Yangon (or Rangoon – whichever you prefer) is a large, cosmopolitan…but only by comparison to the rest of the Burma. It is no Bangkok, Saigon or Kuala Lumpar, as it remains far too innocent, tranquil & relatively undeveloped. Not at all shiny, the skyscape remains devoid of significant skyscrapers. For the time being.
Although since 2006 it is no longer officially the country’s capital city, it will still invariably be your gateway and/or exit point to Burma. Always green with lush tropical trees, shady parks and several beautiful lakes, Yangon is known as the “Garden City of the East”. The city retains its colonial charm with gracious turn-of-the-century architecture in abundance, though its crumbling fast and the developers already their have greedy eyes on much of this prime real estate. Towering over the city is the magnificent gold-encrusted Shwedagon Pagoda – one of the country’s most beautiful treasures and a place pray or to meet devoted Buddhists at meditation.
Yangon’s main sights & colonial old city are contained within a fairly small area which is easily explored on foot. Mopeds have been banned from the city centre, which has helped ease the congestion associated with so many Asian city centres. But the traffic can still be horrific during rush hours, the short journey from the airport often now taking well over an hour on a bad day.
Other recommended Yangon highlights include Chaukhtatkyi – the Reclining Buddha, colourful markets of Little India and Chinatown, Sule Pagoda, Botataung Pagoda, Kalewa Monastery, the Buddhist Art Museum, the National Museum, Naga glass factory and the Bogyoke Aung San (Scott) Market.