Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Bago of Myanmar

Glance town seemed busy, dry, hot, and dusty in the summer it does not look like a large city that was once the center of the Mon kingdom in 14-16 century. However, the existence of a number of religious sites and the rest of the royal past made Bago one of the popular destinations for day trips from Yangon in Myanmar. From there, I also visited a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mount Kyaiktiyo and see the golden pagoda on the stone that defied gravity.

This time I was in one of the train carriages at the railway station Yangon. My goal is Bago, a small town in northern Yangon within approximately 2 hour train ride. The distance is not too far away, but the train in Myanmar running very slow, so it takes longer than a bus trip or car. However, that's what got me interested in trying a train trip in Myanmar.

Railroad train in Myanmar mostly older, legacy of British rule. The chairs are still many in the form of a hard wooden bench and not coated at all. The arrangement between the two facing each lounger, each capacity for 2 people. The most inexpensive class I was riding did not have a fan at all, simply relying on the windows were wide open.

Before the train left, the hopper is filled by passengers who mingled with the hawkers. Usually they sit in chairs vacant until a passenger who claimed it was his seat. Make no mistake, although it looks very old-fashioned, the operation of the train is still following the system that was once applied to the British period, the ticket number has already given his seat. So, although it looks a bit chaotic, as long as the ticket would have been able to get a seat.

After a few simple sentences to interact, several young women hawkers sellers began to look relaxed and crowding around me. "What's your name?" Apparently they understand a few simple English phrases. Had exchanged names, but until now I never remember and know how to write their name because it is very difficult to pronounce. Whether true or not, one of them his name sounded like 'Tusalam'. I also took the opportunity to wonder a little about some simple phrases Myanmar language.

By opening my guide book containing simple little list of useful words, I pointed to the words of the Myanmar language characters and asked them to recite. Min ga la ba (hello / hello), jai zu ding ba de (thank you) and te tawng (thousand) successfully I remember until now. They burst out laughing every time I find it difficult to repeat the words they speak. It is difficult pronunciation Myanmar.

Finally there came the sound of the whistle the train is leaving soon. The hawkers are not necessarily panicked and ran off the train. They still looked relaxed sitting and standing in the corridor. Apparently true, the pace is very slow train. Several minutes before the women hawkers were down, waving his hand to me. See you again in Yangon!
Train cars bounced to the left and to the right as the train pulled away from the hustle pihuk city, Yangon. Almost the same as in Indonesia, the train passed through the outskirts of Yangon where many visible slums near the rail. Soon before the landscape changes into the green fields and pastures are empty.

Train officers accompanied by several policemen to each passenger and check the ticket. Sometimes there are some security officers in the patrol car. Maybe they exist turn looks after him because there are sleeping in the front of the carriage. Whether because of the heat or simply because it was not on duty, the officer opened his uniform and hung bed near the window. They sleep with wearing a white undershirt and trousers only.

It was only when the train almost came to a goal that requires great security, they wake up and tasked with wearing full uniform and weapons. A few minutes before the train stops at the station Bago, they've signaled so I got ready at the exit. As soon as the train slowed to enter the area of ​​the station, a security officer to immediately jump to the platform just in case.

As he rushed down, I realized why I was ordered to move quickly. Apparently the passenger who was waiting at the station Bago looks very hastily boarded the train just came of it. Probably because the train stops only 2-3 minutes, while they look much luggage. Some of them look requesting assistance to passengers in the train to pick up their luggage in advance through the window. Only after that they rushed to board a train. Soon the train went on his way again.

Once out of the station Bago, a bunch of brokers directly attacked the tourists. A young man in his 30s came to me with a friendly smile and ask if I need a hotel. He assured me that he would take me to a nice hotel and cheap and not far from the station.

A five-minute walk, I arrived at a hotel in the main street. However, because it is less suited to his room rather noisy because it is located on the edge of the road, I asked for another recommendation. A burly dark-skinned man ordered the young man to take me on a motorbike to another hotel. Later revealed that the man named Mr. Yee, a bus ticket brokers who have 'power' for many years in the city of Bago.

The touts youth to take me to another hotel a bit away from the city center. He said not all the inns in Myanmar should accommodate tourists. Only the inn already had permission from the government who should receive foreign guests. Whether true or not, the situation creates a less rigorous competition that sometimes the quality offered by the inn is not worth the price.

Because I feel that the young man was a polite and well, I decided to travel around Bago by using the services of the bike. "Do not worry, I already know all that is in your guide book. I will take you to all these places. 'Promise of youth then diketahu named Zou Ma Leih it. From 10,000 kyat requested we finally agreed a price of 6,000 kyat (about Rp70.000).

Our first destination was to see the monks eat in a convent. Somehow these activities can be well-known in the city of Bago. But certainly, when we were there had a lot of tourists gather. Most look like Thais are Buddhists who once came to ask for prayer by the monks they know.

Two giant pot of steaming rice in front of an entrance hall. Some young monk in charge of distributing rice and vegetables. In the hall of the hundreds of monks sitting cross-legged on the floor in small groups around the round table. Somehow feeling every day the monks have to eat while watched by visitors. According to Zou Ma Leih, the monks should only eat one time a day. That is why, hours of eating the monks considered a special time.

From the monastery, then we start the temple-hopping by visiting some of the famous temples in the city. Actually there are so many temples in Bago, but the temples we visited has its own uniqueness. The most famous is Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha, the Buddha statue sleeping through 55 meters indoors. Not far away there is also a new sleeping Buddha statue was built in 2002 in an open platform. Sculpture with the name Mya Tha Lyaung this Buddha has a larger size with a length of over 80 meters.

Although Bago is a small town, a lot of giant objects there. Other sculptures that can make people amazed is 4 statue of Buddha sitting cross-legged with back to back position. Height of each sculpture is 27 meters and placed in an open field in the area Kyaikpun Pagoda.

From there we visited the Snake Monastery, where a giant python, which is said to have originated from the incarnation of the abbot. While saying a prayer, monastery officials put the sheets of paper money given by the visitors on the body of a snake that was sleeping soundly. It is estimated that the snake is now over 100 years old and has a length of more than 5 meters.

Attraction seen pictures with images of a rock gold decorated by pagoda at an angle on top of a hill? It is the Golden Rock, located on the Mount Kyaiktiyo with a height of 1,100 meters above sea level. The distance is approximately 210 km from the city of Yangon. However, since I've been in Bago, a trip I stayed 2 hours by bus.

Bus stops in Kinpun of Bago, the nearest village to get to the Golden Rock. From there there are two options, walk uphill as far as 11 km or truck. Only 2,500 kyat (Rp 30,000) per person, about 70 people at a time can be transported to heading up the hill. Trucks are used intentionally modified in order to accommodate more passengers. Rear tub section contains 10 rows of seats so long attached to the legs away so long might be a little less comfortable.

One truck can be fully charged in less than 3 minutes. I wonder whether it is a holiday or indeed usually always crowded, it was a lot of local tourists who will go to the Golden Rock. So there is one truck that would otherwise go, everyone running around frantically and elbow each other to fight to get a seat.
I was lucky to be allowed to stand in the back of the truck. Holding hands tightly to the metal back of the seat in front, my body slammed to the left to the right as the truck sped through the streets are steep and winding. Really like being on a recreational vehicle park.

Forty-five minutes later, the truck arrived at the station to carry passengers. Unfinished passengers get off, the truck was immediately invaded by dozens of passengers who want to ride the truck to descend the mountain. Separated from the crowd, I could only breathe freely while walking on the trail to the gate of the Golden Rock Pagoda.
Neatly paved streets welcome visitors, enlivened with stalls and souvenir shops on the left and right. For foreign tourists, are required to report themselves at an information office where we were asked to sign the guest book and pay the entrance fee of 6,000 kyat.

Two giant statue resembling a lion stands proudly at the gate. From that point all visitors are required to walk without wearing footwear. There were just leaving his shoes on the stairs, there is a check in the locker and some are brought by putting it in a bag.
The gate of visitors still have to walk again through an open plaza with marble stones are very hot during the day. Some visitors look on tiptoe or run quickly when passing through areas with hot rocks.

It did not take long until I finally could see for themselves the magnificent figure of the Golden Rock. A stone with a decorative golden pagoda on it seemed surrounded by the prayers. The rock itself has a circumference of 15 meters and a height of 7.6 meters, while the pagoda on top of it has a height of 7.3 meters. Gold color around the stone caused by gold paper pinned by the visitors after praying.

The most impressive is that only a portion of the stone position side attached to the ends of the side of a hill, the rest depends defied gravity without retaining anything underneath. According to legend, the Golden Rock was built by means of using a hair pinned Buddha.

I also walked around the golden stone. There are two platforms where visitors can enjoy the magic stone that looks as if it could be deposed at any time, from above and from under rocks. In accordance with the prevailing culture in Myanmar, only men are allowed to enter the sacred area around the rock and put a gold paper. The women should only be prayed outside the fence.

Strong fragrance of incense wafted in the areas of prayer. In addition to views of the Golden Rock itself, the natural scenery around the peak of the hill it is also worth to be enjoyed. If you have a more relaxing time, might be able to stay one night in hotels that are around the Golden Rock in order to enjoy the sunrise and sunset are certainly very beautiful.

• To be practical, 1,000 kyat often equated in value to 1 USD. But, make sure the exchange rate applicable in order not to lose when it comes to choose the currency of payment.
• Payment of the USD should use a sheet of paper that was new money (there should be no folds, dirty, or torn).
• Ensure wearing decent clothes while visiting the temple. Should not wear shorts above the knee and open tops.
• If planning to visit many temples in one day, better wearing sandals than shoes so much easier to let go.
• If planning to descend from the Golden Rock on the same day, not to miss the last truck (around 6 pm). Be sure to ask the driver or attendant fare collector when the last truck going down. If not miss the truck, we had to walk 11 km to the village of Kinpun

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