The colonial charm, the sprawling parks, its soothing lakes, all within the confines of massive golden pagodas. This can only be Yangon. If you are coming in and out of Myanmar, you will most likely have to spend some time here. And since you are here, why not make the most of it? Not only does the country’s biggest city serve as a great introduction to the country, it is also home to a wide range of attractions and experiences, enough to give you unprecedented and long lasting memories of the former capital.
Yangon is a mixture of cultures; you have the Burmese walking side by side with people of Chinese, Indian and even British heritage. All that culmination of cultures combine to form a city filled with interesting sites.
There are two ways to explore the city. If you just want to see the main ones and cram it all in one day, a car tour would suffice. That may just be the option for you if you have just one day here. But if you are spending more time here, perhaps you are more interested in something more detailed. The city is a walker friendly one and by doing so, you’ll also get to absorb the atmosphere, meet the people and get up close to the sights and sounds that make Yangon the unique city that it is.
You can reserve to see Shwedagon Pagoda either at the beginning or the end of your tour, but one thing is certain, you cannot miss out on this site. This is perhaps the city’s, if not, the country’s most iconic attraction. You can believe in its legend, stating that the site is over 2500 years old, or in its archeological findings, stating that the pagoda was first conceived at around the 6th century.
You can be assured your visit here is unique. Unlike most other religious sites, this one combines the spiritual and secular aspects of Burmese life together in one place. You’ll see devoted pilgrims and religious people on the floor praying while young children can be seen playing and adult Burmese engaged in social activity nearby.
Not to be outdone by its more famous pagoda cousin, this city-center monument also deserves your attention. Get this, according to legend; Sule was built even before Shwedagon. Not only is the 46 meter high pagoda one of the city’s main monumental attractions, its downtown location makes it a landmark as well. If you get lost in Yangon, just look for Sule, Yangon’s dependable city center landmark.
Myanmar, let alone its history, is a mystery to many folks out there. Gain further insight of the country with a visit at the National Museum. Step into a time machine and delve into the country’s history proud history, even going as far back as pre-historic times. The place is quite roomy, consisting of 14 halls spread across 4 floors. Who needs history books?
Want to truly capture the Burmese at play? There’s no better place than here. Surrounding the lake is a huge recreational area, which in itself consists of a zoo, an aquarium and an amusement park. The Lake is also known for its Karaweik, a replica of a traditional Burmese royal boat, in the southwestern tip of Kandawgyi. Need a place to relax? Looks like you’ve found the place at Kandawgyi Lake.
Welcome to Yangon’s largest lake. How big is the body of water? It will take you about two hours to circumnavigate your way around the lake’s shorelines. This is another popular park and recreational area where locals enjoy hanging out. Quite understandably, a lot of the shoreline consists of prime, expensive properties, the most famously of which is the residence of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market):
Absorb the combo colonial and Burmese feel at one spot when you step in here. And quite fittingly, it has two names, one English colonial and one local Burmese. The place is quite well known for its faded European style architecture, inner cobblestone roads and its Burmese environment. These facts alone has made it a major attraction in Yangon. But don’t forget, this is also a lively market. Step in and bargain for some nice items, ranging from antiques, clothing and coins, to souvenirs and other local merchandise.
Yangon Circular Train:
All aboard, the Yangon Circular Train! We suggest recapping your Yangon experience aboard this slow moving yet environment absorbing train. The track starts from the city center, heads out into the outskirts, passing villages, rural settlements and the countryside, finally looping back to the starting point. The rail system consists of 39 stations, is about 46 kilometers in length and is approximately four hours in travel time. Which is more than enough time for you to absorb the environment, the various people coming in and out of the train and the verdant scenery that passes you by.
These are just some of the highlights in Yangon. A walking tour could very well take you to some others, such as the city’s Chinatown, Chaukhtetgyi Pagoda and its 70 meter long reclining Buddha statue and Kaba Aye Pagoda within which is the Buddhist Art Museum and Maha Pasana Cave. Even aspiring yoga practitioners and meditation devotees will be satisfied, especially when visiting the Mahasi Meditation Center or the International Meditation Center. If just wandering around and admiring the faded colonial structures in a purely Asian city is your thing, then Yangon is the city to be in.
Find out more with our dedicated Yangon and Surroundings tour. That’s right, we’ll throw in some fascinating destinations just outside of Burma’s biggest city in this tour as well.
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