Yangon & Environs
YangonYangon, evergreen and cool with lush tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakes has earned the name of “the Garden City of the East.” It is the main gateway to Myanmar by air and sea. Founded by King Alaungphaya on the site of a small settlement called Dagon when he conquered Lower Myanmar in 1755. Yangon means “End of Strife” which was anglicized to Rangoon after the British annexed Myanmar in 1885. Towering almost 100 metres above the green city-scope of Yangon, the luminous Shwedagon Pagoda is the landmark visible from miles around. One of the wonders of the world, the Shwedagon is believed to have been built more than 2500 years ago.Other highlights are the colossal Reclining Buddha of Chauk Htat Kyee Pagoda, Kaba Aye (World Peace)Pagoda and the Great Cave, Botahtaung Pagoda, Sule Pagoda with unique architectural features, National Museum, Gems Museum, Bogyoke Aung San Park and Kandawgyi (Royal Lake), walk in colonial buildings area, China town and the famous shopping centre Bogyoke ( Scott’s) Market .
Once a trading port occupied by the Portuguese in early 17th Century, Thanlyin and its surroundings offer many attractions. The old buildings still stand in evidence of the days of Portuguese occupation.The 270 metre long bridge spanning the Bago River made possible the 45 minutes drive from Yangon. Kyaik-Khauk Pagoda and Kyauktan Pagoda in the creek are worth visiting.
Twan-TeA small town that is well-known for its pottery and cotton weaving industries. The town is situated on – and gives its name to – the Twante Canal, which was constructed during the colonial period to improve access from Yangon to the Ayeyarwady delta. A ride on the canal offers contrasting images: the buzzing chaos in Yangon is replaced by the provincial calmness of the countryside only a few minutes outside the former capital. A boat cruise to Twan-te ( 24 km from Yangon) along the Twan-te Canal takes about two hours.Twan-te itself is home to the well-known Shwe San Daw Pagoda. The huge complex resembles the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.
Allied War Memorial Cemetery
Located at Htaukkyant, 32 km from Yangon, on the road to Bago. It has 27,000 tombstones of Allied soldiers who lost their lives in Myanmar during the World War II. The cemetery is a calm, peaceful place and is beautifully tended.
BagoBago lies 80 km (50 miles) north – east of Yangon. It was an ancient capital of Mon Kingdom in 15th century and known as Hanthawaddy Kingdom under the Mon. It is capital city of Bago division; It takes about 1h 30min drive to get Bago from Yangon and also can be reached by train.Bago can be visited from Yangon on a day’s trip.The most famous sites are Kyakhatwine monastery, Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha image which is 55m long, Shwemawdaw pagoda, 28 m high huge Buddha images of Kyaikpun, the Mon old Palace site (Kanbawzathadi Palace), HinnTha Gone Pagoda and Bago market.
Kyaikhtiyo PagodaThe famous legendary Kyaikhtiyo pagoda is located in the small town called Kyaikhto, in the Mon State. The pagoda is also known as “the golden rock”. This destination is 160 km away from Yangon and 4 hours drive.It is quite fascinating to see a golden boulder, shaped like a hermit’s head and capped with a 6-metre high gilded pagoda perched precariously on the edge of a precipice, 1121 metres above sea level. Legend has it that the Buddha’s sacred hair is enshrined in this rock.Kyaikhtiyo pagoda is one of the most ancient and celebrated of all pagodas in Myanmar and said to have been built during the life-time of the Buddha over 2400 years.It is a test of one’s endurance and is very exhilarating once a person has reached the summit. Our coach stops at Kinpun base camp. From there, we have to use an open truck which is normally used for hilly track up to the Hermit Hill.On arrival at the Hermit Hill, you will have to trek about one hour uphill to reach the pagoda. Porters and palanquins are available to carry luggage and pilgrims who are too old or weak.The climb offers magnificent views over the surrounding countryside and the opportunity to make friends with the many local people who make the pilgrimage to Kyaikhtiyo.It can also be reached by trekking from the base camp. It is a 11 km uphill climb for the hikers from Kinpun base camp to the Rock if we trek, The season of pilgrimage is from October to May. Weather permitting, sunset views from Mount Kyaiktiyo are amazing.