Myanmar is a land of glimmering pagodas, centuries old mouments and friendly people. Even today, each town maintains a unique charm just waiting to be explored.
With the further liberalization of the country, both economically and politically, Yangon, Myanmar’s largest metropolis and commercial hub, is flourishing. Literally meaning “end of strife”, Yangon hosts a population of over 4 million and is the country’s most important commercial centre.
Yangon has a mix of British, Burmese, Chi- nese and Indian influences, and is known for its colonial architecture. Since the 17th century, Yangon has been a multicultural city with a mixture of people, such as Portuguese fortune hunters, Dutch businessmen, Englishmen, Chinese citizens seeking refuge and Indians who arrived during colonial times. Although high-rise buildings can be spotted throughout the city, Yangon is still a blast from the past with an absorbing culture and history. Apart from the colonial architecture, don’t forget to visit local markets and talk to local people who will greet you with smiles.
The heart and soul of Yangon is certainly Shwedagon Pagoda. Tourists, monks and worshippers sit individually or in groups where they can – some pray, some meditate, some just sit still. After sunset, the glittering golden stupa, the landmark of Yangon, attracts thousands of locals and foreigners, a religious version of a bustling square.
Mandalay is a beautiful cultural, religious and historical city. It is home to many significant Buddhist pagodas and monasteries, and it’s common to see many monks in red robes and nuns in pink climbing up and down Mandalay Hill. Walk around the city and climb up the hill to enjoy a panorama of the whole city.
Pyin Oo Lwin is one of the most famous hill stations, situated on a plateau 1000m above sea level. Located around 70km from Mandalay, it is part of the Shan mountain range so the weather is pleasant and cool, making it a popular resort town for Myanmar citizens and tourists. The colonial-era architecture, botanical gardens and local ways of life are amazing.