Reachable in a day trip from Yangon, or en route to Mawlamyine and the southeast, Bago served as the Burmese capital between the 14th century and 16th centuries, when it was known as ‘Pegu’. A remarkable collection of monuments survive from this golden era.
Towering 114m (374ft) above the city skyline, the huge Shwemawdaw Pagoda is just one among dozens of spectacular stupas, temples, shrines, huge Buddha statues and elaborately embellished ordination halls dating from the empire’s heyday. Bago is also the site of a popular shrine to a living snake - a century-old, 30-ft (9m) long python!
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