The picture you see was taken from just outside my hotel (see seperate tip) - not a bad view, eh? It is the Shwezigon Paya, one of the oldest in the Bagan region, and believed to be the prototype for the shape of so many of the paya you see all over Myanmar.
In an area with so many impressive buildings, this one stands out, and is particularly impressive when it is lit up at night (power outages permitting). It was supposedly built to house one of four replicas of Buddha's tooth which came from Kandy in Sri Lanka. Incidentally, I was told by a number of people in Myanmar that there are very close religious links between the two countries, due to the type of Buddhism practised.
There are four large bronze Buddhas in shrines at the four cardinal points. Interestingly, the compass points seem very bound up with the Buddhist religion in Myanmar, shrines are aligned this way, and you even have a compass point according to which day of the week you were born (see Burma tip on naming for further details).
There was no admission charge, although as always, there are numerous donation boxes dotted around.
- Religious Travel
The locals hangout.
I would tell you the name of this place, but, unfortunately, my knowledge of Burmese script isn't sufficient to translate the sign. To be honest, my knowledge of Burmese script is non-existent!
Whilst this place is a restaurant, and the food does look very good, I never actually ate there, so I'll tip it as a thing to do. The thing to do is to go and have a drink here. I initially picked this place because, on my first walk round the town, this place was packed to the gills with local poeple, whilst everywhere else on "restaurant row" (where it is located, seemed populaced entirely by tourists. It was the same every time I visited.
A lively local crowd gathers here in the evening to watch the usual mix of football, Hollywood movies and karaoke DVD's on the television, whilst drinking tea or beer, whisky and rum. A large bottle of Myanmar beer costs 1200 kyat (just over 1 USD). If you're looking for a big night out, however, the place closes about 2130 most nights.
If you want a local flavour, this is the place to get it.
- Beer Tasting