Rangoon (Yangon), Former Capital of Burma (Myanmar) – It’s the New Exotic Tourist Destination

The former capital of Myanmar (Burma), Yangon (Rangoon), “End of strife”, is the main gateway to Myanmar. Yangon has green tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakes, earning it the moniker ‘Garden City’. Yangon is famous for the world-renowned, magnificent, gold-encrusted Shwedagon Pagoda. This charming landmark appears in the distance before the eyes of travelers approaching the city. It is the most venerated place of worship for Buddhists throughout the world. There are many other magnificent Pagodas also to be found in Yangon. You can take day trips from Yangon to Bago, an ancient city of the 15th Century; to Thanlyin, a 17th Century capital; and to the Portuguese Cemetery & Yele Pagoda on a small island at Kyauktan. Visitors can also reach Twante by taking a boat ride along the Yangon river.

Twante is renowned as the historic center of pottery in Myanmar and the industry still operates there today. Downtown Yangon also has some amazing British colonial architectural gems, well worth visiting. The famous Chinatown district, again in downtown Yangon is a magnet for tourists, coming alive especially in the evenings.

The Sule Pagoda is beautifully placed in the centre of the city of Yangon. At 157 feet high, it remains the tallest building in the downtown area. It was built about 2200 years ago. It can be called an oasis of peace in the heart of the busy modern Yangon.

The Maha Pasana Guha (Great Cave). It was specially built to hold the sixth Buddhist Great Synod. It is supposed to resemble India’s Satta Panni Cave where the First Buddhist Synod took place shortly after the Buddha’s death. It is 455 feet long and 370 feet broad and it has an assembly hall which can contain up to 10000 people. This artificially built cave lies in the vicinity of Kaba Aye.

Chauk Htat Kyee Reclining Buddha Image. A reclining Buddha, Chaukhtatkyee Pagoda was built in 1907 but it suffered damage due to the climate over the years and at 72 m is nearly as large as Bago’s reclining Shwethalyaung. It is housed under a metal-roofed shelter on Shwegondaing Lan in Yangon.

The Nga Htat Kyee Pagoda. This Buddha image is the second largest seating buddha image in Yangon. It is located at the most ancient buddhist place, very close to the Chauk Htat Kyee reclining buddha image.

The Mahawizaya Pagoda is situated about 500 yards away from Shwedagon Pagoda, at the corner of Shwedagon Pagoda Road and Oo Htaung Bo Street, Maha Wizaya Zedi was built on the hill of DamaraKhita. The surface area is 11.099 acres. It was founded on 25 July, 1980. Its total height is 134 ft and is built on the base of 165E8E. It is not a solid structure but it has a hollow (cave pagoda) of 60ft diameter and 46ft height.

Maelamu Pagoda is to be found in North Okkalapa, a suburb of Yangon. Mae La Mu means a girl born from the fruit of La Mu tree. According to legend, she was the mother of king Okkalapa founder of Yangon.

The Bogyoke Market (Scott Market) is the second-most visited destination in Yangon by foreign tourists. Over 2000 shops sell numerous items; bags, tapestries, rattan, herbal medicines, traditional costumes of ethnic tribes and antiques. Virtually any item can be found somewhere in the market. It is a treasure trove for handmade crafts. One of the best buys is the original works of Myanmar artists. World renowned Myanmar rubies and quality sapphires are among the most popular items available at the market. If you want or need a specific product, most probably, it can be found at the Bogyoke Market.

The Kyaik Khauk Pagoda (Thanlyin) is situated on the main hillock of Thanlyin. The stupa is enshrined with a Buddha’s hair relic. Over 800 years ago, Mon Kings erected this stupa. In the pagoda, there are tombs of two famous Myanmar poets of the 15th century (Natshinnaung and Dartukalyar).

Bago is a city 50 miles from Yangon, taking about to hours to reach by car. On the way you can visit the Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda in Mon State.

The 100 year old Shwe Tha Lyaung Buddha image is the second largest reclining Buddha in Myanmar. It is 74m long, 21 m high and can be seen at the edge of town.

The Shwemawdaw Pagoda, in Bago, stands at a height of 114m. It is the most famous great pagoda in Myanmar. Built over 1000 years ago by the Mons, it was originally 23 m high and enshrined 2 hairs of the Buddha. Over the years, the pagoda was rebuilt to increase its size. It continued to be built and rebuilt until, finally, after destruction by an earthquake, Shwemawdaw was built to its present height in 1954. The pagoda is guarded by lions with Buddha statues in their mouths.

The Shwemokhtaw Pagoda is situated in Pathein, a city some 120 miles west of Yangon. This pagoda was built over two thousand years ago. Over this time, it has passed through three distinguished Eras under three different titles.In the first Era, it was that the emperor more widely known as Siridammasoka of Pataliputta in India was the first builder of this historic shrine in the year 289 B.E, naming it as “Shweana. The year 457 B.E(new era after systematic elimination) represented the second Era, when Aloungsithu a well-known traveller and King of the Bagan dynasty, the reigning monarch of Paukkanrama (ancient name for the present day Bagan town on the middle Ayeyarwaddy, which is famous throughout the world for its pagodas and shrines). This King raised and enlarged this magnificent stupa renaming it as “Htupayon Samodda Gosa and Ommadanti, the then rulers of Pathein with its thirty one statues, distinguished themselves as the ruling donors of the Third Era, who made significant improvements to the shrine altering the name Htupayon to “Shwe Mokhtawae” which is the name it has today.

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