Yangon : the capital of
Myanmar, is one of the main gateways to Myanmar.
Evergreen and cool with lush tropical trees, shady parks
and beautiful lakes, Yangon has earned the name of "the
Garden City of the East". Relatively simple city without
skyscrapers neon-lit clamor, crowded squalor and the
pace of modern life, Yangon is attractive in its own
special way. Yangon was founded by King 'Alaungpaya' on
the site of a small settlement called Dagon after the
conquer of lower Myanmar in 1755 AD. The name Yangon
means "End of Strive", which was Anglicized to "Rangoon"
after the British annexed Myanmar in 1885 AD. At
present, Yangon covers about 500 sq.km and has a
population of about five million.
Shwedagon Pagoda : Most visitors say "One will never
complete it's visit in Myanmar without going to Great Shwedagon Pagoda. The historic Shwedagon Pagoda, which
towers almost 100 meters above the green city-scrape of
Yangon, never falls to enchant visitors. The shimmering
main stupa soars high above the capital and is visible
for miles away.
Shwe-dagon Pagoda, one of the wonders of the world, is
believed to have been built more than 2500 years ago.
The Pagoda was renovated many times over the centauries
by successive Myanmar Kings.
There are many pagodas in Myanmar but few were come
closer to it in scale or beauty. It is not just one main
stupa but complex of many stupas. All around the stupa
is cluster of smaller stupas, temples, shrines, prayer
halls, pavilions, religious images and statues. Lengthy
staircases lined with stalls selling religious articles,
Silverwares, Bras-wares, Souvenirs, Lacquer-wares,
handicrafts, flowers and ceremonial umbrellas.
The best time to visit Shwe-dagon pagoda is at sunset
when its gilded stupa is bathed in the fading rays of
the sun and takes on a magical glow.
Entrance Fee - US$ 5
Video Camera Fee - US$ 3
Sule Pagoda : This strange Architectural monument is
situated right in the center of Yangon, just beside the
Myanmar Travels and Tours office, Maha Bandoola Park and
Independence Monument, Town Hall and Supreme Court. Sule
Pagoda is said to have been built over 2,000 years old
and enshrined a hair of Buddha. It has own original
"Mon" name "Kyaik-Athok" translates as "the pagoda where
a Sacred Hair Relic is enshrined". The golden pagoda is
unusual for its octagonal shape continues right up to
the bell and inverted bowl. It stands 50 meters (152
feet) high and is surrounded by small shops and all the
familiar non- religious services such as of
astrologists, palmists, and so on. This pagoda is
located at the right centre of Yangon which can be
served as the evident land mark of the City. Therefore
one will never get lost to his path whenever one try to
come back to that pagoda.
Kaba Aye Pagoda : In Myanmar means "World Peace" to
which this pagoda is dedicated. Built in 1952 by former
prime minister U-Nu, this pagoda is significant because
of the Sixth World Buddhist Synod which was held in 1954
at the artificial concrete grotto "Mahapasana" which
located in its precinct. The Buddhist Art Museum, and
newly built Wizaya Mingalar Dhamathabin Hall are also
located in the same precinct too. The International
Buddhist Learning Centre is also situated there for all
Buddhist-scholars around the world. It is also a good
place to learn the different mudras and gesture of
Chauk-htat-kyi Pagoda : This colossal (70 meters long)
reclining Buddha, located on Shwe-gon-dine Road, is one
of the largest Buddha images in Myanmar. The original
image was built in 1907 built by the Wealthy merchant
named Sir-Phoe Tha. But it has been suffered damages due
to climate over the years. In 1957, it was demolished
and rebuilt to this structure, and completed in 1966. It
is a good place to learn the 108 significant symbols of
Buddha's footprints. This gigantic Buddha Image is
located in the big compound of Monasteries, and there
are over 600 Buddhist monks who are studying Buddhist
Mel Lamu Pagoda : A wonder land of spire pagodas and
sculptured figures located in North Okkalapa, a
satellite town about 20 minutes' drive from the city
center. Mai-Lamu Pagoda is famous for the giant images
depicting Buddha's earlier lives.
Maha Vijaya Pagoda : The Pagoda was built for the
commemoration of the First Successful congregation of
the Sangha of All Orders held in 1980. This elegant Maha-
vijaya Pagoda is a unique blend of traditional patterns
and the modern styles. The sanctuary contains the finely
wrought Buddha image and the reliquary donated by the
King and Queen of Nepal.
Bo Ta Thaung Pagoda : "Bo" means "Military Leader" and "Tahtaung"
means one thousand" the " Botahtaung" Pagoda was named
after the thousand military leaders who escorted the
relics of the " Buddha" brought from India over 2,000
years ago. It is hollow inside and one can walk through
it and a sort of mirrored maze inside the pagoda with
glass show-cases containing many of the ancient relics
and artifacts which were sealed inside the earlier
pagoda. Above this interesting interior, the golden
pagoda spire rises to 40 meters (132feet).
National Museum : The national museum is located on Pyay
road near the Diplomatic quarter of Foreign Embassies.
The present location is the third move of the museum
since its creation in 1952. Rich collections of various
interesting objects are exposed in four floors of a big
At the ground floor, the first room is consecrated to
the epigraphy and to the calligraphy. It exposes the "Pyu"
writing on the gold leaves and on plaques of terracotta;
the sacred writing in "pali" and the Burmese writing of
different times on the manuscripts and "Parabeiks" to
the religious or royal topic.
In the second room is exposed the famous lion brought
back to Burma by lord Mount-Batten at the time of the
independence. It makes part to 9 kinds of throne in the
different apartments of the Palace and intended only for
the sovereigns for the different occations. The king and
the chief queen sat on the lion throne when they
presided an audience or a protocol. The pedestal made of
sculpted teak is decorated of lion statuary to which the
throne owes its name.
In the following room, is exposed a miniature of the
palace before its destruction, the photos of its
pavilions, the furnitures and the dresses of the court
At the first floor, the first room is dedicated to the
prehistoric culture of Myanmar (the one of anyathia, the
one of padalin cave) and to the cultural discoveries of
different "Pyus" principality (Hanlin, Beikthanoe,
Sriksetra). The diffusion of the Buddhism of "Pyu"
period testified by the unearthed religious objects is
The second room illustrates the Burmese art development
through the different kingdom (Bagan, Pinya, Ava,
Taungoo, Nyaungyan, and Konbaung).
In the third room, the treasures of the kings of
Mandalay are exposed. The royal attributes and the daily
objects of use of the palace worth to study.
The second floor contains two rooms that consist the
objects of popular arts and handicraft, the musical
instruments and the performing art (the dances, the
strings puppets etc...).
The third floor is dedicated to the widely-known Burmese
The last floor is interesting. It exposes the models of
all ethnic minorities with their completed colorful
traditional costumes and the distinguish utilitarian
objects of every ethnic group. It opens from 10am to 3
pm except Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays
Entrance Fee -US $ 5.
Royal Kandawgyi Lake : "Kandawgyi" royal lake is
situated in the east of Shwedagon Pagoda. It was created
by the British and a good spot for relax with well shady
trees and plants. The Glisten Shwedagon pagoda reflects
in the restful waters of the lake. The eastern part of
Royal Lake is the Karaweik floating restaurant made of
concrete fully decorated with pilaster work. It is the
replica of Royal Barge with two mythical birds at
fore-front which has been used by King Alongsithu of
Bagan dynasty(12 Century AD).
Bogyoke Aung San Park: A scenic park with a lovely view
of Kandawgyi Lake is located on Natmauk road and closed
to the pagodas of Shwedagon Pagoda and Mahavijaya
Pagoda. This Park is a popular recreation center where
city-dwellers relax and enjoy their leisure in peaceful
tranquility. The playground and picnic areas are
favorite spots for children and teenagers. It is also a
place to learn the different species of traditional
medicinal plants as well as a nursery for decorative
plants and flower. One can also buy the fresh fruits,
vegetables, antecedes and fertilizer for small
People's Square and People's Park : People's Square and
Park occupy over 130 acres of land between Shwedagon Pagoda and Pyithu Hluttaw (Parliament). There
is a museum housing life-size models of nationalities in
their colorful dress and flora and fauna.
Yangon Zoological Garden : Located near Kandawgyi Palace
Hotel, the Zoo noted for its collection of wild animals,
flora and fauna, which have been collected over the
years since it was opened in 1906. On weekend and public
holidays, snake dance and elephant circus are performed
for visitors. It is open daily from 08:00 hours.
Entrance Fees- 5 USD
Hlawga Wildlife Park : The Hlawger Wildlife Park is
about 45 minute's drive from Yangon. The Park, which
covers 1650 acres of land and lake, is home to over 70
kinds of herbivorous animals and 90 species of birds.
Flock of migratory birds frequently visits the park. It
is an ideal place for picnickers, naturalists, botanists
Meditation Centers : There are some main Meditation
Centers in Yangon- the Mahasi Meditation Center at 16,
Thathana Yeiktha Road, Bahan Township (phone:
95-1-550392), the International Meditation center at
31-A, Inya Myaing Road, Bahan Township (phone:
95-1-5331549), Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Center at
55/A. Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Mayangon Township (phone:
95-1-661479), Panditarama Meditation Center at 80/A ,Thanlwin
Road, Bahan Township (phone: 95-1-5331448) and Society
for Propagation of Vipassana Mogoke Sayadaw's Way at 82,
Natmauk Road. Bahan Townships (Phone: 95-1-550184) have
facilities for full- time meditation. Aspiring Yogis
from abroad should write to the said main centers for
detailed information. Others Meditation Centers also
available all over the Country.
Allied War Memorial Cemetery : Located at Htaukkyant,
about 32 km from Yangon on the road to Bago (Pegu), is a
memorial cemetery of Allied Forces Soldiers who
scarified their life in the Myanmar during the World War
ll. The Cemetery's beautifully kept under the missionary
of international veteran organization ground has 27, 000
stone-graves of Commonwealth and allied Forces Soldiers.
Myanmar arts and crafts
furniture, mostly pure
hand-made, are best souvenirs and prices are very
reasonable. Lacquer-wares, silk and cotton fabrics, bags
(especially Shan shoulder bags), Burmese cigars and
Burmese cheroots, pure silks, various national costumes,
and T-shirts with Myanmar alphabet writings are some of
the favorite items.
For jewelry, there are Myanmar rubies (the world famous
pigeon blood color), sapphires, jades, silver-wares and
pearls available at the authorized Myanmar gems shops
which will provide the official approval document for
the custom of the Yangon International airport.
Bago (Pegu) : Bago, the former royal capital of the Môn
is located 80 km from Yangon. It takes 2 hours by road
from Yangon passing through the landscape of the verdant
rice fields. The first settlement on the site of present
Bago are Mon people who founded their principality named
"Ossa Bago" in 9th Century. In 11 century, it fell under
the first Burmese empire of Bagan. It became again the
capital of Mon kingdom in 14th century, and was known as
"Hanthawaddy Bago". At that time, it was an active
harbor for marine trade. In 16th century, the Burmese
annexed it again and the king chose it as the royal
capital of second Burmese empire. In 16th century, the
Arakans destroyed and abandoned the capital. The Mon
re-established their capital in Bago but the Burmese
kings "Along-phaya" destroyed it completely in 1757.
From that time onward, it was no longer as an important
harbor with the receding of the sea, and remained a
simple city until now. But it is worthy to visit for a
day excursion from Yangon. A new international airport
is being constructed at present.
Kan baw za Thadi Palace : Bago is one of the richest
archaeological sites in Myanmar. The archaeological
department made some excavations on the site of the
palace of the former royal capital "Han-tha-waddy"
founded by king "Ba-yin-naung" in 16th century.
"Ba-yin-naung" (the Napoleon of Myanmar), the founder of
second Burmese empire, was a great well-known king in
the Burmese history. His military campaign to unify the
country, his political and social achievement, and his
religious actions are remarkable along his life. He was
born from a royal lineage. When he was young, "Ba-yin-naung"
was called "Shin-ye-htut". He became one of the generals
and at the same time the brother-in-law of the king "Tabin-shwe-hti"
in that period. After the great historic battle in "Naung-yoe"
in 1538, he won the title of "Ba-yin-naung" that means
"the Brother of King". After the death of king "Tabin-shwe-hti",
he became king and could unify the whole Burma. He chose
"Han-tha-waddy" as the Burmese royal capital and made a
construction of palace named "Kan baw za thadi".
The widely-known king "Ba-yin-naung" (the Napoleon of
Myanmar) and his palace were described well in detail in
Burmese chronicle records as well as by the narrations
of the foreigners. The site spreads on about hundred
hectares. The royal city was surrounded with ramparts
with 20 doors. The royal palace was at the center and
the original surrounding wall was in teak. The audience
hall was surmounted by a roof 7 tiers that is covered
with bronze sheets gilt with gold. There was a Thai
style pavilion for his favorite Thai princess. After his
death, under the reign of his successor, the capital and
its palace were destroyed and abandoned. The site of the
former palace has been discovered recently, and some
pavilions have been rebuilt on the very original site.
The recent palace also includes a museum that displays
the objects unearthed on the old site (Potteries,
original pillars of teak, various Buddha statues,
Entrance fee = 10$ per pax for archaeological zone fee.
Shwe-maw-daw Pagoda : Overlooking the plain with its
spire 114 m, the "Shwe-maw-daw" pagoda is one of the
most venerated pagodas in Burma. According to the
legend, this pagoda was constructed by two merchants Mon
brothers, "Tha-phu-sa" and "Bha-li-ka" to enshrine two
hair-relics of Buddha which they brought from India last
2000 years ago. It has been enlarged and has been
rebuilt several times through the centuries due to the
damages of earthquakes. Those of 1912, 1917, and 1930
destroyed the pagoda completely and the present pagoda
was rebuilt in the years of 1950. During the
renovations, some holy relics were added (copies of the
Buddha's tooth) to which the pagoda owes its reverence.
While walking around the pagoda, one can notice the
upper part of which felt down in 1917 at the place of
the fall. There is a small museum that contains
different vestiges and statuaries recovered after the
earthquakes. The pagoda is accessible by four stair-ways
full of souvenirs shops.
Maha-zedi Pagoda : Maha-zedi means "Great pagoda" and it
was constructed by the Burmese king "Ba-yin-naung" in
1560. The original pagoda sealed up the Buddha's relic
(supposedly the Buddha's real famous tooth coming from
Candy of Srilanka). In 17 century, the relic was
conveyed to upper Burma by a Burmese king, and enshrined
in "Kaung-hmu-taw" pagoda in Sagine near Mandalay
together with another relic (the emerald alms bowl).
After the fall of "Hantha-waddy" in 18 century, the "Maha-Zedi"
pagoda was abandoned and destroyed by violent
earthquakes. The present pagoda has recently restored in
1982. The men only can go up on the superior terraces by
a staircase that offers a panoramic view on the
vicinities. In the precinct of pagoda, there is a small
temple made of lateritie, and a particular site called "Ba-yin-naung-aung-myway"
where the king "Ba-yint-naung"; the Napoleon of Myanmar
made a vow for the conquest before he involved in the
battle-field. Most Myanmar pilgrims also believe in that
particular spot, and made a wish.
Shwe-tha-hlaung Pagoda : The gigantic colossal Buddha
Image "Shwe-tha-hlaung" more than 1000 years old is one
of the biggest statuaries of lying Buddha and considered
to be more alive and elegant. It measures 55 - m long
and 16 m of height. Its ear only measures 4.5 - m long.
In front of the statue, there is a panel that describes
in details all measurements. The position of this statue
whose feet point in different directions represents the
Buddha's relaxes. On the sole, the 108 distinctive
symbols are engraved. The Buddha's head position on a
pillow well decorated with glass mosaic and square block
that illustrate the life of the Buddha and his eight
According to the legend described on the back of the
statue, it has been constructed by a Mon king "Min-ga-di-pa"
after hisconversion to the Buddhism in 9th century. It
is always maintained by the Buddhist devotees. But after
the destruction of Bago by the Burmese in 18th century,
the statue has been abandoned in the nature and covered
by the jungle. It has been rediscovered by chance in
1881 at the time of a construction of the railroad. It
has been restored thus and stake under a shelter made of
Kyaikpun Pagoda : Nearly 3 km from Bago, on the road of
Yangon-Bago, is the "Kyaik-pun" pagoda. It consists of
four huge seated Buddha Images made of brick lean to a
central pillar. These statues of 30 m high represent the
four Buddha appeared in this era (Kauk-ka-san-dha,
Kaw-na-ga-ma-na, Ka-tha-pha, and Gor-ta-ma). The pagoda
was constructed by the order of king "Dha-ma-zeti" in
1476. One among them has been damaged by the earthquake
of 1930. It has been renovated already.
Thanlyin ( Syriam) : Only three quarters of an hour of
crossing the Yangon or Bago or Hlaing River, or one
half-hour of road or by train passing over "Thanhlyin"
bridge leads a small town "Thanhlyin". This bridge of
one-km long constructed with the help of the Chinese is
one of the longest bridges in Burma.
"Thanhlyin" is a small town with a very rural
agglomeration. But it was a very active port from 16th
century to the middle of to 18th century. In 16th
century, an English traveler described this port where
the trading ships embarked before going up to "Bago". It
was a passage obliged for the all marine trade. In the
beginning of 17th century, a Portuguese adventurer,
Felipe-de-Brito came to establish a trade-counter with
the agreement of an "Arakan" king who dominated the
inshore region of the southwest of Burma. He could make
a big fortune and he founded his own kingdom with the
help of the viceroy of Gôa. But, in 1613, a Burmese king
conquered it and he has been condemned to death. "Thanhlyin"
remained a very important active port until its
destruction by the Burmese in 1756. It remains some
vestiges of the Portuguese presence there (ruin of
Church, stone grave, etc...). During the British time,
the English brought the Indians there for the
rice-cultivation. Today quite a lot of Indian origin
inhabitants live there. Besides the very colorful local
market, the town doesn't offer the visitors much.
Four km from "Thanhlyin" is a big golden pagoda, "Kyaik-khauk",
situated on small hill. As the pagoda of Shwedagon, it
is built in Burmese classic style and enshrined the hair
of Buddha and some relics offered by king "Ashoka" of
India. The pagoda was originally constructed by a monk
named "Ashin-Khaw-laka" according to the legend.
Therefore, the pagoda name after its builder, "Kyaik-khaw-la-ka".
After the passage of years, the name distorted and
became "Kyaik-khauk". The view from the pagoda platform
passing over Yangon River is magnificent.
More 14 km from "Kyaik-khauk" is "Kyauk-tan", a small
town surrounded with small villages of fishermen. "Kyauk-tan"
is known for its "Yélè-phaya" pagoda situated on a small
island close to the confluent of two rivers of Yangon
and Bago. This small sacred island is only accessible by
boat and is occupied by the religious buildings.
According to the legend, the pagoda would date back more
than 2000 years, and the original pagoda reached 3 m of
height. In 1940, the former pagoda was embedded in the
present pagoda that nearly makes 16 m of height. A
pavilion shelters Buddha statue made of marble which can
be disassemble into five pieces. There are two distinct
characters of the pagoda; this island is never flooded
by the water, and the big cat-fishes are always there to
receive the food offered by the pilgrims. Being located
on the interesting island and good surrounding area
"Ye-le" pagoda is one of the most pleasant sites for all
pilgrims and visitors.
Places of other interest in Yangon Areas.
Kyaik-ka-san Pagoda, Ko-htat-kyi pagoda, Ngar-htat-kyi
pagoda, Shwe Phone Pwint Pagoda, Mo Kaung Pagoda, Maha
Bandoola Park, Mingalardon Garden, Kyaikkalo Pagoda,
Kayikkalae Pagoda, and Bogyoke Aung San Museum are also
interesting places to visit if you have more free time.
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