One of Myanmar’s most visited sites, Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda is located in the small town of Kyaikhito, in the Mon state. This is 160 km away from Yangon, a 3.5 – 4 hour drive to the base camp, followed by a truck ride to Hermit Hill, and about a 1 hour hike to the Golden Rock. It is a 7.3 meters high pagoda erected atop a rock covered under layers upon layers of gold leaf – all delicately balanced on the precipice of a granite cliff. According to Burmese legend, this strange pagoda is kept in place by a single hair of the Buddha.
Bago is located just 8 km from Yangon. Bago Shwemawdaw Pagoda is one of the most famous reclining Buddha images in Myanmar. Dominating Bago at 114 meters is Shwemawdaw Paya. Similar to Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Shwemawdaw stupa is reached by a covered walkway lined with stalls, some with interesting collections of antique bits and pieces.
Kyaik Pun Pagoda is also famous in Bago. Built in 1476 by Myanmar King Dhammazedi, it consists of four Buddhas that have reached Nirvana, namely Kassapa Buddha, Kakusandha Buddha, Konagamana Buddha and Gautama Buddha. They sit back to back facing the four cardinal directions against a massive brick square central post on top of which is a golden spire with a multi-tiered ceremonial umbrella. According to Myanmar legend, four Mon sisters were connected with the construction of the Myanmar Buddhas; it was said that if any of them should marry, one of the Myanmar Buddhas would collapse.
The Kanbawza Thardi Royal Palace of Myanmar Bago Dynasty is not far from Bago. It was built as a royal palace during the ancient times of Myanmar. The palace compound in the center, known as Kanbawzathadi, housed Myanmar King Bayinnaung from 1553 to 1599 and covered 82 hectares. About 26 hectares of this area have been excavated.