Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar, is so evergreen and cool with lush tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakes it has earned the name of "The Garden City of the East". Though with the atmosphere of a typical Asian city, It stands out in contrast as it is not yet overwhelmed with the global trends of modernity and is making its own progress at its own pace, in its own calm, civic culture. Being the main entrance to the country and principle seaport, it is the hub of business activities and government offices as well as non-governmental organizations. It also serves as the center for higher learning as it abounds with educational institutions. The city represents a mixture of diverse communities and cultures, with respect to people, religion, business, and settlement. Yangon was founded by King Alaungpaya on the site of a small town called Dagon when he conquered lower Myanmar in 1755. He changed its name to Yangon, which means "End of Strife", but was anglicized as Rangoon by the British when they annexed Myanmar in 1885. The present day Yangon covers an area of 350 sq. km with a population of over 5 million.
Yangon is the main gateway to Myanmar. It has direct air links with Bangkok, Chiangmai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Dhaka, Kunming, and Calcutta. Airlines such as Air Mandalay, Myanmar Airways International, Silk Air, Thai International, Malaysia Airlines, Air India, Biman Airlines, and CAAC are operating regular flights in and out of Yangon. Cruise ships calls at Yangon Port with Visa on Arrival being granted on prior arrangement.
The Botataung Pagoda was a famous Land-mark on Rangoon's waterfront. Situated just below the long lines of jetties that serve this busy port whence rice, petroleum, timber and mineral are shipped to the whole world.
Bogyoke Aung San Park
A scenic park composed of numerous hills and shady green trees, surrounding the beautiful lake of Kandawgyi, one of two major lakes in Yangon, is located 5 minutes away from downtown. The Park is a nearest retreat and popular recreation center where city-dwellers can relax and enjoy their leisure time in peace and tranquillity. The playgrounds and picnic areas are favorite spots for children and teenagers.
Bogyoke Aung San Market
Formerly known as Scott Market, it is the most famous place for shopping in Yangon. Myanmar arts and handicrafts are best souvenirs available there at reasonable prices. Lacquerware, wood and ivory carvings, tapestries, silverware, brassware, silk and cotton fabrics, and shoulder bags as well as jewelry are some of the most favorite items it has to offer.
Located 10 minutes away from downtown, and 5 minutes from the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, the 72 meters long reclining Buddha image is the biggest colossal reclining Buddha image in Myanmar. Originally built in 1907, it has suffered damage due to climate over the years. In 1957, it was demolished and rebuilt to this structure and completed in 1966. The uniqueness of the image is the glass mosaic on the sole of its feet representing the 108 special characteristics of the Buddha.
Hlawga Wildlife Park
The Hlawga Wildlife Park is about 45 minutes' drive from downtown. The park, which covers 1,650 acres of land and lake is home for over 70 kinds of herbivorous animals and 90 species of birds. It has a museum of the replica of Myanmar traditional buildings and a small zoo with rock garden. Flocks of migratory birds frequently visit the park. 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.
Natural History Museum
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.
People's 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.
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 most significant and the pride of Myanmar, the ancient stupa towers almost 100 meters above the green cityscape of Yangon. The great golden Shwedagon Pagoda is the prominent landmark visible from miles around, where the holy hair relics of the Buddha were enshrined more than 2,500 years ago. It is one of the wonders of the world and the most venerable pagoda in Southeast Asia. It is the essence of Myanmar and a cultural splendor that never fails to enchant. A visit to Yangon would be incomplete without a call at the Shwedagon. There you may observe not only the wealth of ancient Myanmar architecture and artistic craftsmanship as it has developed throughout the ages, but also the deeds of Buddhist rituals such as offering water, candles, incense sticks and flowers to the Buddha.
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 landmark at the Yangon City center and symbol of downtown Yangon is situated right at the heart of the city. The Sule Pagoda is said to be over 2,000 years old, enshrining a hair relics of the Buddha. The golden pagoda is unusual in that its octagonal shape continues right up to the top terrace. It stands 46 meters (152 feet) high and is surrounded by small shops of all the familiar non-religious services such as astrologers, palmists, photo studios and watch repair. From there, you may observe the atmosphere of the Yangon center with crowed people from all walks of life in various trades, and busy traffic.
Lawka Chanthar Arbayar Laba Muni Buddha Image craved from the one piece of white is marble rock was done in year 2000 CE, which is flawless and of hight quality measuring 37 feet long, 24 feet wide and 11 feet thick was found at Sakyin Hill, Madaya Township, Mandalay Division. This huge Image is now at Mindhamma Hill, Insein Township, Yangon Division.
This Buddha Image will be the highest and biggest of all in the world.
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 teenagers.
The ancient capital of the Mon Kings from the 14th through 16th century and that of the Second Myanmar Empire founded by King Bayinnaung, Bago is situated only 80 km from Yangon. Places of interest in Bago are Shwemawdaw Pagoda, the highest pagoda in Myanmar with the elevation of 117 meters, built over 2,000 years ago by two merchants; the famous Kalyani Thein (Ordination Hall); Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha, which was built during 9th century and one of the most elegant reclining Buddha images, stretching 55 meters; four huge Buddha images of Kyaikpun Pagoda; and the Bago Market.
Only 45 minutes by ferry across the Bago River or about 30 minutes' drive from Yangon lies Thanlyin. It was a major port and important trading centre from the 14th through the 18th century until it was displaced by Yangon in 1755. It was briefly controlled by the Portuguese adventurer, de Brito, at the beginning of the 17th century. The ruins of a Catholic church built by an Italian missionary in the 18th century can still be seen in Thanlyin. Kyeik-khauk Pagoda in Thanlyin and Yele Pagoda (a pagoda on a small island) at Kyauktan are worth visiting. You may also observe the local ways of making ceramic products at Bogyoke Village.
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.