Yangon, the former capital city, is the main gateway to Myanmar. Evergreen and cool with lush tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakes. Yangon has earned the name of “The Garden City of the East”. Yangon was founded by King Alaungpaya on the site of a small settlement called Dagon when he conquered Lower Myanmar in 1755. Yangon’s name has been changed along the history: first Dagon, then Rangoon, now Yangon. Today it covers 400 sqm and has a population of over 5 million.Yangon gives a very different impression from other Asian cities of similar size. It seems full of trees, wide streets, orderly town planning and neglected colonial-style public buildings revive visions of a century of British rule, while busy street scenes and shimmering pagodas, bursting through a leafy canopy, hint the rich local culture. From miles away on ship or by plane approaching the city, you see a golden tower stabbing the sky: the Shwedagon Pagoda, the largest and oldest temple of its kind. Towering almost 100 meters above the green city, this 2,500 years old shrine is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from many lands and is the very symbol of why Myanmar is called ‘The Golden Land’. A visit to Yangon is not complete without a visit to Yangon’s premier sight!
Sule Pagoda is over 2,000 years old and a haven of peace in the bustling downtown area, “it can be seen every day, but very rare to make a visit” – people here compare it with Piccadilly Circus. Botataung Pagoda is the only one where you can walk into the stupa! And believe it or not, it is the ONLY pagoda in the world where you can see a real hair relic of Lord Buddha. Kaba Aye Pagoda means ‘World Peace’, to which this pagoda is dedicated. It was built in 1952 and its significant because of the Sixth World Buddhist Synod, which was held there in 1954. Chaukhtatkyi Pagoda is actually not a pagoda but a Tazaung (pavilion) where a 70 meters long Buddha statue can be found. Mae Lamu Pagoda, named after the mother of the legendary founder of the city, is a wonderland of spired pagodas and sculptured figures.
Wander around the Bogyoke Market where you can find a mixture of foreign made products and Myanmar antiques, wood, ivory and mother of pearl carving, lacquer ware, tapestries, and, and, and…You will also meet Myanmar people from all walks of life.
The National Museum is located on Pyay Road, about a few minutes away from downtown. The newly built five-storied museum will let you know the glory of Myanmar. It exhibits the Lion Throne of the last Myanmar king, royal regalia of 19th century Myanmar kingdom, artifacts of various ancient periods, articles of cultural heritage and archaeological value, art and craft articles, weaponry, musical instruments and paintings. The Natural History Museum is situated near the Kandawgyi Lake. It has a notable collection of Myanmar’s geographical, biological and archaeological diversity including flora and fauna, forest products, minerals and rocks.
In the Myanmar Gems Museum, of the 100 counters in the building 30 on the ground floor, 34 each on the first and second floors are privately owned, whereas the remaining two counters on the ground floor are run by the Myanmar Gems Enterprise and Myanmar VES Joint Venture Co., Ltd. These three floors of the Gems Mart present the whole range of Myanmar ruby, sapphire, period and a variety of assorted colored stones, jade, pearls in lots or embedded in exquisite jewelry, gold ware, silverware and jade figurines. These are sold in Myanmar Kyats, US$ or foreign exchange certificates (FEC). The Myanmar Gems Enterprise (MGE) under the Ministry of Mines annually holds an auction at the Emporium. In the gems museum, you will find ruby, jade, pearl and the jewelry counters.
On a city tour to downtown and Yangon’s riverfront you will see many of the remarkable sites of the colonial and religious past of this garden city. Old Rangoon was Dr William Montgomerie ’s design. He was the army superintendent surgeon and learnt his city planning skills from Sir Stanford Raffles in Singapore. Buildings of heritage in Yangon are now listed for protection. The period architecture of the old city center, among others, includes:
The City Hall, which is designed by U Tin in 1925, incorporates Myanmar themes into its facade, including floral motifs and mythical creatures. The High Court, a red brick extravaganza built by the architect John Ransome in 1911. The impressive building sports a clock tower whose four faces are lighted at night, and can be seen floating above the city centre. The Strand Hotel built in 1896, once described as the “leading hotel of the East”. The Strand has long been recognized as a national landmark, a model of auspicious, colonial repose. The hotel’s Victorian influence is visible even from the colonnaded entranceway.
The Customs House was built of red brick in 1902. The Township Judicial Offices building, a long grey structure with high pillars, finished in 1920 was once headquarter of the Burma Socialist Program Party. The towered Myanmar Port Authority, on the corner of Strand Road and Pansodan Street. The office of the Ministry of Information, built in 1918, is a four-story structure with austere pillars and originally served as a bank, later as the National Museum and now returned to its original duty as a bank. The Yangon Division Court House built in 1912, in the Queen Anne architectural style as well as the Yangon Division Court House built in 1912. The Rander House, at the corner of Pansodan Street and Merchant Street. The adjacent Government Telegraph Office was built same year as the High Court – though a fresh coat of paint ensures that it looks as striking as architect John Begg intended. The compound of the Secretariat along Mahabandoola Street and Bo Aung Kyaw Street. Construction began in 1880 and finished 1905, resulting in a massive red brick building with four wings radiating out from a central dome. Here in 1947 General Aung San and five members of his cabinet were assassinated during a meeting. The Yangon General Hospital, impressively designed with expansive arches and towering turrets completed in 1911, and was the first public building in Myanmar constructed of reinforced concrete. The Railway Station, with its traditional Myanmar motifs.
Zoos and Parks
Located near the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, the Yangon Zoological Garden is noted for its collection of wild animals from around the world, rare species, flora and fauna, which have been collected over the years since it was opened in 1906. On weekends and public holidays, snake dance and elephant circus are performed for visitors. The Zoological Garden Amusement Park is also a well-known spot for children and teenagers. People’s Square and People’s Park occupy over 130 acres of land between Shwedagon Pagoda and Pyithu Hluttaw (the Parliament). There is a museum housing life-size models of nationalities in their colorful dress. A restaurant in the Park serves Myanmar, Chinese and European cuisine.
Within the walking distance from Minn Dhamma Hill, there is an Elephant house where the three White Elephants are kept. In many Asian countries including Myanmar, white elephant is regarded as a supreme royal ornament. National Races Village is situated in Tharketa Township, on the left of Yangon-Thanlyin Bridge. You will not only enjoy fresh breeze blowing across Bago River but also get the sense of Union Spirit from the village of national brethren, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. You can see buildings with significant symbols denoting various national races residing in the country.
HLAWGA WILDLIFE PARK
Located 45 minutes from Yangon, it is inhabited by more than 90 species of birds and 70 species of herbivorous animals. It is an ideal place for picnickers, naturalists, botanists and bird-watchers. Visitor can also enjoy elephant rides, boating and fishing in the park.
HTAUKKYANT WORLD WAR II CEMETERY
Located at Htaukkyant, about 32 km from Yangon on the road to Bago, there is a memorial cemetery of Allied soldiers who died in the Burma Campaign during World War II. The cemetery’s beautifully kept compound has 27,000 tombstones of fallen Common Wealth and Allied soldiers
The ancient capital of the Mon Kingdom (15th century A.D.) is located 80 km north from Yangon (two hours away from Yangon). This charming town is rich in tradition, many pagodas, temples and one of the largest monasteries in South East Asia (home to some 1000 monks who daily arrive to get their only hot meal per day). It is famous for its enormous Shwemadaw Pagoda, “Shoemadoo…was once, in point of sanctity, superior to all other temples in Ava, and the natives declared it to be more than 2,000 years old. Shwethalyaung Pagoda, one of the largest and most elegant reclining Buddha images in Myanmar is built during 9th century, stretching 55 meters; Kyaikpun Pagoda, also known as the Four Faces pagoda was built by King Dhammazedi in 1476. Actually it is a misleading translation, as it is not a pagoda, in true sense of the word, but rather four images of different Buddhas facing the cardinal directions. They sit back to back against a massive brick pillar. They represent Gautama Buddha (facing north), Konagamana (south), Kakusandha (east) and Kassapa (west); the Bago Market, a colourful local market where many people of the surrounding rural areas come here to sell or buy and it is one of the busiest parts of the town. Popular also for its traditional cheroot making industry
MOEYUNGYI WILDLIFE RESERVE
Situated in the Bago Division, the Moeyungyi Wildlife Reserve covers 40 square miles of an enormous wetland. Our bird watching enthusiasts will be more than thrilled to stay there for one day!
This Land of Highly Civilized People is located 285 km north-west of Yangon at the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River. Descending 5,000 years ago from Mongolian tribes, the Pyu became the ancestors of Myanmar people. Archaeological discoveries indicate that the city attained its height of prosperity between the 5th and 9th centuries. There are many places of interests to be found! Shwesandaw Pagoda, standing on the platform of this Golden Hair Relic Pagoda, you will hardly overlook the Hset That Gyi Pagoda; an enourmous seated Buddha image, rising over 66 meters above the city – it gives Pyay the look off “LEGOLAND”. Srikhetra is a paradise for archeologists. In the compound of the largest and best preserved Pyu settlement you will find the stupas of Baw Baw Gyi, Be Be Gyi, Paya Gyi and Paya Mar among Myanmar’s oldest ones.
The Shwe Myat Hman (Buddha with the golden spectacles). So many people asked us whether Myanmar Travel Ltd. did a photo montage – No, we did not! This image was built by the most powerful Pyu King, Duttabaung, in the 5th century AD. Soon after the construction he lost his ‘3rd eye’. He was advised to donate a pair of spectacles to the image – thus he regained the divine -gifted eyesight. Maybe spectacles were invented in the 5th century AD and not in the 14th century AD?
A small town on Twante Canal, it is 24 km from Yangon and takes about two hours by boat along the canal. The boat trip provides a view of the life along the canal while Twante itself provides interest as a center of pottery and hand-woven cotton cloth. The RV Mahaythi has daily (guarantee minimum 2 persons departure) river cruises to Twante. Pick-up from your hotel is at 07:00 and you will be back in Yangon at appr. 15:00 P.M. For more information, please kindly check our river cruises.
Letkokon village and Ywa Thit Kone village just a kilometer further away are small fishing villages. Fresh and delicious seafood and juicy tropical fruit of the season can be enjoyed to your contentment. A sunbath under the shady coconut groves sipping tender coconut milk under the sunny sky would be a pleasant time to pass. The one and only hotel, the “Letkokon Beach Hotel” with a number of Chalet type bungalows is located at the end of the driveway leading from the beach. Poor road, electricity supply, telecoms, accommodation, fresh clean water, modern conveniences and other facilities are limited. Over a century old monastery of teak logs and planks and another about half a century old are in the vicinity of Ywa Thit Kone. The Ayeyarwady River, which branches into several rivulets in the Delta Region before entering into the sea deposits fertile silt to form the Delta, where nutrient and fragrant rice cultivation, thrives on the rich soil. The Chaung Tha Beach further west, the Kan Thar Yar Beach and the Ngapali Beach in the north-west on the Rakhine Coast where the sea water is clear for swimming and surfing and of course, facilities are far better…