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Yangon

Yangon

Yangon (or rankun mrui, also known as Rangoon, literally: "End of Strife") is a former capital of Myanmar (Burma) and the capital of Yangon Region. It also served as the Capital in Exile of Azad Hind. Yangon is the country's largest city with a population of nearly six million, and is the most important commercial centre, although the military government officially relocated the capital to the newly built city of Naypyidaw in March 2006.
Yangon Overview
Recent re-systemizations have catapulted Myanmar into the global spotlight, drawing a massive stream many attentions. Find out more about Yangon information before paying a visit helps a lot in blending in one of the most extraordinary countries in the world.
 
The young capital of Yangon has just celebrated its independent government for 134 years since the British moved the ruling seats from Mandalay. Under the circumstance, Yangon is filled with a wonderful array of colonial inheritance, the influx of international capitals, and development efforts.
 
Being the largest city, the capital, as well as the former political exiles, Yangon welcomes flocks of investors and international visitors in recent years. Myanmar has marked this place its center of commerce and art hub that is glistering with temples and unique architectures. The highest concentration of the population and economic activities are in the riverfront of Strand Road, Pansodan Street, and Sule Pagoda Road.
 
Yangon reflects the culture change gradually since the country reopened to the world. It is now easier to find several restaurants, bars, and shops across the city. It happens now traffic jam like most bustling cities in the world. And building sites are rising, literally everywhere.
Yangon History
The name ‘Yangon’ is a combination of the words yan [enemies] and koun [run out of]. It has also been translated as ‘the end of strife’. The name Rangoon came from the British pronunciation of Yangon.
 
In the early 11th century (1028–1043CE) the Mon dominated Lower Burma. Yangon was a small Mon fishing village centred on the Shwedagon Paya, and was called Dagon. However, King Alaungpaya conquered Dagon in 1755, renamed it Yangon. The British captured Yangon during the First Anglo-Burmese War of 1824–26, but it was returned to Burmese administration after the war.
 
Then the British again seized Yangon, and all of Lower Burma in the Second Anglo-Burmese War of 1852, and established Yangon as the political and commercial center of British Burma. The British laid out the new city on a grid plan constructed on a delta, with the Pazundaung Creek on the east, and the Yangon River on the west.
 
Colonial Period
In the 1890s, the increasing population and flourishing commerce gave rise to the affluent residential suburbs to the north of Royal Lake Kandawgyi and around Inya Lake.
 
During the colonial period, the British also established hospitals and universities, and Yangon was a mix of colonial buildings and traditional Burmese wooden architecture, with spacious parks with lakes. It is said that by the early 20th century, the infrastructure and public services of Yangon were comparable to those of London. Yangon was known as ‘the garden city of the East.’
 
Modern Era
After World War I, Yangon became the centre of the Burmese independence movement. In 1920, 1936 and 1938 there were nationwide strikes protesting against British colonial rule which started in Yangon. During World War II, Yangon was under Japanese occupation, and was heavily damaged during the war. The city was retaken by the Allies in May 1945 at the end of the war.
 
Yangon became the capital of the Union of Burma on January 4, 1948 when the country became independent from the British. In the 1990s as the government began to allow private investment, and there was a construction boom with new high-rise buildings being constructed in the city. In 2005 the political capital of Myanmar was moved to Naypyidaw about 230 miles north of Yangon.
 
Yangon Today
Yangon is a pleasant city with wide, tree-lined avenues. It is the largest city in Myanmar, and is the country's spiritual, cultural, and business centre, and is where many of the country’s pagodas and temples can be found. The city is a mix of diverse peoples, cultures, and religions, and is a blend of British, Burmese, Chinese and South Asian influences.
 
The atmosphere of Yangon is that of a typical Southeast Asian city, but unlike other Asian capitals, it has not yet been overtaken by rampant development. Due to its slow growth, it still retains much of its colonial architecture, although much of it has fallen into disrepair, and is decaying due to lack of upkeep.
 
Yangon is a unique example of a 19th-century British colonial capital where men and women still wear the traditional lon-gyi, and street vendors, and the sights and sounds evoke an Asian city of the past. It is a city with a population of over five million people, but it is developing slowly. Even though it is a busy and bustling city, it still retains some of the charm of a bygone era.

Yangon climate and best time to visit
Weather: The average temperature in Yangon is about 28°C (82°F). The hottest month is April, while the coolest months are July and August.
 
It experiences three seasons, namely the dry season, the hot season and the wet season.
 
Dry Season (November to February)-best time to visit
 
The dry season is the best time to visit Myanmar, with the best conditions overall. Temperatures are comfortable with average highs of about 30°C. Nights during the dry season are chilly, normally around 15°C (59°F), so warmer clothes are required.
 
During this season, the beach at Ngapali provides an excellent tranquil atmosphere for relaxing, and river levels are high enough for boat-trips.
 
Since it is the peak tourist season, the price of air tickets and accommodation is higher than at other times. And when sightseeing, you can probably expect attractions to be crowded.
 
Hot Season (March to May)
 
From the beginning of March, temperatures increase steadily, reaching 40°C (104°F) by the end of the month. It is more humid in Yangon than in other places, as it is close to the beach.
 
As temperatures increase a lot, tourists should be aware of the uncomfortable outdoor environment. Lakes are generally cooler, so for example Inya Lake is a good option for relaxation.
 
If you can put up with the heat, you’ll find that travel and accommodation prices during the hot season are cheaper than at other times, and crowds are smaller. The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival and Thingyan Water Festival are two main hot-season events in Yangon, attracting many people every year.
 
Wet Season (June to October)
 
The rains start in May, and by June it is time for monsoon storms. As the wettest months, July and August have temperatures hovering around 30°C. It is not the best time to travel to Yangon, as its location on the south coast means it has more rainfall than other regions.
 
However, the rain usually comes in short bursts, so rainfall should not have a huge negative impact on your overall experience. Most beach resorts are closed at this time, so it is not a good time for the beaches.
 
The good news is that the price of air tickets and accommodation during this season should be lowest, and you can expect fewer crowds, especially when you visit the popular destinations. Thadingyut Festival is the largest festival, held either in September or October. It attracts many people every year.
Yangon Transportation
By Taxi
Taxis are available everywhere in Yangon. You can get a taxi at anywhere. Once you hire a taxi, you tell the place you want to go and you ask how much the trip will cost. The least would be about Ks. 700, and more depending on your journey. Now, there are CNG Gas contained Parami Taxis.
By Bus
There are over 250 bus lines running around Yangon. There are over 2.5 million commuters a day. Recently, CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) was introduced as new fuel for buses operating in Yangon. The bus fares starts from Ks 40 to Ks 120, depending on the distance the traveller takes.
By Train
Circular Train service is available. There are 11 local trains for circular services through 37 railway stations. The train fares are cheaper than the bus fares. Yangon Central Railways Station near Aung San Stadium is the main station in Yangon.
By Ferry Boat
For the commuters from Dala, to cross the Yangon River, takes about 10 minutes. They steam between Pansodan Warf and Dala Warf.
Domestic Transport from Yangon
Express Bus
There are two highway bus terminals, one known as Dagon Ayeyar Highway Bus Terminalm in Hlaing Tharyar Township, which is mainly for the buses going to the Ayeyarwaddy Division. The other terminal is Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Terminal, which is for the buses tot the cities and towns of the whole country, except the Ayeyarwaddy Division.
Boat
Boat services are available for Ayeyarwaddy Delta region. Tickets are available at Lan Thit Jetty in Seikkan Township.
Train
Myanma Railways operate 40 train-routes throughout the country. Tickets are available at Yangon Central Railway Station.
AirPlane
Yangon International Airport is available for both International and Domestic Flights. Domestic flight carriers are (1) Myanmar Airways (2) Air Bagan (3) Air Mandalay and (4) Yangon Airways.
Things to do and see in Yangon
Shwedagon Pagoda
Without doubt, the Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most important religious sites in Yangon, and all of Myanmar. The golden chedi of the pagoda, which reaches a height of 99 meters, is visible throughout the city, and it shimmers in the sun with its incredibly golden surface. The Shwedagon Pagoda is a very well preserved heritage monument, and a sacred religious pilgrimage site for many Buddhist followers in Myanmar.
 
Shwedagon Pagoda
Without doubt, the Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most important religious sites in Yangon, and all of Myanmar. The golden chedi of the pagoda, which reaches a height of 99 meters, is visible throughout the city, and it shimmers in the sun with its incredibly golden surface. The Shwedagon Pagoda is a very well preserved heritage monument, and a sacred religious pilgrimage site for many Buddhist followers in Myanmar.
 
Bogyoke Aung San Market
Bogyoke Aung San market, also commonly known by its former name of Scott Market, was built in 1926 under a design from the British colonial period. On the outside of the market are a number of European looking cobblestone streets with shops housed and either side, and there’s also a large indoor section that’s setup more like a bazaar.
 
Chaukhtatgyi Paya (Chak Htat Gyi Buddha) – Reclining Buddha
Chaukhtatgyi Paya, which is also referred to as the Reclining Buddha, is an absolutely massive 65 meter long reclining Buddha. Originally there was a standing Buddha statue in the same place, but about fifty years ago it toppled over, and was eventually replaced with a reclining version. The Buddha is housed in a giant metal shed, that reminded me of an airplane hanger (it’s so big). The crown of the statue is decorated with diamonds and other gems, and the feet are etched with inscriptions showing the characteristics and symbols of the Buddha.

National Museum of Myanmar
The National Museum was a little on the old side, and it could do with a re-model soon, but overall, I thought the actual collection at the museum was very interesting. There was a wealth of artifacts, religious relics, artwork, cultural explanations and ethnicities, and tons of golden objects from the royal courts of Myanmar.
 
Yangon Travel Tips
Money: ATMs seem to now be readily available in Yangon and dispense kyat. Most establishments are able to break the size of bills that ATMs give, but cash is still the primary currency. (Some have said ATMs will not allow withdraws on cards that are issued from US banks affiliated with the military but that is one anecdotal experience.) Additionally, it is always wise to bring along some cash. US dollars can be exchanged but they must be pristine with no damage, creases, or marks (seeing any kyat in this condition is rare). Some locations will also allow payment in US dollars.
 
Getting Around: Taxis are the primary form of transportation in Yangon for the tourist crowd. They are very inexpensive. In town, 2000 kyat seems an average. Even staying about 45 minutes outside town, with minimal traffic, we usually paid only 4000. Ask drivers up front how much and don’t worry about letting one drive off who asks to much, there is likely already another waiting behind him. Also, get business cards from your hotel so you can show it to the driver if they do not know the place by name. It is much easier than trying to show them on a map and they will likely call directly to the hotel for directions.
 
Buses are common but without understanding the language, and being skilled at jumping onto a moving vehicle, they may be hard to navigate. Walking is also common to see with sidewalks on most streets, often shared with vendors but still enough room to roam. Just be sure to watch the traffic as well as the lights – or better yet, cross with locals as they understand the traffic patterns.
 
People: Unlike some S.E. Asian countries where people seem fed up with tourists, Yangon seems to have the nicest general populace. Complete strangers would walk up and ask if we needed help and offer detailed instructions. One stranger even negotiated a taxi rate for me and explained to the driver where to go – completely unsolicited. And, the colors and bustle of Yangon are worth sitting and watching for hours. Mahabandoola Park is one of many great places to check out. The elevated crosswalks, markets, and river front also offer great locations for just watching the world walk by.
 
Lodging: Yangon has a wide variety of lodging at this point. Allegedly, it is one of the more expensive S.E. Asian cities; but you can find affordable places, some may be farther outside the main hub of the city. But don’t let the supposed high hotel costs keep you away!
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