Bagan is the land of thousands of ancient stupas and temples dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. Over 10,000 religious structures were built in the 42 sq km plain with about 2,200 remaining today. Erosion is an issue in this area with much of the stucco coating of the temples gone revealing the reddish bricks beneath. The resulting ageing process lends a very romantic feel to these temples. I have been to Angkor Watt years ago but Bagan, for me, is more interesting and more spectacular. What is interesting here is that the temples all have very different architectural styles.
Mandalay is the second largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Only two Burmese kings ruled from here, King Mingdon and King Thibaw, before the British conquest in 1885. Even though a large part of the city and its splendid wooden structures were bombed during WWII, Mandalay still remains the religious center of Myanmar. Mandalay Hill is dotted with numerous temples and pagodas. It has long been a major pilgrimage site for the Burmese Buddhists. The Sutaungpyei Pagoda atop Mandalay Hill offers a panoramic view of the surrounding areas.
Yangon, also know as Rangoon, was the former capital of Myanmar. It is filled with colonial buildings left behind from the British times. We spent most of our time relaxing at the Governor’s Residence Hotel. We did venture out to visit the Bogyoke Market (Scott’s Market) but the highlight was definitely the Schwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar.