- Place or Religious Monument
Bago is the capital of the region with the same name, 80 km to the north-east of Yangon.
It is a city you can pass through on the way to the Golden Rock. Bago is not very interesting in its own right. I spent a day and a night there, but I could have spent just half a day instead. It is not an essential place to see when you visit Burma.
Not to miss in Bago: the Shwethalyaung Pagoda, an impressive Buddha 55 meters in length and 15 meters high. This is a major site of Buddhist pilgrimage, so there can be large numbers of Burmese there who've come to venerate it.
I visited Bago Monastery, where I was welcomed by monks and had the opportunity to observe some of their daily rites. I greatly enjoyed Bago Market too.
When staying in Burma, a common option is to visit Bago on a day trip from Yangon. This was not what I did because my itinerary took me a little out of the way (compared to most other travelers). Sleeping over meant not having to worry about return transport and enabled me to take full advantage of the whole day.
It was by tuk-tuk that I visited Bago and its various sites. Amongst these was snake temple, where you can admire a giant python dozing at the feet of the faithful who go there each day to pray and make a donation, the impressive Shwethalyaung Buddha, and the four seated Buddhas at Kyaik Pun Paya, to cite just a few examples.
Perhaps what made the greatest impression on me that day was when we entered the hall of the first monastery we visited, the Kya Kha Wain Kyaung. The temple is known to house as many as 1500 monks or more!
Bago is charged with history and 2000 years of Buddhism. It must be said that there is quite a lot to see, even if the Shwemawdaw, apparently bigger than the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon, was destroyed in an earthquake (its remains are still there).
To see, therefore: temples. Take note architecture enthusiasts. You could well do with the services of a guide as there are many stories and anecdotes. Having said this, what left the biggest impression on me was above all the atmosphere that the monastery exudes, when we enter the classroom and the apprentice monks are seated right on the floor, eyes riveted on the ancient language exercise book. That each one mumbles in their corner as they repeat the phonetic sentences. That we have the right to be there, at that moment. It is really lucky. And when a local who is passing by invites you to bend over the same book and puts his whole heart into making you recite the same words, it becomes a wonderful moment of exchange. Funny, but genuine. To experience on a trip to Myanmar .