(Axel Boer) #1







Other Attractions
Kha Khat Wain Kyaung MONASTERY
The is one of the three largest monasteries
in the country and watching the long line
of monks and novices fi le out in the early
morning for their daily round of alms is
quite a sight.
Busloads of tourists visit the monks at
lunchtime (10.30am). You’re free to wander
around the eating hall, and most of the monks
think it’s hilarious that tourists come and
watch them eat, but the atmosphere is a bit
like a zoo. Prior to the protests of 2007 there
were supposedly 1500 monks in residence
here but afterward that fi gure fell to just 400.

Snake Monastery MONASTERY
A short distance from the Kanbawzathadi
Palace and Museum is the Snake Monastery,
where you’ll fi nd a former head of a monas-
tery in Hsipaw reincarnated in the form of an
enormous 118-year-old Burmese python. Ap-
parently the snake told its owner up north the
exact address he needed to go to in Bago in
order to complete the construction of a stupa
begun in a previous life. Streams of pilgrims
come to pay fearful homage to the snake.
Even if the snake isn’t actually a monk,
it is amazing simply because of its sheer
size. Burmese pythons are regarded as one
of the world’s largest snakes but this one,
which chows down 11lb of chickens every 10
days, has to be at least 17ft long and a foot
wide, making it probably one of the largest
in the world. Don’t worry though, it’s harm-
less. There’s a zedi nearby on a small hilltop
that’s great for watching sunsets.
The temple and zedi are somewhat hard
to fi nd, so unless you can speak Burmese, it’s
probably a good idea to hire a guide.

zFestivals & Events
Shwemawdaw Paya Festival RELIGIOUS
On the full moon of the Burmese lunar
month of Tagu (March/April) this festival
attracts huge crowds of worshippers and

 4 Sleeping
The quality of accommodation refl ects the
fact that many travellers visit Bago only for
the day. Most of the options are on the busy
and – make no mistake about this – noisy
main road, so rooms towards the back of
these hotels are the choice pickings. Elec-
tricity is generally available only from the
evening to early morning.

Travellers keen to avoid government-
owned hotels should bypass the Shwewatun
Hotel, out towards the Shwemawdaw Paya.

Bago Star Hotel RESORT $$
(%30066; http://bagostarhotel.googlepages.com;
11-13 Kyaikpon Pagoda Rd; s/d $24/30; as) The
Star, one of the better choices in Bago, is lo-
cated just off the highway and only a short
walk to the ever-watching eyes of the Kyaik
Pun Paya. The business card describes the
accommodation as ‘Country style, Bangalow
type Hotel’ and the A-frame wooden rooms
and pool do give the place a summer-camp
feel. The showers are hot, the swimming
pool is murky and the restaurant is echoing
and formal. Bikes can be rented for K1000
a day. Generators keep the air-conditioning

Emperor Hotel HOTEL $
(%21349; Main Rd; s/d $6-14; a) This place is
the best of the downtown budget lot. Rooms
have recently been repainted, in a very sexy
pink, of course, and the more expensive have
a bit of light and space. The hotel’s size al-
lows some respite from the city noise, and
rooftop off ers great views of the surround-
ing religious monuments.

Gandamar Hotel HOTEL $$
(%201629; Shwemawdaw Paya Rd; s/d $20/25;
a) That rarest of things in Myanmar, a new
hotel! The 35 rooms here are located outside
of the city centre, a short walk from Shwe-
mawdaw Paya. Also working in its favour
is a generator that provides electricity 24/7.
The bad news? The generator also provides
juice for an adjacent karaoke lounge.

San Francisco Motel HOTEL $
(%22265; 14 Main Rd; r $4-10; a) The rooms are
rough and ready but fear not, for this is an
excellent budget hang-out in the true sense
of the word. The guys who run it organise
excellent motorbike tours of Bago’s sights
and are so knowledgeable that by all rights
they should actually be a tourist offi ce.


With impressive temples, emerald rice
fi elds and a buzzing city all within cy-
cling distance of your hotel, you could
easily spend a day or two exploring
Bago on two wheels.
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