Explore Bago – One of Archeological sites of Myanmar on a next trip to Myanmar
Located 80 kilometers away from Yangon, Bago, the capital city of Bago region, was built in 825 AD by two Mon brothers from Thaton: Thamala and Wimala. Formerly known as Pegu, the city owns a long-standing history, and it is also among the richest archeological sites of Myanmar. Bagon holds a strong connection with Mon people: apart from being originally settled by the Mons, it was marked as Mon Kingdom’s capital and known as Hanthawaddy at that time period. From the year of 1539, the region came under Burma’s control again.
The Shwethalyaung Buddha is an absolutely massive reclining Buddha situated on the west side of Bago. It is 52 feet long, making it the second largest Buddha in the world, after the reclining Buddha in Dawei (Tavoy). The Buddha is believed to have been built in 994, during the reign of Mon King Migadepa. It was lost in 1757 when Bago (Pegu) was destroyed but was rediscovered under a mass of jungle growth in 1881. There are intricate and detailed murals at the back of the Buddha explaining how it came to be there, which are particularly interesting.
The Shwemawdaw Paya is a stupa often referred to as the Golden God Temple. It is the tallest pagoda in Myanmar (Burma), even though the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is always given that title. It is an impressive sight and is considerably less busy for it isn’t as popular as the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is, however, just as beautiful. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival takes place in late March or early April and features a range of theatrical shows at this famous shrine.
The Pyaik Pun Pagoda is a small pagoda and is home to a large shrine of four Buddhas all sitting back to back, facing the cardinal points on the compass. It was built by King Dhamma Zedi in 1476 A.D.
Kanbawza Thadi Palace is the famous palace of King Bayinnaung (1551-1581 A.D.). The original palace consisted of 76 apartments and halls, but it was burned down in 1599. It was excavated in the early 1990’s but some of the original remains are still visible, like the teak columns still on display.
Moeyungyi Bird Sanctuary: there are native birds and also migrating birds and therefore the best time to visit this swamp-land is in the cool season (November – end of January) Moeyungyi is about 30 minutes drive north of Bago, close to the road to Mandalay. There is a lodge on the shores, providing simple but cozy accommodation. Only a few tourists visit Moeyungyi.
How to get there
Bago and Pyay are easily accessible by rail or by car. It is only a 2 hours drive from Yangon to Bago and a 5 hours drive on a very good road to Pyay.
Last but not least, give Mote Hin Khar a try when you visit Bago. The delicious soup is sold in every morning at a stand shop in the street of San Taw Tywin, in front of the south entrance to Shwemawdaw Pagoda.