Yangon

YANGON (Rangoon)

yangonToday a city with of around 6 million, Yangon is the former capital of Myanmar, situated 22 miles inland from the sea on the Yangon River. With the main port of entry into the country, it is one of the most attractive and fascinating cities in Asia, with evergreen tropical trees, shady parks, beautiful lakes, golden stupas and extensive variety of urban colonial architecture. The breathtaking glory of the golden Shwedagon Pagoda, the largest of its kind in the world, makes the city host to one of the most revered religious sites in the East.

Historically the settlement on the riverbank was a simple village called Dagon. In the mid 18th century one of Myanmar’s greatest kings captured it from a rival and renamed it Yangon meaning “End of Strife”. In the late 19th century the colonizing British established the port and started constructing major buildings, the well known and magnificent structures still standing in excellent condition downtown. It soon became the nation’s most important city.

As well as Shwedagon, which is surrounded by beautiful parks and gardens, and many interesting monasteries, other Yangon pagodas are well worth a visit, including the 2000 year old Sule Pagoda which stands in the middle of a busy road junction, the riverside Botataung Pagoda with its history of ###, and the Chauktatgyi monastery and pagoda which houses the unrivalled beauty and serenity of a great reclining Buddha image.

The Yangon National Museum is a treasure trove of historical artifacts, gemstones, artwork and ethnic displays and a fascinating introduction to the complex history and ethnography of Myanmar. Also popular with tourists and locals alike is downtown Bogyoke Market (Scott) with its hundreds of stalls selling fabrics, jade, precious gems, crafts from the many remote regions, colorful paintings, clothing and antiques.

While the streets of the city centre are fascinating in themselves, other attractions include China Town, Kandawgyi Lake with its peaceful gardens, the Gems Museum, People’s Square and People’s Park, and Yangon Zoo. On the city’s outskirts is the hauntingly beautiful Allied War Memorial Cemetery commemorating over %%% fallen soldiers from the fierce fighting in the Burma battleground. Thrimingalar Vegetable Market and the Kyimyintine Fish Market will introduce you to the huge range of fruits vegetables, herbs, and sea foods that form the basics of the Myanmar diet.

One increasingly popular destination within the city is the cyclone-ravaged but fascinating former Nagar Glass Factory. Production stopped in 2008 but the hillocks of broken colorful glass still visible in the encroaching jungle make a surreal impression. Intact handmade treasures can still be discovered here.

Inya lake, larger than Kandawgi and a favorite with the city’s many demure lovers, is a popular exercise and entertainment spot, offering beautiful reflections and a feeling of freshness in the midst of city life. Nearby is the home of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

A river cruise along the Yangon River will also give you an opportunity to enjoy a scenic view of the city and witness the busy activity of the port and the river itself, as fishing boats and ferries ply constantly across its waters.

While there is no hop-on hop off tourist bus circuit available yet in Yangon, individual sightseeing tours can easily be arranged.

WHERE TO GO—SIGHTSEEING IN YANGON & ITS ENVIRONS

Shwedagon Pagoda

shwedagon-pagodaTowering almost 100 meters above the green cityscape of Yangon, the Shwedagon Pagoda is the landmark visible from miles around. One of the wonders of the world, it is believed to have been built over 2500 years ago. The hair relic of the Gautama Buddha and other relics of the three previous Buddhas were enshrined in it. Successive kings had enlarged the Pagoda during the period of from 15th to 18th century. The final enlargement of the Pagoda was carried out by Queen Shin Saw Pu, rising to the height of 326 ft.

Sula Pagoda

sule-pagodaLocated right in the center of the Yangon city is Sule pagoda built over 2000 years ago. As many other ancient pagodas, it has been rebuilt and repaired many time. It is also believed that a hair relic of the Buddha was enshrined according to its Mon name “Kyaik Athok” meaning the pagoda where a sacred hair relic of the Buddha over 2000 years ago.



Botahtaung Pagoda

botahtaung-pagodaSituated on the bank of the Yangon River, Bo means military leader and Tahtaung means a thousand. Thousand of military leader came there to welcome and escort the hair relics of the Buddha brought from India over 2500 years ago. Later a pagoda was built on the site where the sacred hairs were welcomed. It was completely destroy during WW II and rebuilt in 1948. Most of the pagodas in Myanmar are solid but Botahtaung is hollow inside like a temple. So visitor can walk through it.

Chaukhtatgyi reclining Buddha Image

chaukhtatgyiSituated north east of Shwedagon pagoda is Chauk Htat Gyi Reclaiming Buddha Image (72 m) long, one of the largest Buddha Images long. Original image was built by Sir Po Thar in 1970 and damaged due to climate over the years.




National Museum

national-museumNational Museum, situated southwest of Shwedagon Pagoda, stands now on Pyay Road. The old museum was first at Jubilee hall on Shwedagon pagoda road. In 1970, it was moved to and housed on Pansodan road till 1994. It has five stories and has rich collections of antiques, cultural objects, arts and handicrafts of national races and the royal regalia, traditional musical instruments and paintings are on display. National Museum is the place where the national and cultural heritages of the entire nation are well preserved.

Bogyoke Market (Scott)

bogyoke-marketIt was formally called Scott Market named after Mr. Jarvin Scott, Rangoon Municipal Commissioner during the British colonial government. After the independence in 1948, the name has been changed to Bogyoke Aung Sun as the honour of our national leader, General Aung Sun, who fought for the independence against British. Local as well as imported household materials, textiles, lacquer wares, silverwares, sculptures, jewelries and gifts are available. It is open on every day except on Monday.

Downtown

dawntownBeing geographically and commercially the heart of the city, you can reach by bus every part of the city easily from there. Most of the tourists start their city tours at the right center of the city, opposite the Town Hall with the visit of Sule Pagoda. When you arrive at the center point of the city, you can find simultaneously the City Hall, the Immigration office, Immanuel Baptist Church and High Court Building. It is an ideal place for those who want to take pictures of these buildings built during the colonial time.

YANGON’S ENVIRONS

THANLYIN (Syriam)

thalyinLocated about 40 km away from Yangon ( a 45 minute drive) is Thanlyin, occupied by the Portuguese in the early 17th Century as a trading port, and still boasting old buildings as evidence of this interesting era. Of course, Thanlyin is home to impressive pagodas such as Kyaik-Khauk Pagoda, Heindu Temple, Phadagyi Pagoda and Kyauktan (Ye-le) Pagoda each with its own special architecture and Before entering the town, cross the almost 2km long bridge over the mighty Bago River. If you have time in Yangon, don’t miss making the half day excursion to the small town.

TWANTE

twanteTwante, situated on the Bank of the Twante canal, is a two-hour drive by boat and an hour drive by car from Yangon. The boat trip will give you excellent opportunity to see the rural life of the local people living along the canal. Being famous for its pottery industries, it is now visited by tourists who wish to witness the making of pots both useful and aesthetic.



PATHEIN

patheinThe third biggest city of the country and the capital of Ayeyarwaddy division is Pathein. About 180 km (four hour drive) from Yangon, It is the main gate way to very famous beaches in Myanmar. Ngwe Saung beach and Chaung Thar beach are not far from Pathein. Pathein umbrella and Halawar ( traditional snack) are well known in Myanmar. Other places of interest are Shwemoutdaw pagoda and Mawtinzun pagoda.

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Travel Expert Company Limited specialises in adventure travel in the more remote regions of Myanmar.  It has guides who are experts on birds, wildlife, and environmental issues. However, they are also very well - informed on cultural and historical issues.

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