Yangon city is Myanmar’s most important city, even though it is no longer the capital. With a population of more than 7 million people, it is also the country’s largest metropolitan area. Most tourists only stop in Yangon for a few days, but the city is worth exploring.
Yangon was founded in the early 11th century by the Mon. Then, it was just a small finishing village with the Shwedagon Pagoda, now Myanmar’s most sacred pagoda, at its heart.
Yangon grew as settlements were added, but the city’s transformation into a commercial hub occurred under British colonial rule. Known as the ‘garden city of the east’ with its rambling parks and colonial mansions. Indeed, today, its faded colonial history is part of the city’s charm, and the buildings remain remarkably intact.
After Burmese independence, many of the streets were renamed and the city has continued to expand. Notably, however, is that unlike other major Asian metropolises, Yangon does not have any skyscrapers, and most high-rise buildings are only about ten to twenty storeys. Leafy avenues and fin-de-siècle architecture make Yangon a wonderful place for an afternoon stroll and a daydream.
Beyond the city’s charms stretches the massive Ayeyarwady Delta, a place of rice paddies, meandering rivers, and bucolic countryside, all awaiting discovery.