Yangon is the capital city and gateway to Myanmar by air and sea. It is situated on the Yangon River and is 30 km up from the sea. Its ancient name was Okkala. After the Shwe Dagon Pagoda was built to enshrine the Sacred Hair Relics of Gautama Buddha given during His lifetime (over 2,500 years ago), it gained popularity as a pilgrimage center and generally referred to as Dagon. When king Alaung Phayar, the founder of the Kone Baung Dynasty conquered lower Myanmar in 1755, he renamed the town from Dagon to Yangon meaning " End of strife". After Syriam (Than-Hlyin) the foothold of Portuguese, was destroyed by king Anauk-Hpet-Lun. Yangon became an important seaport for internal and external trade.
In the second Anglo- Myanmar War fought in 1852, Lower Myanmar was ceded to the British. They anglicized Yangon into Rangoon and since then became the seat of government. But the Royal capital of Myanmar Kingdom remained at Mandalay till 1885. Rangoon city was modeled and implemented by Lieutenant Fraser of the British Engineering Corps, who had also drawn the city plan of Singapore. The evergreen tropical trees, shady parks with beautiful blossoms and lakes in Yangon earned the named of " Garden City of the East''.
Since 1988, Myanmar adopted a market oriented economic system promoting the role of the private sector and opening up to foreign investment. The Industry of Hotel and Tourism is the most promoting business and the year 1996 was designated as Visit Myanmar Year. The Government changed the anglicized named of Rangoon back to Yangon.
The pride of Myanmar and to many an eighth wonder, this ancient stupa rises to above 100 meters forming a landmark visible for miles around. It is the essence of Myanmar and a cultural wonder where the holy hair relics of the Buddha were many 2,500 yrs. ago. It is a must for every tourist/foreigner to visit Shwedagon. Deeds of offering water, candles, increase sticks & flowers to Lord Buddha are a great to sight to see. Ancient Myanmar architecture & artistic crafts manship are there.
Bogyoke Aung San Park A beautiful park, which surrounds the scenic Kandawgyi Lake, is 2 km away from heart of Yangon. It has become a popular recreation centre for Yangon nites who can relax & enjoy the free time in peace and tranquillity. It has playgrounds and picnic areas.
Bogyoke Aung San Market
Scott Market as it is also known is the major shopping centre in Yangon. Souvenirs, Myanmar arts & handicrafts, Lacquer ware, wood & ivory carvings, tapestries, silver & brass ware, silk & cotton fabrics, jewellery & precious stones are available at reasonable prices.
Biggest reclining Buddha image in Myanmar, 73 meters long is just a kilometre away from Shwedagon Pagoda. Originally built in 1907, it was rebuilt to this structure & completed in 1967. The glass mosaic on the sole of its feet represents 100 special characteristics of the Buddha
Htaukkyant World War II Cemetery
A memorial cemetery of 27,000 allied soldiers, who died during World War II in Myanmar, is in Htaukkyant about 45 mins. Drive from Yangon. The compound of the cemetery is also beautifully kept with 27,000 tombs stones.
Natural History Museum
Diversities of Myanmar’s geography, biology & archaeology including fauna and flora, forest products, rocks and minerals are there. The museum is built near Yangon Zoo.
People's Square and People's Park Occupies 125 acres between Pyay & Uwisara Road, close to both Shwedagon Pagoda & the Parliament building. Nationalities life size models are there in colourful dress. A well-known Park restaurant serves variety of cuisines.
A newly built five stories building on Pyay Road, a few minutes away form downtown artifacts, article, articles of cultural heritage & archaeological value, arts & crafts, weaponry, musical instruments, paintings are there. The royal regalia & Lion Throne of the last Myanmar king are there for all to see.
Situated near the famous ”Strand Hotel”, there are many people crossing he Yangon River from the other side of the city, Dalah. Ocean going steamers and ships are there also. The river can also be crossed by ferryboat for sightseeing.
Heart of the city pagoda is over 2000 years old. Hair relics of the Buddha are enshrined there. Its octagonal shape continues right up to the top reaching 47 meters. There are small shops around the pagoda. You can also observe the downtown viewing Yangon from the Sule Pagoda.