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- Bago Travel Guide

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Bago Local Guide - Download PDF version.


A peaceful corner in Bago

Formerly known as Pegu, Bago is a city and the capital of Bago Region to the South of Myanmar. It is located 50 miles (80km) from Yangon. The city was said to be founded by two Mon princesses from Thaton in 573CE. According to Buddhist Chronicles, eight years after the enlightenment, Lord Buddha and his principles travelled around Southeast Asian countries. While crossing the Gulf of Martaban, the Lord saw two golden sheldrakes sitting, female on top of male, on a peak of land protruding out of the sea just enough for a bird's perch. He predicted to his principles that in future a country where his doctrine would thrive would be founded and booming in this vast sea area. 1500 years after the prediction, that part of the sea was colonized by Mons from the Thaton Kingdom, who were the first rulers of the ancient country known as Hongsawatoi. Other spelling variations on the name include Hanthawaddy, Hanthawady, Hanthawadi and Handawaddy.


The city was first mentioned by the Arab geographer Ibn Khudadhbin around 850 AD. During several historical events, the city was exchanged between the Mons and Burmese. Bago was rebuilt by King Bodawpaya (r. 1782-1819), but by then the river had shifted course, cutting the city off from the sea and due to this, Bago never returned to its previous importance. The city was annexed by the British after the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852.


Bago city itself feels like a theme park of marvellous Myanmar Buddhist religious sites. Due to its proximity to Yangon (80km), tourists can easily do a day trip to Bago. Although there is a lack of quality accommodation in Bago, it is always better to spend a night so that you can more time to enjoy each place of interest to its fullest. Because the city is mainly filled with various religious sites, it is most suitable for tourists who want to explore and understand Myanmar's Buddhism and local customs at its purest and most peaceful - isolated from the crowd and noise of more modernized cities such as Yangon or Mandalay. There are many interesting religious sites to visit in Bago such as Kambazathadi Golden Palace, Kyaik Pun Pagoda, Shwemawdaw Paya, Shwethalyaung Buddha...


Apart from the those religious sites in the city itself, only two and half hour drive from Yangon and not very far away from the center of the Bago town is a paradise for bird watchers and eco tourists - Moeyungyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary which has large assemblies of migratory and resident water birds (recorded in 128 species). There is also an on-site high quality resort where tourists can stay and enjoy their get-aways.