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Yangon: The Lost City

After months of procrastinating, we were finally able to go to Myanmar. For many years, Myanmar has been isolated and unpopular in terms of tourism mainly because of its country’s strict governance. Not to mention the civil war that happened not so very long ago.

Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda

In Yangon, you won’t see superhighways or impressive malls or anything that would make it seem like a progressive city. When you hail a cab, you must ready your haggling skills since most cabs are not (yet) built with fare meter. In short, it’s a city that’s just beginning to rise and keep up with the rest of the world.

Bathing the Buddha is one of the rituals in the temple, which signifies purification of the mind and the body

Bathing the Buddha is one of the rituals in the temple, which signifies purification of the mind and the body

 

A devout Buddhist rings the bell for goodluck

A devout Buddhist rings the bell for goodluck

One thing I like about the city is the government’s effort to preserve old and historical buildings. We took a walk one drizzly afternoon along Strand Road and its nearby streets and discovered beautiful, abandoned colonial buildings. In some areas, it’s like walking down the streets of London (never mind the scattered litter here and there and the occasional potholes). If you’re a keen observer, you will notice dark patches of red stains on the roads and sidewalks. This is because the Burmese love to chew betel nut and then spit the reddish-orange tar leaving permanent stain on the concrete.

Yangon's Old Railway Station was originally built by the British in 1877 which was later destroyed during the Second World War.  After the war, the Burmese rebuilt the station and was completed in 1954.

Yangon’s Old Railway Station was originally built by the British in 1877 which was later destroyed during the Second World War. After the war, the Burmese rebuilt the station and was completed in 1954.

The prominent landmarks in Myanmar are its majestic Pagodas. There are hundreds of Pagodas all over the country and in Yangon alone, you will already see quite a number of them. The most famous one is the Shwedagon Pagoda. Buddhists come here to offer flowers and pray. If you’re planning a visit, wear proper clothing (nothing short or daring) and be sure to bring an extra bag or something where you can put your shoes to carry whilst you do a barefoot walkabout inside the temple.

The Leaning Buddha

The Leaning Buddha

Vendors selling pickled fruits and other local delicacies in Bogyoke Aung San Market

Vendors selling pickled fruits and other local delicacies in Bogyoke Aung San Market

The Bogyoke Market is also worth visiting. It is the city’s tourist “shopping district” although don’t expect to see a Dior or Prada store outlet when you go. As the country is famous for producing quality jade, you will find many varieties of it and other semi-precious gems in the market. And if you have already perfected the art of haggling, you might just get a good discount. There you will also find antique decorations, beautiful paintings, souvenirs, and even exotic finds like a deer antler.

To know more about Burma’s history, click

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