Explore Yangon for a few days and you too will see why it’s such a unique destination that no traveler to Myanmar should miss. From getting lost in its bustling streets to sharing meals with locals or being awed by the diverse architecture and sacred structures, a trip to Yangon will be an incredible journey into local life of Burmese that you won’t find anywhere else.
Yangon (also known as Rangoon, literally: "End of Strife") is a former capital of Myanmar (Burma) and the capital of Yangon Region. Yangon is the country's largest city with a population of over five million, and is the most important commercial center, although the military government officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw in March 2006. The city is located in Lower Burma at the convergence of the Yangon and Bago Rivers about 30 km away from the Gulf of Martaban.
Yangon was founded as Dagon in the early 11th century (1028–1043) by the Mon, who dominated Lower Burma at that time. Dagon was a small fishing village centered about the Shwedagon Pagoda. In 1755, King Alaungpaya conquered Dagon, renamed it "Yangon", and added settlements around Dagon. The British captured Yangon during the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–26), and returned it to Burmese administration after the war. The name was Anglicized as Rangoon.
A hundred years ago, Yangon was one of the leading trade cities of Asia, home to people from across the globe. Myanmar has been called The Land of Gold, and that is not surprising at all when you consider just how beautifully this city sparkles.
Downtown area. Famous Shwedagon Pagoda can be seen from afar.
Yangon is a mix of old, crumbling British colonial buildings and much newer, modern buildings. Following the country’s emergence from isolation under military dictatorship and new foreign investment opportunities, a rush of development now imperils Yangon’s unique landscape. There is new construction everywhere, as funds from foreign countries pour in. The people here, the younger generations in particular, are embracing Western cultures.
The Abandoned Secretariat (Ministers’ Building), North Gate.
The dynamic between this rich built environment and the diverse population of the city has created a unique cultural melting pot. Yangon is also a place of greenery enriched by huge trees, placid lakes, and significant parkland areas composed of wide streets and tree-lined boulevards. Beyond neglected grandeur, and unlike the major cities of neighboring countries, Yangon is still a spacious, low-rise city that retains features essential to its future as a burgeoning metropolis.
Life is still at low pace
Yangon International Airport, located 12 miles (19 km) from downtown, is the country's main gateway for domestic and international air travel. It has direct flights to regional cities in Asia – mainly, Dhaka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Guangzhou, Taipei, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Kunming and Singapore. Although domestic airlines offer service to about twenty domestic locations, most flights are to tourist destinations such as Bagan, Mandalay, Heho and Ngapali, and to the capital Naypyidaw. Therefore, traveling to Yangon is so easy for many travelers all over the world.
Image sources: Internet