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el2995 Bago - A travel report by USC
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Bago,  Burma - flag Burma -  Bago
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el2995's travel reports

Bago: A Trip Beyond Rangoon

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Bago travelogue picture
Bago is about 50 miles north of Rangoon by car and can make for an interesting day trip if you yearn to get out of the city and experience a bit of Burma’s rural side. Once you’ve made your way beyond the military garrisons and string of small towns, the drive to Bago takes you past numerous rice paddies, farms and an assortment of small villages which line the road and can be easily explored by foot during that brief leg stretch or nature call. The town of Bago isn’t rural per se but is decidedly rustic with a bit of a frontier feel to it, and becomes quite bustling as you cross the bridge over the Bago River.

Favourite spots:
Bago travelogue picture
The Shwemawdaw Pagoda, which can be seen from some distance across the plains given its height, is impressive. Keep in mind that foreign tourist must pay a six US Dollar or FEC admission fee to enter the pagoda, as the region is considered an Archeological Zone, but the fee also enables you to visit the other temples and pagodas in the area. The Hintha Gon Temple houses a statue depicting the symbol of the town of Bago: a pair of mythical ducks (Hintha) perched on a small rock, with the female on top of the male. It is said that the town started out as a lone rock sitting in the Gulf of Martaban, and when a wayward pair of Hintha happened upon the rock as the only available resting place and there was only room for one to stand, the female chose to stand on the male’s back. The large Shwethalyaung (Reclining Buddha) is one of the main draws to the area. Kanbawzathadi is the site of King Bayinnaung’s palace, and features a museum and a reconstruction of the Bee Throne Hall.

What's really great:
Bago travelogue picture
Behind the Reclining Buddha hall is a whitewashed pagoda called Mahazedi Phaya that can be climbed to obtain a good view of the Bago area and a picturesque temple nestled amid a stand of palm trees. When I was there I encountered a group of Buddhist monks who were also there to enjoy the view. I also had fun practicing my Burmese with a particularly flirtatious local girl and her two friends.


Sights:
Bago travelogue picture
I didn't visit it, but Bago is known for its interesting open-air market. I enjoyed simply walking around to see the sights, experience the atmosphere of the place and interact with the locals, who I have always found to be very warm and friendly. If possible, embark on your journey from Rangoon early enough to be able to watch the sunrise over the paddy fields.





Restaurants:
Bago travelogue picture
There are a variety of restaurants along the main road offering Burmese and Chinese cuisine.

Other recommendations:
Bago travelogue picture
The British War Memorial Cemetary between Rangoon and Bago is dedicated to the memory of those British soldiers and airmen who died on the field of battle. There's a small village midway between the cemetary and Bago that makes for nice photographs, especially in the morning when the monks beg for offerings on the roadside.


Published on Monday September 16th, 2002


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