Saturday, April 13, 2013


My last stop in Burma was Yangon, which is the most developed and happening of the places in the country I managed to visit. A big, bustling city, with hints of Westernisation, ghosts of colonial days, and a vibrant feel of energy.

After an overnight bus from Kalaw, and finally finding a suitable place to sleep for the next 2 nights (and after a much needed nap!), I set off on foot to explore the city sights.

Staying near Sule Paya, I walked towards the gold stupa shining in the sunlight, to reach the intersection with the beautiful colonical City Hall on one side and the Mahabandoola Garden on the other side. In this garden stands the Independence Monument, an obelisk which is now the marker of the pro-democracy monk uprising - Burma's Tiananmen Square, perhaps.

I walked up the busy and nearing-modern Sule Paya Road, passing young couples walking along together in matching shirts and a more business clad crowd, before I passed the Railway Station, and walked past the soccer stadium, Aung San Stadium.

After visiting The General's Home, I walked around the streets and markets around Shwedagon Pagoda - the large gold, and very important temple of Burma.

As the sun was fading, I reached Kandawgyi Lake. This Royal Lake and surrounding parkland in the middle of the city, seemed to attract locals out for a walk, joggers and tourists alike, as a tranquil break from the chaos outside in peak traffic. The sun set, allowing the colour of Shwedagon to reflect into the lake - a shimmer of gold.

That night I treated myself to dinner at The Strand - a famous hotel of the British Empire days, and one of the most beautiful buildings facing the river.

The next day I reserved to take in Shwedagon Pagoda. I entered the temple complex via one of the long stairway lined with stores selling buddhist prayer wares, and having removed my shoes as instructed, felt the heat of the tiles all around the gold stupa!

The Shwedagon complex, whilst set around the solid and important stupa, is more a collection of smaller temples all around the base, in contrast to most of the temples we visited in Bagan.

Huge and impressive, the temple featured many of the aspects of the temples we had seen around Burma, culminating in this one very important prayer place for so many Burmese.

I finished my visit to Yangon, and indeed Burma, with a visit to the Bogyoke Aung San Market for some gifts and goodies, before needing to leave for my flight.

A most incredible place, Burma has definitely become a place that has gotten under my skin, and one I would love to return to!

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