Bago lies about 85 kilometers north of Yangon and was founded in 573 AD. The city was one called Pegu by the British and used to be the capital of the powerful Mon Kingdom for centuries. According to records, Bago was then still connected to the ocean and was actually known as Burma’s largest seaport. Travelers from far and near boasted about its size and beauty when returning home from their journeys. These days, the power of the once important empire can only be guessed at by visiting the many sights Bago has to offer. Among those are many small and big Buddha statues, pagodas, ceremonial items and gardens.
One of the biggest and oldest reclining Buddhas in the world, which was only rediscovered in 1881, when workers started clearing the jungle for a new train route from Yangon to Bago can be found in the city. Even older are the four 27-meter-tall Buddhas, which were built by King Migadippa in the 7th century, sitting back to back at the entrance to the city. They guard Bago rigidly, greeting people who enter and leave from all directions. Food for thought offers the Kya Khat Wine Monastery, where the 1,000 monks line up soundlessly and in orderly queues every morning at 11am for the last meal of the day. When witnessing the monks exact routine, speaking and interfering is not allowed and visitors have to adhere to a strict observing only policy. During the afternoons though, the monastery is a lot less crowded and might appeal more to people who like the tranquil setting.