded, two Mon princes founded the town, known as Hanthawaddy to the Mon, in 825 AD. The double hamsa motif can be seen all over Bago today. The temple on the hilltop was renovated in the early 20th century on the inspiration – and money collecting – of the Buddhist monk U Khanti, who is also credited with restoring the various temples on the top of Mandalay Hill. Since that time the earthquakes of 1917 and 1930 that levelled the stupa down below undoubtedly had the same effect on the structures of Hintha Gone, whose large central shrine is covered with a column-supported and modern-looking roof steel girders and aluminum sheeting. The proper reason for a visit to Hintha Gone, other than to stand at the mythic foundation spot of what for a short while was an important city, is to see the view of the modern city to the west. Standing above all else is the Shwemawdaw. 03-Kanbawzathedi Palace One of Myanmar showcases, especially for visitors on a-day trip from Yangon, is the reconstructed Kanbawzathadi Palace in Bago. The original Kanbawzathadi Palace was built by King Bayintnaung in AD 1553 after he came to the throne in AD 1551. The king was the conquerer Shan State and Siam (Thailand) under his reign and Myanmar at the time became the most powerful kingdom in Southeast Asia. Conquered Siamese citizens were rounded up and sent to Bago. The palace was in ruin for more than 400 years since it was burnt in war in 16 th century. The renovation of the Kanbawzathadi took place during 1990 to 1994 by the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library under the military regime. The warehouse where excavated teaks are stored – located at the west of the palace. According to the record made at the warehouse, a total of 176 pillars having bilingual of Myanmar and Mon languages were uncovered. 04-The Shwethalyaung pagoda ( Reclining Buddha ) Shwethalyaung Buddha is one of the largest reclining Buddha images in Myanmar and which is believed to be an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists living in Myanmar . The Buddha image in length of 55 meters and 16 meters high depicts the Buddha just before death and entering into Nirvana. A similar reclining Buddha, the Chauk Htet Gyi which is another 10 meters longer can be found in nearby Yangon. The construction of the original Buddha figure is connected to the conversion of the Mon king Mgadeikpa to Buddhism in 994 C.E. This was due to the magical powers exhibited by a Mon Buddhist woman with whom his son had fallen in love and who would only marry him if she was allowed to keep her religion. She was able to show the king the uselessness of his pagan gods and the superiority of Buddhism. After the destruction of Bago that came with the Mon revolt against the Burmese in 1757 the image was forgotten and was overgrown by jungle. It was rediscovered by chance in the colonial era when the British built a railway between Yangon and Bago in 1881. During clearing works the Buddha image was discovered under a mound grown over with thick jungle vegetation. The image was restored and an iron pavilion (tazaung) was built over the image to protect it from the elements. Over the following decades several other buildings were added to the temple complex. Entry fee : 10,000 kyat per person ( Notes : if you have already purchased the entry ticket at Shwemawdaw Pagoda or somewhere in Bago , no need to buy new one – please show your ticket ) Opening hours: The pagoda complex opens daily from 6 am until 9 pm. 05-Myathalyaung Buddha Image Myathalyaung Buddha Image which is just located next to Shwethalyaung Buddha is another more colossal 80-meter reclining Buddha figure, a very recent Buddha installed in the early 2000’s thanks to the funds donated by local Buddhists keen to earn merit for their spiritual advancement. His youthful face and pose exude serenity and peacefulness. 06-Kyauk Pun Pagoda Four towering images of the Buddha sitting back to back The Kyaik Pun Pagoda is a small Buddhist monastery near the town of Bago, known for its four towering images of the Buddha visible from far away. The impressive 27 meter high images are out in the open, without shelter from the elements by any covering temple structure. The Kyaik Pun Pagoda was built in 1476 by Dhammazedi, a devout Buddhist and King of the Mon Kingdom of Hanthawaddy (Pegu). The Kyaik Pun Pagoda or Kyaikpun Paya is an active place of worship; the images are highly revered by Laotian Buddhists who come to pay their respect. Depictions of the four Buddhas that have reached Nirvana The images represent the four Buddhas that have reached Nirvana, namely Kassapa Buddha, Kakusandha Buddha, Konagamana Buddha and Gautama Buddha. They sit back to back facing the four cardinal directions against a massive brick square central post on top of which is a golden spire with a multi tiered ceremonial umbrella. The four seated Buddhas wear golden robes and all have slightly different facial expressions. They are in the Bhumisparsha mudra, calling the Earth to witness. In front of the images is an open pavilion flanked by large chedis. A statue of King Dhammazedi honors the builder of the Paya. Other structures on the temple complex include several pavilions and small shrines, a large bell and a pole topped with a Hintha bird, the symbol of the town of Bago. A few of the pavilions are dedicated to Nat spirits, that have been worshipped in Burma for many centuries, probably before the arrival of Buddhism. Between the parking lot and the temple are handicrafts stalls offering their wares. The legend of the Kyaik Pun Pagoda According to local legend four Mon sisters were involved in the building of the Kyaik Pun Paya. Among them they pledged never to get married as long as they lived. If one of them was to get married, one of the Buddha statues would collapse. According to the legend one of the women broke her promise and got married, resulting in the collapse of one of the images, the Kassapa Buddha. How to get to Kyaik Pun Pagoda The monastery is located a few kilometers South of downtown Bago , a few hundred meters West of the main road connecting Bago with Yangon (NH1 National Highway 1). The most comfortable way to get there is by private taxi that can be booked through hotel or travel agent. Alternatively, a Local Tuk Tuk from downtown will cost around 2,500 to 3,000 Kyat including waiting time. Entry fee : 10,000 kyat per person ( Notes : if you have already purchased the entry ticket at Shwemawdaw Pagoda or somewhere in Bago , no need to buy new one – please show your ticket ) Opening hours: The pagoda complex opens daily from 6 am until 9 pm. 07-Clay pot making factory As you are in Bago , one more attraction you should not miss is the clay pot factories in Bago . Local owned clay pot factories are located just outside the town – ( on the highway road of Yangon – Bago ) Potters in Bago and the surrounding village have a unique geographical edge in having access to a high-quality clay that is only formed in 13 places in the whole of Myanmar. The clay is created when paddy mud washes into the river and is churned by fast-flowing currents, mixing it with river mud. When combined with the mountain clay used across the country in ceramics, the river mud gives the baked pottery an attractive creamy terracotta hue. Without water or electricity in the family home, the whole operation is powered by hand. It can take nearly a full day to tease the fire in the kilns to appropriately high temperatures for baking the pottery. To make their pottery, the family must first pound the mountain clay into a fine powder that can be sifted. Next, this fine powder is stamped into the river mud using bare feet, not unlike a Greek grape-crushing spectacle. From this clay block, a potter can make up to 1500 small cups and water pots a day by hand and a spinning wheel, which are then left to dry in the sun and later baked in the family’s one remaining kiln. But this traditional hand-powered turning of clay into beautiful works is quickly dying as electrical machines . So that would be one of must-see attraction to explore and experience as you are in Bago. 08-Kya Kha Wain Monastery The Kya Kha Wain Kyaung Monastery in Bago is one of the largest Buddhist monastery in Myanmar accommodating more than a thousand young monks. It is a typical place to witness the disciplined way of life of Buddhist monks. Distinguish character of this large monastery is the systematic manner of the monks during the lunchtime, having their meal in total silence and systematically in accordance with Buddha’s teachings.
if you visit to monastery before 11am, you will surely observe the line of monks going in procession to the dinning hall for their lunch ( the last meal of the day ) . kindly be advised not no make noise and cut in the line of procession when you are there . We do hope tht this post will be an useful handbook for you to enjoy day trip to Bago . If you wish to explore and expereince more why not check our products .