Kyaiktiyo is one of the most interesting and sacred Buddhist sites of Myanmar. The “Golden Rock”, a boulder covered in gold, is balanced precariously on the very edge of a cliff. According to legend, it is kept from rolling down the hill by a strand of Buddha’s hair, precisely placed in the 7,30 m (24 ft) stupa that crowns the rock.
According to legend, Bago was founded in 573 AD by two Mon princes from Thaton. During the late dynastic period it became the capital of the Mon kingdom. The city is famous for its huge reclining Buddha, constructed in 994 AD, which measures 55 m (177 ft) in length.
You can easily visit Bago during a day trip from Yangon or on the way back from Kyaiktiyo to Yangon.
sights in Bago:
Shwemawdaw Paya: is said to be over 1000 years old, originally built by the Mon. It is 114 meters high and is seen from far away. The pagoda has long history of destruction due to earthquakes and reconstruction; it finally reached today's height in 1954, after a leveling of the stupa in a massive earthquake in 1930. The mouth of the two guardian beasts at the west entrance contains two Mahayana bodhisattvas.
Kanbawzathadi Palace & Museum: a former Mon palace, walled in the Mon style, with a square measurement along each side of 1.8 km. The palace housed King Bayinnaung from 1553 to 1599, who established the 2nd Union of Myanmar. It features the newly rebuild audience hall and the king's apartment.
Hintha Gon Paya: a shrine, built by U Khanti, who already built Mandalay Hill. It is supposed to be the point rising from the sea, when the hintha (mythological bird) landed here. It offers brilliant view over Bago and the region.
Shwethalyaung Buddha: a huge reclining Buddha. It is reported to be one of the most lifelike of all reclining Buddhas. Originally was it built in 994 AD of brick and stucco by the Mon king Migadepa II.
Mahazedi Paya: Originally constructed in 1560 AD by King Bayinnaung, it was destroyed during the sack of Bago in 1757, it wasn't rebuilt and the earthquake in 1930 leveled it nearly out. The current reconstruction was only completed in 1982. There is a nice surrounding view from the top. Within the compound is a nice little "Ananda" style temple, which features quiet interesting monk and Buddha images around the wall.
Shwegugale Paya: this zedi dates back to 1494 and the reign of King Byinnya Yan. It features a dark gu (tunnel) with 64 seated Buddha images inside.
Kyaik Pun Paya: built in 1476 by King Dhammazedi, it consists of four 30m high seated Buddhas placed back to back in the four heavens directions. A Legend says, that there were four Mon sisters connected with the construction and if any of them should marry, one of the Buddhas would collapse.