Bago in Myanmar (the former name is Pegu) is one of the most frequently visited destinations in Burma and also higly recommended by Myanmar tour operator. The town is animated and vigorous enough to awake every soul. People say if you want to visit the most energetic town in Myanmar, then spend time in Bago!
About Bago in Myanmar
Bago is situated on the main boulevard between the North and the South of Myanmar. Its location is around 80km (50 miles) northeast of Yangon. The town is quiet bustling most of the time, and its nightlife entertainment is perfect. The overnight stay in Bago keeps you away from feeling sleepy, and sometimes you might then want to rest in the quieter accommodation. In the daytime, Bago offers several significantly religious attractions to fulfill your interest, such as Shwe Mawdaw Pagoda, Shwethar Lyaung Pagoda, Shwegugale Pagoda, Mahazedi Pagoda, etc. Together with doing obeisance to the ancient pagodas, the two best activities to do in Bago city include cycling and visiting the local morning market. After the peaceful time in the favorite pagodas, you might then want to enjoy cycling around the pagodas and stupas to view the nice surroundings. When it is the morning, be sure to visit the local morning market nearby the river which is vibrant with many vendors trying to sell the traditional Burmese soups, snacks, fruits, and souvenirs.
What to See in Bago
Shwe Mawdaw Pagoda
This(popularly referred to as the Great Golden God Pagoda) is the great attraction in Bago, with the height of 114m (375 feet). It is ranked the tallest pagoda in Myanmar, and such record attracts people coming to evaluate it. As you might know, Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon has the height of 98m, which is lower than the height of Shwe Mawdaw Pagoda. Therefore, you can even see the stupa of this pagoda from 10km outside the city. Besides the unbeatable height, Shwe Mawdaw Pagoda is gilded from bottom to tip, which looks extremely captivating, just as what Shwedagon Pagoda can. Visiting this holy construction, you can expect to see the ancient wooden and bronze Buddha ruins, the honorable statues of the Nats – the heroes in Bago’s history, and the images of big white chinthe (half-griffin and half-lion beast) that guard the site.
Shwethar Lyaung Pagoda
This pagoda enshrines the world’s second largest Buddha statue in the world; that statue has the length of 55m and the height of 16m. Believably, that Buddha statue was built in 1994 during the rule of Mon King Migadepa.
The first visit to Mahazedi Pagoda will surprise you with the massive Stupa which was restored to be new and attractive as today. Please notice that only males are allowed to reach the top of the pagoda in which they enjoy the captivating view of the whole city! You might have to pay some fees for camera uses.
Myasigon Paya is famous for the brick ground with the mosaic arches, the paintings of Myanmar Kings, and the bronze-and-silver sitting Buddha statues. There are several little Buddha images throughout the Paya, and some are old enough to meet your history interest. So, coming to Myasigon Paya, you are expected to do homage to the ancient spiritual Buddha statues, and if wanting to see the religious relics, look for the small Burmese museum on the ground to find the bronze figures of Erawan – the standing Buddha taken from Thailand in 1897, and lots of hallowed relics.
This is the towering pagoda whose history could be dated back to the 5th or 6th century AD. Undoubtedly, the Paya looks antique in the brick architecture, and even some vegetation grew out of the cracks in the old bricks. Surrounding Payagyi Paya are the lofty teak trees which greatly contributes to the magnificence of the religious site. Being ancient and sacred, this religious site is sure to be worth a go. While the ground is eye-catching and prehistoric, the interior of the Paya offers a truly revered ambiance for worshiping and paying homage.
With the boundary of the cylindrical superstructure, the Shwegugale Paya looks attractive at first sight. This monument might be erected in 1494 under the reign of King Byinnya Yan. The interior of the pagoda is valued with 64 sitting Buddha statues which are all sacred and elegant. So, the stay in this Paya helps calm people’s mind and help them feel grateful to what life offers to them. All in all, Shwegugale Paya is the not-to-miss attraction in Bago.
Maha Kalyani Sima
This revered hall was established in 1476 by King Dhammazedi who was also the renowned alchemist Myanmar King. Due to the harsh history, this Sima was burnt down by the betrayal Portuguese adventurer in 1599, and it was destroyed again during the sacking of Bago in 1757. Regardless of the painful history and disaster, Maha Kalyani Sima was reconstructed and today becomes the great ruin to see. In the hall, you find the big slabs with inscriptions in Mon and Pali languages, the separate grand cloister and the marble floors. Inside the hall includes 28 standing Buddha statues for everybody to do homage.
Hintha Gon Paya
This Paya is nestled on the hilltop and has the roofed platform for the spectacular view of Bago town. Legendarily speaking, the Burmese people believe that Hintha Gon Paya was risen from the sea once the mythological bird landed in the region. Therefore, there is a statue of the bird reflecting on this legend. Know that the builder of this Paya was U Khanti – the Burmese hermit monk, who granted the pagoda with the impressive design.
It is said that Shwethalyaung Buddha is the depiction of Gautama on the eve of his launch to nirvana. This is Myanmar’s most gorgeous and elegant reclining Buddha. The statue has the length of 55m (180ft) and the height of 16m (52ft). Though it is not the biggest reclining Buddha statue in Myanmar, thanks to the long history and elegant look, the Shwethalyaung Buddha is broadly known and appreciated. Regarding the history of this revered site, it used to be lost beneath the thick layers of tropical vegetation in the 18th century. It was until the year of 1881 when the contractors who built railway for the British administrator came across it. In 1906, the beautiful reclining Buddha statue was sheltered well. Then, in 1948, the Buddha was renovated, re-gilded, and painted that allowed it to present the best.
When to Visit Bago in Myanmar
November – February is the best time to visit Bago in Myanmar ! The months from November to February offer the comfortable and sunny conditions with the minimal amount of rainfall. The other periods might also be good to see Bago, but make sure your check the weather forecast to avoid the rain and the flood! If you’re long for the Buddhist festivals around the area, then come in November when Matho Thingan (Yellow Robe Weaving) Festival and Kahtein Thingan Offering take place countrywide, and. What’s more, as it is easy to reach Bago from the Bagan City and Yangon city, you can decide to go in February to join Ananda Pagoda Festival (in Bagan) or in March to take part in Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (in Yangon), and then spend some time exploring the vibrant Bago.