Located 220 kilometers north of Yangon and towards the northeastern end of Bago Region, Taungoo is famed for its areca palms.
Taungoo’s center is dominated by its bustling market and is famous for its cheroots and betel nut. The betel is so renowned in Myanmar that a person who has experienced good fortune is compared to a “betel lover winning a trip to Taungoo.”
The old Kaytumadi city (Taungoo today) was founded by King Mingyinyo in the 15th century. Although few visible historic remains survive, Taungoo was once the capital of one of the most powerful post- Bagan Burmese kingdoms, over which seven kings reigned for a period of 155 years. All the four sides of the brick city wall remain, with the exception of the part of the southern wall.
Many people see it as no more a stop-off point on the way from Yangon to Mandalay or Inle, but an enjoyable visit to elephant camp in Taungoo and some historical places redolent of the heyday are enough to draws visitors for a few days.
What to see and do
Although its ancient empire has long since crumbled, Taungoo remains an important pilgrimage site for Buddhist devotees who flock regularly to Shwesandaw Pagoda. Located in the center of the city, it is one of the grandest pagodas of Taungoo, attracting lots of Buddhist pilgrims as well as travelers around the world every year.
Legend says that, the king of ancient Sri Lanka gave eight precious hairs of Buddha to Bayint Nyaung. Bayint Nyaung kept four and the others were divided equally among his four brothers, Lord of Marhatan, Lord of Pyay, Lord of Inwa, and Lord of Taungoo. The Lord of Taungoo constructed a stupa named Shwesandaw to keep his part.
Myasigone Pagoda is one of the most attractive destinations in Taungoo even though it is less well known as Shwesandaw Pagoda.
Visit elephant camp in Taungoo
For those who love nature and animals, do not miss the chance to visit Phoe Kyar Elephant Camp, one of the most famous elephant camps in Myanmar. From the ancient time, Myanmar considered elephant as a noble animal, and used them as a powerful weapon in the war with neighboring countries. Come here, visitors can make acquaintance with friendly elephants, ride and feed them. In addition, the Elephant Show also attract visitors’ attraction. You will like that verdant and refreshing area with flowering trees, wild orchids and beautiful birds.
Thandaungyi is situated 2-hour drive east from Taungoo. This town attracts increasing number of foreign tourists with its mix of nature beauty, quirky legend and newfound tranquility. The town is overlooked by the mountain named Naw Bu Baw, an important religious site of local Christian in this area. According to local legend, the mountain is still plagued by the spirit of Naw Bu Baw and her husband- a local prince named Saw Thaw oh Khwa.
(*) The town has recently opened to tourist, access to Thandaungyi is free but remember to bring a copy of your passport to give to police at checkpoint outside the town.