enCHANTing Bago

Bago is described as an easy day trip from Yangon, but we decided to stay there for a couple of nights to more easily enjoy the sites on offer. A 10,000 kyat ( around $A10) Archeological Zone ticket gives you access, and lasts for three days.   We checked out the Shwe Tha Lyaung Reclining Buddha, Shwe gu lay Pagoda, Mahazedi Paya, Nuang Daw Gyi Mya Tha Luang Reclining Buddha, Kanbawzathadi Palace and the Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda. There were many more temples and places you could visit, but this was more than enough for a full day’s viewing. We hired a scooter from the hotel and M was fearless as usual in negotiating local traffic. I just hung on the back and gave the thumbs up sign to locals who appreciated M’s scootering skills.


As mentioned in the previous post, we stayed at the Kanbawza Hinthar Hotel which was very good mid-priced accommodation. They picked us up from the train and were very helpful with other transport needs (scooter, and taxi to Yangon airport). However, we happened to be staying there the week in February when the pagoda behind the hotel had 24 hour chanting pumping out of their speakers. Such is Asian life. For 2 nights it was ok – anymore and we might have been looking for somewhere else to stay. But it was well worth it as the sights of Bago were impressive, especially the mosaic work.


People are strange, when you’re a stranger

In Bago we stayed at the Kanbawza Hinthar Hotel. More about that (and the wonders of Bago) a bit later. On our last night we were told that because there weren’t many guests that we could select our breakfast as a full buffet would not be available. From the list offered I chose an omelette which was part of the American breakfast set. Our waiter was a little disconcerted that I only wanted part of the set and checked ‘JUST the omlette? No toast?’ When I said yes, he muttered ‘strange’ – which I thought was hilarious. From a country that eats noodle soup for breakfast (Mohinga, which is a great dish), likely he would think my usual breakfast of yoghurt and fruit downright weird. The full American set was omelette, toast, jam, butter, sautéed potatoes, chicken sausage and sliced tomato. The following morning I received (as expected) the full set – which made for a good photo. I have to say though that the omelette had my requested ingredients. And was very tasty.

The full American set – not strange at all
Seen earlier while sightseeing – the gorgeous feet of the Shwe Tha Lyaung Buddha in Bago




Usually I don’t like showing my toes in public, but in Myanmar it’s a necessity if you want to visit any pagodas, monasteries, homes and even some shops. Having learned from our previous pagoda visit that the tiled courtyards can get very warm for bare (western/soft) feet in the afternoon sun, we decided to get an early start to experience the Shwedagon Pagoda. Which is truly amazing = plenty of gold, jewels and detailed mosaics.

The rules of entry are simple – no bare knees, no bare shoulders, no shoes or socks, no drones.
Side view of the southern gate
The gold stupas were beautiful in the morning light. There is an incredible amount of precious stones and jewellery on the very top of the main stupa.
Depending on what day and time you were born, there is a particular space to worship – this is the Wednesday morning corner.
Shwedagon Paya is one of the most impressive sites I’ve seen for mosaics – such detail. 

By the way, any handy wipes given to you before or after a pagoda visit are probably for your feet. Not for your hands once you’ve put your dusty shoes back on. I would never make that mistake.