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.
When you are at Bago, take time to drop by various Buddhist constructions there. Pay a visit to Shwemawdaw Pagoda, a semi-hemispherical structure (called ‘stupa’) of 114.3 meters, considered the tallest pagoda in Myanmar. This solemn place is also known as the Golden God Temple, and it is believed to enshrine Buddha’s hairs and teeth underneath. Also, in western Bago, the reclining Buddha statue of Shwethalyaung is worth contemplating. Being meticulously made and amazingly lifelike, with a length of 55 meters and a height of 16 meters, this is the second biggest reclining Buddha, after the one in Dawei, Myanmar. According to Burmese people, the statue presents the image of Buddha in a relaxing mode. Another remarkable building is Kyaik Pun Pagoda which is famous for its Four Seated Buddha statue of 27 meters, including four Buddhas named Kakkusana, Kassapa, Konagamana, and Gotama situated to four directions, heading their back to one another.
Leaving these Buddhist related sites, head to Kanbawzathadi Palace, a destination included in the Archaeology Department of Bago. Originally, in 1556, the palace was built for King Bayinnaung – Second Myanmar Empire’s founder, and it consists of 76 apartments and halls. In 1599, the palace was burned and later has been reconstructed since 1990. Kanbawzathadi Palace promises to be the highlight in any Bago trips in the near future – once its reconstruction is finished. In order to catch a glimpse of nature, take a two hour drive towards the north of Bago in the early morning and you can observe a wide variety of birds at Moeyinghi Park. Bird watching on boat is an interesting experience for anybody; also, do not forget to use the observation stands.
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.