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Yangon and Environs

Myanmar's commercial & international gateway with about five millions inhabitants, formerly named Rangoon in the British time, is a modern city of gardens and tropical lakes, with picturesque old brick-buildings in the center, dynamic and colorful local markets, and integrated life of ancient traditions and spiritual heritage.

Early history of Yangon was vague until King Alaungphaya's foundation in the alluvial delta of Ayeyarwady River when he conquered lower Myanmar in 1755. Yangon, which means, End of Strife, chosen by King, as capital, became British colonial town for many years until 1948 when nation's independence has been gained.

Yangon has green and lush atmosphere in everywhere due to its wide and open spaces shadowed by trees and less high buildings, and an impression of tranquil life which is highly affected by nation's most dominant Buddhist customs.


Major Highlights

Shwedagon Pagoda

The most impressive sight is the golden dome of Shwedagon pagoda, believed that it had been originally built around 2,500 years ago, on the top of small hill, covered with about 60 tons of pure gold, the top of stupa is encrusted with thousands of diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, and nearly 100 meter of height, eight sacred hairs of the Buddha were enshrined, surrounded by hundreds of Buddhist temples, sacred stupas, and Buddhist faith-related sanctuaries, within the precinct, where Buddhists pay their respects by offerings flowers, pouring water over the different Buddha statues. Shwedagon pagoda was successively restored many times in the reigns of royal Myanmar kingdoms. The best time to visit Shwedagon pagoda is at sunset when the gilded stupa reflects fascinating luminosity in the fading rays of sun.

Sule Pagoda

Amidst straight streets, lies octagonal stupa of Sule pagoda of Mon era, dated back to 16 century, nearby Yangon City Hall, as distinct landmark of downtown, is also famous place with a shrine of spirit-worship called Nat-Nan.

Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda

The temple of huge reclining Buddha (Chaukhtatgyi pagoda), even dates back only to years 60s, is well worth visiting for its 70-meter long statue.

National Museum

It is situated nearby Shwedagon Pagoda, with its rich collections of ancient Buddha images, folkloric items of different tribes, royal regalia of last king's family, especially including the royal lion throne of 8 meter height, returned back from England, and as well as fossils dated back to Paleolithic age, is essential to visit in Yangon.

Bogyoke Market

It is established by the British in 1920's as Scott's Market, where one can find a great selection of typical Myanmar souvenirs including laqureware, woodcarving, cotton shoulder-bags, colorful textiles, longyis, monk's umbrellas and robes, paintings, jade statues, beads made of cultured-pearls, and exquisite jewelries.

Ministers' compound, supreme-justice building, and the oldest hotel of nation, the Strand, are some few neo-classical monuments of architectural highlights in Yangon city.

Scenic spots around Kandawgyi (the Royal Lake) where golden Karaweik bird (famous mythical bird) had been inspired for elegant reception hall, and acres of green gardens under the shadows of tropical trees, attract as fantastic photo-stop.

Other well-known places in Yangon are china-town for bustling night activities, Wardan jetty for scenes of local ways of daily life, Gem Museum for stone lovers, Kabaaye Pagoda (World peace Pagoda) for its dedication of sixth Buddhist conference, and Second World War cemetery.

Special visits to the Buddhist meditation centers and orphanage schools can be often carried out upon request.

Environs of Yangon


Day excursion in the environs of Yangon is the pottery village of Twante, short cross to Yangon River by ferry boat, about 40 km from Yangon, with its famous works of pottery and hand-weaved cotton cloth. Fascinating local market, as a real place of rural life, as a means of colorful community, is worthy to see. Most historic or interesting pagodas namely, Shwemawdaw and Baungdawchoke, stand in and near Twante. The town itself, situated on the bank of artificial canal, dug during British time to provide a short ride to Delta region.


Another day trip is one hour drive from Yangon to the north along countryside, historic Bago, formerly known as Pegu, was the capital of Mon Kingdom in the fifteen and sixteen centuries. It is about 80 km from Yangon, where nation's highest stupa of Shwemawdaw pagoda, with its 114 meter, is one of major interests in Bago, and 55 meter long statue of reclining Buddha under metallic shelter can be totally fascinated. Central Myoma market, Myanmar cigar (cheroot) factory belongs to private family, are essential to see. If time permits, recently renovated Kanbawzathadi royal palace, dated back to fifteen century, can be seen as historic highlight.


It is (former name of Syriam), one and half hour drive crossing Yangon River on the bridge acted as important trade center in the 15th and 16th centuries. Green countryside along road until very joyful visit to Yelephaya (literal meaning of the pagoda's existence at the center of river) and nearby local fish market creates relaxed excursion. The ruins of old Catholic Church, built by Italian missionary can still be seen on the way.


A four hour drive to the east of Yangon is to visit one of Myanmar most important pilgrimage sites, known as magnificent golden rock Pagoda at Kyaikhtiyo, located in Mon state, about 250 km from Yangon in the east. The natural amazing golden rock, situated on a hill, 1100 meters above sea level, with its small pagoda at the top sits precariously balanced on the edge of a cliff. It has been said that the sacred hair relic of the Buddha was enshrined in the rock. The recent motor road from the base camp to the top of Yethetaung Camp or Hermit's Hill is an advantage to save time, and the last 1.5 km to the pagoda entrance is not more than one hour by walking.


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