Information & Flights
After the seizing of Yangon city by the British during the Second-Anglo Burmese War of 1852, the newly named city of Yangon would come to hold the greatest concentration of colonial buildings in Asia, an architectural legacy that still stands today.
Although it's no longer the country's capital, Yangon - also known as Rangoon - is lower Myanmar's regional capital. Situated at the convergence of the Bago and Yangon River (also known as Hlaing River), Yangon is Myanmar's largest, and most important commercial city.
Modern Yangon began its rise in the 1980s when its sleek high-rise developments and commercial centres began to sprout up around the bustling city. Yangon has expanded rapidly, taking advantage of the country’s new found exuberance.
Today, Yangon is a city on the move, attracting the growing professional work force from the surrounding 33 outlying townships and the urban improvements are beginning to spread beyond the city’s borders.
Yangon encompasses an area of over 600 square kilometres. Home to more than 6-million inhabitants, friendly locals are often found in the sociable tea shops and cafes that are readily found along the city’s tree-lined streets and around the popular lake areas. Most tourist attractions are within easy reach of Yangon’s main area. Residents enjoy the collection of man-made lakes dotted around the cityscape.
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Bordering Bangladesh to the northwest and Thailand to the east, Yangon is the former capital of Burma, now known as Myanmar.
Yangon city is divided into four distinct districts totalling 33 townships. Downtown Yangon is located in the Western District. This is the most popular area due to its concentration of hotels, restaurants and nightlife venues. The remaining districts are divided into Eastern, Northern and Southern sections.
Standing 98-metres tall, this 2,500-year-old shrine is dedicated to Budda. Myanmar's most sacred site, and a popular tourist attraction, the shrine is a nod to Myanmar’s distinctive heritage. It also houses religious sculptures and works of art. Visitors will find monks and Budda devotees washing statues, offering flowers, worshipping and meditating. The grand pagoda is located west of the Royal Lake, on Singuttara Hill in Yangon. The shrine is covered with gold plates, with the top of the stupa encrusted with 4,531 diamonds - the largest being 72-carat.
National Museum of Myanmar
The National Museum displays priceless ancient artefacts, art work and historic memorabilia throughout its grand five-story complex. The ground floor holds exhibits on the evolution of the Myanmar script and alphabet along with Ratanapon period pieces. Eight types of thrones are on display relating to various Myanmar Kings, including the Royal Lion Throne of the last ruling monarch - King Thibaw. Other rooms are dedicated to Myanmar history, pre-historic artefacts from the Neolithic Period, and a floor dedicated to the music, song and dance of the Myanmar people.
A man-made lake constructed by the British in 1882, Inya Lake was built as a source of water for the city of Yangon. Today it’s a popular tourist destination and idyllic place for the locals to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The peaceful green spaces with their colourful gardens are located just 10-kilometres from downtown. The park also features walking paths, a paintball park and an artificial rock formation housing restaurants, bars and cafes.
Plentiful and cheap, taxis are the quickest and easiest form of transport. Yangon streets can be congested and traffic delays are common, but taxis are always readily available.
Sitting back-to-back with the driver, trishaws are a common way to get around or explore the city on the cheap. Trishaws are recommended for short trips only.
Yangon Circle Railway
While these old, wooden train carriages rattle and shake, the 50-kilometre circle line is a great way to see the country side. The roundtrip takes approximately three hours, but it’s a great way to see how the locals live. If the bumpy ride proves too much, simply hop off and take a taxi back to the city.
Myanmar has fast become the next big tourist destination in Asia since its borders were opened just a few short years ago. This means the existing hotels are prone to sell out in advance, especially around the popular tourist times between November to March.
Many larger hotel chains are scrambling to fill the gap with new apartments and hotels opening at a rapid rate. Apartments (defined as having no elevators) and condominiums (with elevators) are sprouting up around the city with modern facilities and services matching larger cities throughout Asia. The larger downtown hotels are located near the city’s nightlife hot spots which attract a mostly younger and more affluent crowd of locals and tourists.
Accommodation options range from backpacker hostels offering super cheap lodging options, to mid-range guest houses, as well as four and five star hotels and serviced apartments.
Although reasonably priced when compared to larger cities in Asia, accommodation can be expensive and in high demand during peak travel times. Booking in advance is the best way to ensure you get the cheapest price.