Burma’s Bago: Fabulous Temple Day Trip from Yangon - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Burma’s Bago: Fabulous Temple Day Trip from Yangon

Sleeping Buddha at Bago, Burma

One of the things that I absolutely love about Burma is its friendly people and their laidback lifestyle. It is as much an integral part of this country as are its temples. And the experience gets even richer when you get to combine both the two.

The very beautiful Mahazeti Pagoda at Bago, Burma

The world knows about the charms of Bagan and that of Yangon, Burma’s erstwhile capital and largest city. But, there is one other place where you get to experience the beauty of temples along with local fervour. One such place is Bago, a lovely temple town located just a couple of hours away from Yangon in the Iyyerawaddy region of Myanmar.

Burmese Girl with Thanaka on her face at Bago, Burma

The Bago experience begins right when you board the rickety-rackety train headed towards Bago from the center of Yangon. You travel with the locals, see how they go about their day-to-day life, you meet monks, you see kids going to school and most of all, you see bright faces with big smiles and an eagerness to interact with you. This two hour long journey with its vibrant local experiences sets the tone for your Bago city day trip from Yangon.

Monks outside ShweTha Lyuang Temple, Bago, Burma

Once you arrive at Bago railway station, you will be following a temple route interspersed with some local shopping and food breaks. The key temples on this route are:

1) The Sleeping Buddha – a massive statue of the Buddha in sleeping position.

2) The Mahazeti Pagoda – one that offers the best views of the Bago temple landscape.

3) Shwe Tha Lyuang Temple – At a length of 55 metres and a height of 16 metres, this temple is home to the second largest Buddha in the world. It is also home to the smiling Buddha.

4) Reclining Buddha – the temple that is known for its beautiful inscriptions.

5) Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda – this is the tallest pagoda in the whole of Burma.

6) Kyaik Pun Pagoda – the 4 Faced Buddha Temple.

Inscriptions on the feet of the reclining Buddha at Bago, Burma

Out of these temples, my favorite temple for sunrise or sunset is the Mahazeti Pagoda as this allows you to get an aerial view of the Bago temple landscape (they close the climb to the top during the rainy months) and my favorite temple for action is the Shwe Tha Lyuang temple. It is here that you can see religious and spiritual fervour, local shopping action and opportunities to taste some delicious local food.

Bago Landscape dotted with Pagodas

Irrespective of the temple you visit, you will find that people are always hospitable, friendly and eager to interact with you and you will find religious zeal and peace almost at each place. You could take the experience up a notch by wearing a longyi and applying some thanaka on your face.

Smiling Buddha at Shwe Tha Lyuang Temple, Bago, Burma

The temples of Bago offer a fabulous day trip from Yangon and is much recommended. Do remember to take the local train at least one way for the richness of local interactions. The temples here have lots and lots of charisma. Do give yourself some time to experience it.

Longyi Shop at Bago, Burma

Things to carry with you:

1) A bottle of water as there involves a lot of walking in the open sun.

2) A pair of sunglasses to protect you from the glare.

3) Slip on footwear that you can wear and remove easily at all temples.

4) A camera to capture all the temples and the local atmosphere.

Bago's Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda

How to get there:

You can either drive, take a bus or take a train to Yangon. The journey (one way) should take between 2 to 3 hours.

Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda in Bago - the tallest in Burma

My favorite is the train journey as it allows you to travel from the heart of Yangon to the heart of Bago while experiencing colonial era meter gauge trains, the life of a local Burmese person and for lots of interesting local conversations. The train ticket is very cheap, can be bought directly at the train station and there are usually lots of seats to be found if you reach the station about 20 minutes prior to departure.

A Hand Crafted Bag Store at Shwe Tha Lyuang Temple, Bago, Burma

Where to stay:

If you wish to stay in Bago, I would recommend heading to the main road in S/Zainganaing Qr for a lot of options.

Due to Bago’s close proximity to Yangon, one can stay at Yangon and visit Bago as part of a day trip. And Yangon has a wide range of options when it comes to accommodation.

Where to eat:

There are small places to eat right in front of Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda and the Shwe Tha Lyuang temple, but if you feel like eating at a proper restaurant, then head to the main road in S/Zainganaing Qr for a lot of options.

Four faced Buddha Temple at Bago, Burma

Other must see attractions:

1) Yangon, the erstwhile capital of Burma, Burma’s largest city and that offers a beautiful mix of colonial history, local culture and gorgeous temples

2) The pottery town of Twante on the Ayyerawaddy delta

Burmese Buddhist History depicted on the wall of the Shwe Tha Lyuang Temple, Bago, Burma

3) Bagan: The ancient land of temples in Central Myanmar

4) Inle Lake: The floating life of Burma that is home to many unique cultures, handicrafts and hydroponic farming

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