The city is located 80 km north east of Yangon, by train it takes 2 hours to get from Yangon to Bago and approximately the same by bus. I took the train from Yangon, it went at 8.00 AM and was leaving on time. It had one stop before we arrived to Bago. The landscape you’ll travel through is almost flat, no hills are seen. The tracks takes you out through the outskirts of Yangon before it runs into the plane. In the country side you’ll be travelling along rice fields and there is rich opportunities to see field workers and rural buildings. And you will have a good look as the train are running rather slowly.
As Bago is a low build city with approximately 280.000 inhabitants it is quite wide spread over the landscape. The landscape is mostly flat, so it is easy to get around either on bike or motorbike.
I believe that you cannot do Bago in one day, expect to use at least 2 days to experience the city and the surrounding area.
The sights is Bago is mostly temples and monasteries.
The Mahazedi Paya in the west of the city provides men with the opportunity to have an overview of the area. You can climb the stairs almost to the top of the stupa and have a fantastic view of the pagoda and a large portion of Bago.
Shwegugale Paya is also in the west and is situated next to a school. The most impressive element of this pagoda is that is has a tunnel going around the center. The tunnel is home for 64 Buddha statues. If you are at the pagoda when the classes in the school is not in session you will experience that the kids use the pagoda as a playground, which gives good opportunities to take some pictures.
Shwethalyaung Buddha is a large reclining Buddha – 54 meters long and 16 meters high – situated in a large hall. The hall is surrounded by a kind of marked. In the stalls you can buy souvenirs, foods, household items, clothes and you find a few restaurants. We had lunch in one of the restaurants, no one spoke much English. We were invited to the kitchen to view what could be offered. We chose a fish curry which were served with rice, bamboo shots, 2 kinds of herbs, cucumber slices, herb pasta, small raw aubergines and tea. It tasted good and there were plenty.We paid 4.000 Kyats for 2 persons.
Near to the Shwethalyaung Buddha you find Naung Daw Gyi Mya Tha Lyaung which is a newer reclining Buddha. This new Buddha is even bigger, 75 meters long. It is built with public donations in 2002. It seems that the donations were not generous enough for the ambitions, because the Buddha lies in the open but foundation for pillars is found around the terrace.
The marked is found on the east side of the river were the main road crosses the river. The marked is like many other markets in Myanmar, it’s in open air with different kinds of stalls between each other. But as always it’s interesting to view the daily life of the Burmese.
The Kha Khat Wain Kyaung Monastery is located north of the marked. It gives home to almost 500 monks. The monks has lunch at 11 AM, and you are welcome to come and watch when the lunch is served. A lot of tourist comes to watch and donate to the monastery. The donation takes place when the monks line up for lunch, the donators lines up along the monks and put money, food and other stuff into the monks bowls. Some of the donators also assist in serving the monks rice from gigantic pots.
Bago has a clock tower like many other cities in Myanmar, it might be that the building is old. But it has been renovated lately and equipped with an amazing digital clock.
The largest paya in Bago is the Shwemawdaw Paya, it stands 113 meters high and by that it’s higher than Shedagon. The history tells that the stupa has been damaged by strong winds and earthquakes several times, but it has been rebuild. Also it’s told that every time the pagoda received a new relic from the Buddha it was enlarged.
Hintha Gon Paya is equipped with the longest entrance I have ever seen on a pagoda. The entrance starts at the east exit from Shwemawdaw and runs for 750 meters under a fine read roof. Hintha Gon Paya is located at the highest place in Bago, so it was the natural place for the Hamsa to land in ancient time.
I stayed at the Kabawza Hintar Hotel, which is located in the western part of the city. It’s a nice newly built hotel, but unfortunately it’ in the middle of an area with very few restaurants so when you need supper you’ll either have to get a taxi to town or eat at the hotel. We did find a small place near the hotel, but it was very basic and they had very few dishes available.