|YANGON & SURROUNDING
Bago(Pegu) is just 80 km(50 miles) north of Yangon ( Rangoon ). Apparently Mons was the first to settle at this site. The ancient capital of “Hanthawadi” said to have founded in 573 AD by two Mon princes from the capital Thaton. In 13th century Bago became the center of the Mon Kingdom of “Ramanadesa” which consist of all lower Myanmar ( Burma ).
Shwethalyaung reclining Buddha Image Measuring 55 meter long 16 meter high is reputed to be one of the largest as well as most life linked reclining Buddha images in the world. Built by the Mon in 994 this big Buddha was restored several times but was overgrown by the jungle after the total destruction of Bago by the Burmans in 1757.
Being a small town with not many interesting sites, Bago should be included as a day trip from Yangon only when we have extra time or can be part of the longer trip or travel to Kyaiktiyo ( Golden Rock ).
KYAIKTIYO ( GOLDEN ROCK )
The famous legendary Pagoda on the Golden Rock about 160 Km from Yangon. This pagoda is situated on a rocky mountain 3615 ft above sea level. The Kyaikhtiyo pagoda is one of the most ancient and celebrated of all pagodas in Myanmar ( Burma ). There is also a popular belief that a person gains in wealth every time he climbs the hill. It is a test of one’s endurance and is very exhilarating once a person has reached the summit. Kyaikto Hotel located on the hillside is the full view of pagoda. The season of pilgrimage is from October to May. Our coach has to stop at Kinpun Base camp. From there the pilgrims have to take an open truck which is normally used for hilly track up to the hermit “ Yathae Hill “. On arrival at the “Yathae Hill” they have to trek about one hour up hill. It can also be reached by trekking from the base camp. Porters and palaquins are available to carry luggage and pilgrims who are too old or weak.
Some people think its not worthwhile to take a 6 hours drive ( oneway ) and an overnight just to see or travel a guilted bolder. But if you are a nature lover and if you are totally aware of what could you expect at Golden Rock you will enjoy your trip very much. Due to no competitive, the hotel rate is very high but facilities are very basic and simple.
Two En-Route Towns
Located 175 miles from Yangon and is the only place for the tourists where you can get good accommodation on Yangon - Mandalay road. Taungoo (Kaytumadi City) was founded by King Mingyinyo in 1510 A.D and later innovated by King Minye Kyawhtin.
All the four sides of the city wall are still very conspicuously seen, with the exception of the part of the southern wall. The wall is built of bricks. About 6.4 m from the wall city is the first moat filled with soft mud, which is about 9.6 m wide.
It is one of the main gateways to Bago Yoma and its teak forests in which you can see how elephants work like pulling logs and to treat them. But the working site is not stable as it is moving around, so need to follow where they are. And the accommodation will be very simple we will be arranging the camping tents and sleeping bags on bamboo decks.
Taungoo is only good as a stop over to avoid tedious ( 14 hours ) drive between Yangon and Mandalay. However, if ones wish to visit or travel Elephant camp call ‘Thargara’, one night stay in Taungoo is recommended.
PYAY ( PROME )
Pyay (Prome) is only 161 km north of Yangon travelling along a well-maintained highway by car. Pyay is situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady River on a lovely location. Visitors can stop over in Pyay and travel on to Bagan and Mandalay.
Pyay was anglicized as Prome after the Second Anglo-Myanmar war and in ancient times was known as Thaye-khittra (Srikshetra) from 1-9 AD. Srikshetra, the ancient Pyu capital about five miles to the east, is interesting place to visit because of their historical importance and archaeological sites. Interesting Places in Pyay are Shwesandaw Pagoda, Sehtetgyi Pagoda, Baw Baw Gyi Pagoda, Be Be Gyi Pagoda and Payama Pagoda. It is famous for the “Ahkauktaung” which was the custom port in the ancient time and it is know for its curving on the cliff along the river.
This small town of 6 hours drive from Yangon, offers some interesting sites but it is not suitable to do it as a separating visit. Normally we do it as a stop over between long drive of Yangon and Bagan.