The capital of Myanmar (formerly Burma), Yangon is a city steeped in colonial charm with tree lined-avenues and stupendous pagodas. Shaped by its British colonial past and the local Myanmar Buddhist religion, Yangon is a rich mixture of culture and heritage. Like nearby neighbour Thailand, Myanmar is home to a wide variety of ethnic groups.
Framed by spectacular 19th Century architecture the city offers travellers a unique glimpse into the past. Peeling buildings, stunning colonial masterpieces, vintage cars and crowded buses that elsewhere went out of service long ago give Yangon a truly distinct feel. Among the many sites, robed monks are ubiquitous within the city. Men dress in brown and women in pink, while people largely wear the traditional garb and sarongs.
Whilst travelling through the city, Yangon opens up to reveal a rich treasure trove of shops and markets. At the closed-in Bogyoke Aung San Market (or Scott Market) everything from silk cloth to local handicrafts and jewellery can be found. Myanmar is especially known for its exceptional gems, jade and lacquers as well as its traditional style of art. Amongst the local delicacies on offer, it is worth to sample the local food types from spicy Burmese to Shan and Indian.
Of all the spectacular pagodas in Yangon, and indeed the entirety of Myanmar, is the gilded, elevated Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred pagoda for Myanmar Buddhists, near the Kandawgyi Lake at the centre of the city. Myanmar is often called the ‘Golden Land’ because of the shimmering golden spires of Shwedagon.