Yangon, the former capital, with its population of over 5
million, is the gateway to Myanmar. It was founded by
King Alaungpaya on the site of a small fishing village
called Dagon when he conquered Lower Myanmar in 1755. The
name Yangon means 'End of Strife'.
The Central Railway
Karaweik palace, Royal
Yangon gives a very different impression
from other Asian cities of similar size. It seems full
of trees and shades. 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 will see a
golden tower stabbing the sky. This is the
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!
The Golden Shwedagon Pagoda
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
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.
means 'World Peace' to which this pagoda is dedicated.
Built in 1952, it is significant because of the Sixth
World Buddhist Synod, which was held there in 1954.
Actually it is not a pagoda but a Tazaung (pavillion)
where a 70 meters long Buddha statue can be found.
named after the mother of the legendary founder of the city, is a wonderland of spired pagodas and sculptured
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, lacquerware, tapestries, and, and,
and...You will also meet Myanmar people from all
walks of life.
CITY CIRCLE TRAIN
Take a 2 1/2 hour ride in one of the 50 years old coaches
fully covered with detergent advertising. If you wish to
drive through rural areas, stopping at numerous stations
watching cigarette sellers, betelnut sellers, fortune tellers, and, and, and... - then just buy a ticket
or - if you want to travel
in comfort - charter a special carriage complete with
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.
Located near the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, the Yangon Zoo 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
Situated near the Kandawgyi Lake, the Natural History Museum
has a notable collection of Myanmar's geographical,
biological and archaeological diversity including flora and
fauna, forest products, minerals and rocks.
SQUARE AND PEOPLE'S PARK
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.
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
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.
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
It is designed by U Tin in 1925,
incorporates Myanmar themes into its facade, including
floral motifs and mythical creatures.
The City Hall
The High Court, a red brick extravaganza by the
architect John Ransome built 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 that
originally served as a bank, then as the National Museum and
has now been returned to its original duty as a bank.
The Yangon Division Court House built in 1912, in the
Queen Anne architectural style.
The Rander House, at the corner of Pansodan Street
and Merchant Street.
The adjacent Government Telegraph Office was erected
the same year as the High Court - though a fresh coat of
paint ensures that it looks as striking as architect John
The compound of the Secretariat along Mahabandoola
Street and Bo Aung Kyaw Street. Construction began in 1980
and was finished 1905, resulting a massive red brick
building with four wings radiating out from a central dome.
It was here in 1947 that 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 was, upon its
completion in 1911, the first public building in Myanmar
constructed of reinforced concrete.
The Railway Station, ornamented with Traditional
The jetty is situated in front of the famous Strand Hotel.
From there, you may observe the daily lives of people who
came across the river from the other side of the city for
working or selling their local products. You can cross the
river by ferry boat, which takes about 10 minutes to return.
The RV Mahaythi has daily (guarantee minimum 2 persons
departure) Yangon Sunset Cruises. Departure from Botataung
Jetty at 16:30 P.M. and arrival at War-tan Jetty is at 18:30
Yangon excursions -
Bagan excursions -
Mandalay excursions - Chin State -
Kayin State - Mon State - Rakhine State - Shan State - Mergui
© 1999 Myriam