Yangon means “End of Strife”. Not exactly “City of Angels”, but since both Los Angeles and Bangkok share the angelic moniker and refuse to see the irony, Yangon should have no compunction to either. Especially now that the irony isn’t nearly as stark as it used to be.The very welcoming and fascinating city of 5 million is the main gateway to Myanmar. Unlike other Asian concrete jungles, Yangon has plenty of real jungle left, with numerous pockets and areas with lush tropical trees providing cool shade. There are also numerous green parks and lovely lakes. It’s been called “The Garden City of the East”, but let’s not get crazy. Kyoto it’s not. Fifty years of strife under the ruling junta has left much of the city in a state of tropical decay. To some these buildings are eyesores, to many others they are a living part of Rangoon lore.
For photographers, these crumbling buildings make fantastic backdrops or portrait backgrounds, or subjects themselves. Capture these images while they last, because the renovators are coming! More and more of them.Massive British colonial structures are a subject of great interest, with the downtown walking tour always in demand. Just wandering the city aimlessly is always a joy and full of unexpected surprises. It’s a wonderful place to engage the people, who are almost invariably warm, smiling and helpful. Burmese charm is really quite unique, and leaves you grinning in almost any situation. LJ has dubbed the city “The Friendliest City in Asia”, and we hope it spreads because it’s true! Myanmar luxury trips start here.
The Sights – Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Botataung Pagoda, Kandawgyi Lake & Bogyoke Aung San Park, Zoological Garden, National Museum, Natural History Museum, Myanmar Gems Museum, Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda (massive reclining Buddha), Pansodan Jetty & the Yangon Riverfront, British Colonial Walking Tour & Heritage Sites, RV Mahaythi Sunset river cruise, Twante Crafts Village river cruise, The Buddhist Art Museum at Kabar Aye Pagoda, People’s Square and People’s Park, White Elephants House, National (over 100 ethnicities) Races Museum, Maha Pasana (Buddha) Cave, Yangon Circle Train, Ferry to Dala. Nearby is the Hlawga Wildlife Park and the Htaukkyant World War II Cemetery, where 27,000 allied soldiers are laid to rest.
Luminous Rated Hotels – Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, Sule Shangri La, The Strand, The Governor’s Residence, Chatrium, The Savoy. Mid-Range: East Hotel, Clover Plus.
Luminous Restaurants – Le Planteur, L’ Alchimiste, L’ Opera, House of Memories, Sharky’s, T-Sky Bistro (top Sakura Tower),Monsoon, Linkage Art Gallery, 999 Shan Noodle House, Traders Cafe, Acacia Tea Salon, 50th St. Bar & Grill.
Shopping: General Aung San Market (Scott Market, 2,000 shops),Augustine (exquisite Burmese Antiques).
Extensions: Bago, Golden Rock, Pathein, Chaung Tha Beach, Ngwe Saung Beach, Hpa An, Mawlamyine.