Yangon, which was the capital of Myanmar until 2006, is the most inhabited city (7 million people) and the hub of economic activity. A very interesting fact is that Yangon has the privilege to be the city with the most colonial style buildings in South East Asia. Some of them have been renovated and some have not, creating an interesting sense of both decline and glory at the same time.
What to see in Yangon?
The centerpiece of the city, a gleaming golden stupa visible from all over the town, surrounded by a complex of temples and secondary stupas. An interesting thing is that buildings in Yangon cannot be taller than this pagoda.
CHAUK HTET GYI
In this pagoda we will find this giant, 70 meter long, Buddha statue, being a must when visiting the city:
Walking around Kandawgyi lake, it is easy to spot this historical golden boat. It has an exclusive restaurant inside, where Burmese dance shows are offered.
BOGYOKE AUNG SAN (SCOTT) MARKET
Having thousands of shops inside, where Burmese clothes, jewelry and many other traditional goods are sold, this is the perfect stop for the shopping lovers.
Located in downtown Yangon and right next to the city hall, this ancient pagoda has been the starting point for many revolutions against the dictatorship, among them the famous “Saffron Revolution”, led by thousands of monks in 2007.
What to see in its surroundings?
The town of Dala is located in the colorful countryside surrounding the busy city of Yangon. Travel by ferry across the Yangon River to Dala where a trishaw ride exposes the natural beauty and local customs of this rural town. Although close to Yangon, the pace of life is dramatically different. Don’t forget to stop at the local monastery to learn about the cultural and spiritual beliefs of the people before returning to Yangon.
A stone away from Yangon’s downtown, this famous town was a popular port of Portugal in the early 17th century. The stunning view from the 1,822-meter-long bridge overlooking Bago river is worth the trip to Thanlyin. Portuguese influenced buildings can also be seen as an evidence of its golden days. Thanlyin and its surrounding offer many attractions including National Race Village, over 200 years old Kyaik-Khauk Pagoda and Yele-Kyauktan Pagoda, known as the “Island Pagoda”, on Bago river.
Easy access from Yangon, the town is about 2 hour boat trip along the canal from Yangon. Experience a joyful rural life during the trip, as Twante is known for its potteries making and cotton weaving industries. A smaller version of infamous Shwedagon Pagoda, named Shwesandaw Pagoda, is also worth a visit nearby the center.
Located in Greater Yangon, this well maintained cemetery has 27,000 tombstones of British Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives in Myanmar during WWII. This beautiful and peaceful place is about 90-minute drive away from downtown Yangon.
Once the glittering capital of lower Myanmar during Mon Dyansty, Bago is about 80 km north of Yangon. Along the way to this town, it is possible to enjoy the charming and peaceful lifestyle of the local community. With the river crossing in the of the town, Bago has many capturing cultural sites to visit, including Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Shwethakyaung reclining Buddha, kalayani Sima Ordination Hall, a massive 28 meter tall Buddha Statue in Kyaikpun Pagoda, and the the Mon Kingdom’s Kanbawzathardi Palace.