Bago (Myanmar)

Bago (formerly Pegu) is the capital city of Bago Division in the Irrawaddy region and the 4th biggest city of Myanmar with a population of 245,000 (as of 2005).

Understand

Many travelers will want to leave this city as fast as possible, which is not quite justified. The sunset from the top of Mahazedi Pagoda provides for an stunning view with many pagodas sticking out of the green surrounding and a Buddha lying and relaxing in between. If you are in a rush, you can still visit the main attractions within 3-4 h by hiring a motorcycle and then hop on your onward transportation.

Get in

Bus

The   Highway Bus Station can easily be reached by foot. If you are planning to change buses in Bago beware that you are not necessarily dropped off there but at the   Bus Stop close to San Francisco Hotel. This is especially true for buses from the south. There will be a guy that sells bus tickets and he will claim that Bago has no main bus station making him the only one selling you an onward ticket. This is not true and you can easily get transport to the main bus station.

Due to the new highway between Mandalay and Yangon, all buses coming in from the north (Mandalay, Bagan, Naypyidaw) can also be used to get into Bago. Possibly, you will have to get off along the highway and do the last 26 km by pickup.

Train

The train offers a hassle-free way to get out and into Yangon, since the Yangon train station is in the middle of the city, contrary to the Yangon bus stations. The prices for upper class are 1,150 kyat from Yangon (600 kyat for ordinary class), 3,150 kyat from Mawlamyine, about 9,000 kyat from Mandalay and about 5,000 kyat from Naypyidaw.

Taxi

You can leave Yangon in the morning by taxi ($40-50). A taxi is a very convenient (but still pricey) choice because you use it to see the sights in Bago, which are quite far apart. Also, you can stop at Taukkyan on the way.

Get around

Walk

All of the sights in Bago can be reached on foot and are within 2 km of each other. However, with the heat or rain that may not be the best way. As a solution, you could combine single shared tuk-tuk rides (200 kyat) with walking. Especially the sights at the western end of the city (around Shwethalyaung Buddha) are all in walking distance, even the Mahazedi Paya is just 5-10 min from the reclining Buddha.

Bicycle

They can be rented at several places, ask your hotel or at San Fransisco Hotel, and are a great way to explore the city if the heat is not too bad. The price is between 1,000 and 2,000 kyat.

Shared ride

Many shared tuk-tuks and pickups are available along the main road(s). Do not pay more for transportation than the locals do: 200 kyat for a shared tuk-tuk or pickup ride. However, often motorbike and tuk-tuk drivers will approach you in mob fashion and try to convince you to pay up to 1,000 kyat. Just walk away from them and try to stop a passing tuk-tuk/pickup along the main road you'll never have a problem getting one. However, seldom they are not available at certain places.

Motorbike

You can hire motorbikes or tuk-tuk for a whole day for 6,000 kyat, if you discuss a bit, just the bike without driver. This is only worth the money if you are more people or if you want to be sightseeing the whole day from dawn until dusk. Otherwise, single, shared tuk-tuk rides will always be cheaper. Especially the sights at the western end of the city are all in walking distance (20 min or less).

Private ride

You can get private tuk-tuks or motorbikes at most street corners and sights, however they charge more and will try to rip you off (they want up to 1,000 kyat for a ride, 5,000 kyat for an hour). In that case, just walk away and ask a different one or get a shared tuk-tuks/pickup. Locals pay 500 kyat for a motorbike ride.

Taxi drivers may suggest avoiding the 10,000 kyat government fee for visiting certain pagodas. Make sure you agree on how much extra you're willing to give him for this service as he may demand/expect the 10,000 kyat in return. The fee is only enforced at two places. Easy to avoid it, no need for taxi drivers.

See

An official government fee of 10,000 kyat is required to visit most of the sights in Bago. However, it is only strictly enforce at Shwethar Lyaung Pagoda, Shwe Mawdaw Pagoda and KanBawZaThadi.

Do

Except for walking/driving around and visiting the numerous sights, not much more can be done in Bago.

Eat

Numberless small and local kitchens are spread all over town, serving soup, noodles and other typical Burmese food. Simply go in and try, they are reasonably clean if frequented well. Many dished go for under 1,000 kyat or even under 500 kyat.

Drink

On the east side of the train station and rail tracks a lot of typical (and sometimes doggy) Myanmar beer pubs can be found. Otherwise, try the place nearby the clock tower described in the previous chapter.

Sleep

For the hotels along the main road always ask for a room in the back, because this road is where all traffic from Yangon to the east goes through, also at night.

Go next

Bago is located strategically between many onward destinations, Yangon & Ngwe Saung to the east, Kyaiktiyo & Mawlamyine to the southeast, and Bagan & Mandalay to the north via the new & fast highway. It can be a hard choice, but east and north can be combined in a circle, e.g. via the far Mruak U.

Bus

Train

The quoted prices are for upper class; ordinary class is cheaper but can be full. For more details see Seat61.com, or ask directly at the train station where you also will have to buy the ticket upfront.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, April 01, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.