Yangon is the former capital of Myanmar. The city, with a population of over 5 million inhabitants, is lined by the Yangon River in the West and the Bago River in the South. Compared with other Asian cities of similar size, it gives the impression of being green and full of trees, above which shimmering pagodas seem to float.
The most famous and most revered monument in Yangon is the Shwedagon Pagoda, a must for every visit to Myanmar. More gold is said to have been used in building it than is possessed by the Bank of England.
The centre of Yangon still retains many impressive old buildings from the British colonial period.
Sights in Yangon:
Shwedagon Pagoda: The highlight of any trip to Yangon, and indeed to Myanmar itself, is a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda, located in midtown Yangon between the People’s Park and the Kandawgyi Lake. The best time to visit the 2.500-year-old pagoda is during the early morning or the evening, when you are able to enjoy this gilded sight in different colours.
Sule Pagoda: Situated in the very centre of downtown Yangon, the tall zedi of Sule Pagoda makes an excellent landmark, in fact, it is used as a milestone from which all addresses to the north are measured. It is over 2.000 years old, but like many other ancient Burmese shrines, it has been rebuilt and repaired many times over the centuries. It is said that the central stupa enshrines a hair of Buddha. Its Mon name, Kyaik Athok, translates as “the stupa where a Scared Hair Relic is enshrined”.
Botataung Pagoda: Bo means “leader” and tataung is “1.000” – the Botataung Pagoda was named after the 1.000 military soldiers who escorted relics of the Buddha brought from India over 2.000 years ago. This ancient monument was completely destroyed during World War II and is one of the few pagodas in Myanmar which allows visitors to walk inside, instead of just around.
Chaukhtagyi Reclining Buddha: This Reclining Buddha is almost as large as the enormous figure in Bago. It is located in a large metal-roofed pavilion on Shwegondine Road, only a short distance east beyond the Shewdagon Pagoda. If you can not visit Bago to see the Shwethalyaung, then do not miss this colossal image.
China Town: It is located west of the city centre, still within the downtown area. Here you can enjoy the bustling street markets, where you can buy nearly everything. You can also visit Kheng Hock Keong, the largest Chinese Temple in Yangon, which is over 100 years old.
Scott Market: The sprawling market offers the largest selection of Burmese handicrafts you will find under one roof. Even a stroll along all the different stands without the intention of buying is a pleasant change in every itinerary!