Yangon is the largest city in Myanmar, and its former capital during the British Raj. For years, Myanmar was cut off from the rest of the world. No tourists were allowed into the country, and lots of major foreign investors were exiled. However, now it’s opening its gates and presenting Yangon as the place to be. The city is a commercial and artistic melting pot that reflects the recent changes in the country’s mindset. A host of brand new restaurants, bars and shops have also been set up here to really attract new visitors.
It may no longer be the capital of Myanmar, but it’s still the cultural and spiritual centre of the country. This is something that Naypyidaw, the new capital, cannot match. While you’re in Yangon, you must visit the Shwedagon Pagoda. The city is centred around this towering golden Buddhist monument and it’s a testament to the Buddhist faith in Myanmar, and how seriously the locals take their religion. There are a few parks and lakes close to this monument where the locals go to escape the craziness of the city and bask in the serenity. Kandawgyi Lake is our favourite, but there are plenty of spots to choose from.
Visit the Bogyoke Aung San Market during your stay. You’ll find it in the downtown area. It’s an exciting and vibrant market selling local produce and trinkets. While you’re there, check out the crumbling colonial architecture; one final remnant of the British presence in the area. Some say it’s the best in south-east Asia, but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
When you explore the city, be sure to look out for its tea houses, Chinatown and the Indian quarter – where you’ll find some of the best food in town! Yangon currently seems to be struggling to keep up with the influx of tourists and wealthy business people from across the globe. There are building sites and traffic jams everywhere. You might think this is a bad thing, but in reality it just shows the energy that this city has and the buzz it’s starting to create. For now, much of the city is still based on the remains of Rangoon, the old city. But watch this space; things are about to change.
Plan your trip to Yangon today.