Yangon, capital of Myanmar (Burma)
Yangon , the old name is Rangoon, is Myanmar's (another old name, Burma) capitol since 1885. Nowadays it is the headquarters of the military junta. It's for most visitors also the starting point of your journey in Myanmar. Yangon's old name Rangoon (from the British colonial days) is still in use by older people and some foreigners. However, Yangon is the official name.
A bicycle is an excellent way to go around in the city. Traffic, though busy is in no comparison to for example Bangkok or even Chang Mai in Thailand even though an estimate 4 million people live in the capital. The streets are mostly dominated, still by small taxies and rickshaws.
The city offers a good variety of food, probably the best variety in the whole country with Myanmar, Chinese, Indians and other minorities. If you don't want to use you bicycle in the city, the taxies are cheap though you have to bargain before starting. You can also take one of the 250 bus lines in the city.
Street scene in the heart of Yangon, Myanmar
The Shwedagon temple is probably the most impressive temple to visit ($5 entry fee). This pagoda is situated on the top of the Singuttara hill, just outside the center of the city.
The temple is said to be as old as Buddhism. According to the legend the temple was build in the time of the Buddha himself which is around 5000 years ago (2500 BC).
There are relics buried of the three previous Buddha's in the Shwedagon pagoda.
The complex is considered to be one of the many wonders of Asia and indeed, it's magnificent place of peace and quietness.
When you visit the Shwedagon, please wear long trousers or a longyi (sarong).
Other Pagoda's in Yangon
Right in the heart of Yangon stands another magnificent pagoda: Sule. It is said to be over 2,000 years old and contains a hair given by the Buddha to two Burmese merchants.
The golden pagoda is unusual in that its octagonal shape continues right up to the bell and inverted bowl. It is surrounded by small shops and all the familiar non-religious services such as of astrologists, palmists, and so on. And it is much in use by the illegal moneychangers.
Apart of these two major landmarks in Yangon there are many other temples to visit. The National Museum gives a good idea of the rich history of the Burmese people.
The only international-level (sort of) shopping complex in Yangon is 14 FMI shopping complex, but, are you going to Yangon for shopping? 80 km away from Yangon lies the city of Bago (Pegu). Though I haven't been here, it is supposedly a good visit. Hopefully later in 2007, I can give a personal report.
Accommodation in Yangon (Rangoon)
Despite all political turmoil, Yangon has a nice range of hotels. From upmarket resorts to very reasonable priced local hotels where you can taste the hospitality of the Burmese people.
More pages about Myanmar:
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Map of Myanmar
We have created a map of Myanmar (Burma) to help you when you are organizing your journey: