the fact that Thailand has a long border with Myanmar, it
is nonetheless relatively difficult to get from one country
to the other. Due to severe political differences, a history
of wars, and an increasing drug smuggling problem, the roads
between Thailand and Myanmar are frequently closed to travel,
essentially making Myanmar a fly-in and fly-out destination.
Thai International Airways, and Myanmar Airways both offer
daily flights from Bangkok to Yangon for about US $200.00
roundtrip. Once in Myanmar, there are flights from Yangon
to Nyaung U, the closest airport to Bagan, for about US $200.00
round trip. In addition, several travel agencies offer package
tours to Bagan, some of which make the trip from Yangon to
Bagan by cruise boat up the Ayeyawaddy River. These tours
are all well staffed and luxurious, however, they are quite
is a lot to see in Bagan, with thousands of pagodas, temples
and shrines to choose from. The following are some of the
more noteworthy attractions in Bagan.
large temple is one of the best preserved of the Bagan
sites. Built in 1091 by Kyansittha, this temple was partially
reconstructed in 1979 after sustaining extensive damage
in a 1975 earthquake. Ananda is home to numerous Buddha
statues, as well as beautiful glazed ceramic tiles of
scenes from the period.
site is fabled to be the location of some of the Buddha’s
remains, including a tooth and several bones. Construction
on this pagoda was started during the reign of Anawratha,
and finished after his death by Kyansittha.
is considered by many to be the most significant religious
site in Bagan, and was constructed in just seven months
and seven days.
temple is very significant as it is exemplary of a change
in architectural styles, which resulted in a more open,
spacious feel. In addition, Shwegugyi is famous for its
beautiful carvings, and stone tablets of its history.
Like Shwezigon, Shwegugyi was built in a little over 7
temple built by Alaungsithu in the 12th century
has the distinction of being the highest temple in Bagan,
rising some 200 feet into the air. Thatbyinnyut was also
damaged in the 1975 earthquake, but has since been repaired.
the exchange rate between US dollars and Burmese kyat is set
at 6.25 kit to the dollar. However, this official rate has
literally no basis in reality. Upon arrival in Burma you will
have to buy at least US $300.00 worth of foreign exchange
certificates (FEC) at the official rate, however, travelers
can expect to use these about half the time. Currency can
also be traded in shops and hotels, which typically yields
about 125 kyat to the dollar.
to the Traveler
is a country that is just recently becoming open to the rest
of the world. This being the case, the traveler must expect
certain things that may seem a bit alarming. Foreign travelers
to Myanmar are kept track of by the government, so don’t be
alarmed if you see some one following you around. There are
several sites in Myanmar that are considered to be dangerous
to travelers, especially along the Thai border. Do not
go to these places, as they are impromptu war zones, and serious