One Day in Yangon: The Sule Pagoda and Downtown Sights - Adventures of Anette

Monday, October 3, 2016

One Day in Yangon: The Sule Pagoda and Downtown Sights

Buddhist monk in Yangon
Myanmar (also referred to as Burma)'s largest city Yangon is also the main point of entry to the former British colony, and the previously closed country is getting steadily more accessible for foreign visitors through the city's international airport. In the former capital you can see old architecture dating back to the British colonial rule, but also ancient pagodas and, with the booming foreign investment, a growing number of modern skyscrapers

The best part of our stay in Yangon was without doubt our visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda. For the rest of the city we wrapped up our sightseeing in one day with a couple of places of interest. We started out by taking a taxi from our hotel situated next to the Shwedagon Pagoda to the Central Railway Station, and soon discovered that the taxi-drivers we stopped weren’t particularly good with reading maps and/or roman characters. Finally we found a guy who, after having repeated the name of the destination back and forth at least five times, agreed to take us along a no more than five-minutes drive to the station.
Yangon's Central Railway Station is beautiful, but one can argue that a renovation would be in place
We didn't stay in this area for a long time, but the short visit to the station was good for finally convincing us to opt for taking the night bus rather than train when leaving for Kalaw after having seen the somewhat aged trains. From the station we walked towards the downtown area of the city, and passed by a wide variety of old buildings and landscapes.
Some old trains next to the Central Railway Station
Although we didn’t pass any particular sightseeing spots on the way it was still interesting to feel the atmosphere of the city and watch the people and the architecture on our way. People did’t seem to pay too much notice to foreigners, and we could go undisturbed through the streets of Yangon. Despite being crowded and rather unorganized we never felt unsafe as we strolled down the downtown area.
We were heading for the heart of Yangon, which among other things is home to the famous Sule Pagoda. In the end we decided not to go into the pagoda as we had planned to spend more time visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda instead, but we still got a nice view of the pagoda from the surrounding areas, including the Maha Bandoola park.

A lot of locals seemed to be enjoying the park in the cloudy but warm weather. This was a nice place to chill out for a little while for us as well, and Yuma took the opportunity to try some of the exercise machines.

The iconic High Court Building right to the east of the park
After our relaxing time in the park we continued towards the local Chinatown, and in the area we soon discovered some smaller market streets where they were selling vegetables and meat. Although it was quite a lot of people in the market it was interesting to get a closer look at how people were living their daily life here in the city. Below are some of my photos from the local market.
For this time we didn't stop by the Botataung Pagoda which also is situated in the area. But who knows, maybe we'll have the chance to visit Yangon again in the future! It will be interesting to see how the city will change these upcoming years with all the foreign investments and ongoing development projects.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave comments/questions below and I'll do my best to answer.
-Anette


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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who'd gladly trade a trip to the shoppingmall for a hike in the forest any day.

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Adventures ofAnette


The classical story about a girl who went for a one-year exchange program to Japan, fell in love and got stuck there. Starting out as a student in Kyoto in 2010 I now work full-time in Tokyo as a hotel consultant, and write mostly about my travels, working life in Japan as well as a bunch of random stuff.
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