Burma’s former capital and its biggest city, Rangoon (Yangon) is a relatively young city. It became the capital in 1885 when the British completed its conquest of Northern Burma. In its early history, it was known as Dagon, the district in which the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda is located. The capital was moved to Nay Pyi Taw in central Burma quite unexpectedly in November 2005. Despite this, Rangoon remains the country’s commercial and diplomatic capital.
Explore Rangoon (Yangon)
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Top things to do in Rangoon (Yangon)
Discover the historic town of Bago
Bago, formerly known as Pegu, was the capital of the Mon ethnic group during the 15th century, and a visit here is a wonderful opportunity to meet members of arguably the most artistic and beautiful of Burma's many tribes. In the Mon neighborhood you can meet some of the local artisans and see their beautiful handicrafts, including pottery and woven textiles. Other highlights include Shwemawdaw pagoda, Shwethalyaung pagoda and Kyaik Pun, or Four Faces Pagoda.
Gastronomic tour of Rangoon
Join the locals in a breakfast of noodles, samosas or pancakes at one of the city's major food markets on 18th Street, then take a short drive to Seikkan Tha Street, another morning market area with many stalls selling palata (thick pancakes), flowers and exotic fruits. After a chance to sample palata, visit the popular Tea Shop Lucky Seven for a cup of Burmese tea and, if you wish, rice flour pancakes with poppy seeds from the stall next door. Continue to the Shwe Myot Taw Indian restaurant, famed for its local specialities, before ending at the Ye Kyaw market, with extensive displays of the variety of food available in the city. Having now worked up an appetite for Burmese cuisine, proceed to the Feel Myanmar Restaurant where you can try one of the fabulous local curries and accompanying vegetable sauces and soups.
See the golden Shwedagon pagoda
No visit to Rangoon (Yangon) is complete without a stop at the magnificent and bejewelled Shwedagon pagoda, arguably the most precious and sacred pagoda in Burma, which dominates Rangoon's skyline. It is believed that the pagoda is 2,500 years old and contains relics of the past four Buddhas, namely the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Konagamana, a piece of the robe of Kassapa and eight hairs of Gautama, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. The pagoda's brick structure is covered by genuine gold plates and its crown, or umbrella, is tipped with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies. Shwedagon pagoda became the most significant pilgrimage site in Burma, and today it attracts local pilgrims, as well as those from Thailand, Taiwan and Japan.
Walking tour of Rangoon
Explore the city of Rangoon (Yangon) on foot, accompanied by a guide who can explain the history behind the city's development and the continuing changing face of this growing city. Set amid the fading colonial buildings of Rangoon, the diverse religious communities of the city become apparent as you pass by Buddhist pagodas, Hindu shrines, Chinese temples, Islamic mosques, Anglican cathedrals and a Jewish synagogue. Markets large and small spill out onto the streets, such as the Indian Market where traders sell sweet smelling cinnamon bark, tropical fruit, fiery chillies, medicinal herbs, and fish of every description.
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