Virtually everyone begins their journey in Yangon (formerly
Rangoon). Yangon is a wonderful place to get accustomed to the
climate, food and everyday traditions of Myanmar life.
Yangon lies in the center of Myanmar, on the Yangon River,
about 30km from the Andaman Sea. It is a city of around four
million and a city full of trees and shade. Yangon has an amazing
combination of British colonial architecture, Buddhist stupas,
Hindu temples, Christian churches, and Muslim mosques. Yangon
is one of the most exotic and striking cities in Southeast Asia.
The glittering Shwedagon Paya with its dazzling mix of pavilion,
stupas, images and bells.
A three-hour trip along the Yangon circular train route, an
excellent way to get an overview of Yangon and the neighbouring
Mandalay was the last capital of Myanmar before the British took
over. Historically it is the most Burmese of the country’s large
cities. The city gets its name from Mandalay, the 236 m-high bluff
that rises just to the northeast of Mandalay Fort and its royal
In the area around Mandalay there are a number of interesting
attractions well worth visiting.
The four ancient cities of Amarapura, Inwa (Ava), Sagaing and
Mingum are all within easy day tripping distance.
U Bein’s Bridge is a long and rickety teak bridge, curved to
withstand the wind and the waves, which crosses the shallow
Taungthaman Lake, south of Pahtodawgyi.
At the start of the bridge is the Maha Ganayon Kyaung, which is
the home to several thousand young monks. If you visit at about
11am, you can watch the whole monastery eating silently.
Bagan is one of the most wondrous sights in Myanmar. Across 40
sq km of country, stretching back from the Ayeyarwady River,
stand thousands of stupas and temples. In every direction you
can see ruins of all sizes.
PLEASE NOTE: Visitors should take enough US Dollars to fund
their stay. Credit cards and travellers’ cheques are unlikely to be
accepted and there are no ATM's in Burma. The only place that I
was able to use my visa card to get cash was at the Sedona
Hotel (No 1, Kaba Aye Pagoda Road) in Yangon. The whole
process did take a couple of days!
Information correct January 2005
Burma (Myanmar) - Jan 2005