No visit to Myanmar is complete without visiting the 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, a gold-gilded national treasure that towers at 326 feet in height, and is said to enshrine strands of the Buddha’s hair and other sacred relics. Located west of Kandawgyi Lake on Singuttara Hill, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a taxi driver that doesn’t know it.
Bogyoke Market (Scott Market)
The market was inaugurated in 1926 and is by far the most popular bazaar in Yangon. It features more than 1,000 shops offering a wide range of items for sale including souvenirs, handicrafts, traditional Myanmar attire and jewelry.
Allied War Memorial Cemetery (Htauk Kyant)
The Allied War Memorial Cemetery is located at Htauk Kyant in Mingalardon Township. It is situated approximately 32 kilometers north of downtown Yangon. It was consecrated in 1951, and serves as a memorial to the Allied soldiers who lost their lives in the Myanmar (then Burma) war theater during World War II.
Centrally located in downtown Yangon, the City Hall building is considered to be a fine example of Myanmar architecture. Construction of this formidable municipal epicenter began in 1926 and finished some 10 years later. The building is among many others designated as a Yangon heritage site. Of all Southeast Asian cities, Yangon has the highest number of colonial-era buildings, and you will find hundreds of these late-19th century structures still standing in the surrounding area.
The Karaweik Palace was inaugurated in 1973, and at its tallest point stands at 19 meters (about 60 feet). This glitzy palace was built in the form of a traditional royal barge, with two “karaweiks” — Sanskrit for the mythical Garuda bird-creature — at its head. It is located on Kandawgyi Lake and faces the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda.
At 65 meters in length and 16 meters high, the impressive Chauk Htat Gyi reclining Buddha image is cast in very expressive colors — white face, red lips, blue eye-shadow, a golden robe and red fingernails. The soles of its feet contain 108 segments in red and gold colors that show images representing the 108 “Lakshanas,” or auspicious characteristics, of the Buddha.
Swe Taw Myat Pagoda (Buddha Tooth Relic Pagoda)
One of Yangon’s more modern pagodas, Swe Taw Myat once enshrined a tooth relic of Gautama Buddha and today a special ivory copy can be seen in a beautiful display alter inside. It is built in a style reminiscent of the famous Ananda Pagoda in Bagan and is located south of Yangon International Airport.
This is one of Yangon’s few natural lakes and the largest, measuring almost 4km2. It is bordered by rich green growth and young people of Yangon spend their recreational time along the banks and in the restaurants and cafes nearby. Nowadays, sports like sailing and stand-up paddle-boarding are available are available in clubs on the lake shore.