Yangon felt very different from Mandalay and Bagan. It is the biggest city in Myanmar and, apparently, also the busiest. The urban landscape is dominated by tall concrete structures, a few large pagodas and colonial buildings that clearly don’t receive much attention.
Street food vendors populate almost every street corner and local markets spread along many roads, selling everything, from culinary products to electronics and antiquities.
Religion here seems to be as important as in other parts of the country, but the atmosphere feels less religious due to the busy lifestyle of the citizens and the less obvious spiritual sights. The city felt like an infusion of international elements. Western brands are easily discoverable, but Chinese and Japanese products clearly dominate the local market, which was a perfect opportunity for us to try again some of the Japanese food that we always miss.
What to see in Yangon
Yangon might seem a more interesting destination for those arriving for the first time in the country, while for us it felt like being in another crowded city. The heat didn’t seem to add to the pleasure of discovering the city, so we kept our wish list for visiting touristic spots short. Pagodas we’ve seen too many already till that point of our journey in Myanmar, but we still wanted to find out if the experience feels different in Yangon, compared to the rest of the country. So we decided to visit the Botahtaung Pagoda, a religious complex where we could admire large walls covered in gold and a big Buddha statue.
There are several large pagodas in the city, some of the most important being the Sule Pagoda, the Chauk Htet Gyi Pagoda, the Kaba Aye Pagoda and the most famous of all, the Shwedagon Pagoda, which we visited in our last day. The Shwedagon Pagoda is considered to be the oldest pagoda in Myanmar, legends saying that it is more than 2500 years old.
But what we appreciated most about the city was meeting friends, work colleagues from the past and new friends that we got to know at the beginning of our trip into Myanmar.
On the last day, we treated ourselves with a few hours at the rooftop pool of a hotel from where we got also a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
The two weeks that we spent in Myanmar ended at the airport in Yangon, from where we took the flight back to Thailand, where locals were getting ready to celebrate the upcoming Buddhist festival of light. Read more about it here.
For more photos from Yangon follow this link.