If you’re a British Raj-architecture enthusiast, or just a fan of old-world charm in general, head to Myanmar this summer to experience ‘Rangoon’ before it changes forever — becoming just like any other bustling, modern western metropolis.
The new political setup, increased number of flights connecting it to the rest of the world, a booming tourism industry, and growing foreign investment bodes well for Myanmar’s economy, but it could change the cultural landscape of its biggest city forever.
Yangon’s most popular landmark is the dazzling ShweDagon Temple, whose gold-leaf covered pagoda can be seen from miles away. It attracts Buddhist pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. The Sule Pagoda, too, is another such temple worth visiting. In the vicinity of the ShweDagon, you’ll also find the final resting place of the exiled, last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar.
You can also enjoy a quiet afternoon at Inya Lake, or browse through the historical treasures housed in the National Museum. If shopping is what you’re interested in, head to Scott Market where you’ll find everything from quaint ethnic handicrafts, to exquisite handloom fabrics, to the finest and most brilliant ‘Burma rubies’. And remember, haggling is the order of the day.
Most of Yangon’s most beautiful, iconic, heritage buildings are in the downtown, Central District. The magnificent Secretariat Building, Yangon’s first parliament building, and also the place where General Aung San, Suu Kyi’s father, was assassinated, is located there, as is the High Court and the majestic white City Hall. Yangon’s most historic luxury hotel The Strand, built in 1901, also still stands proud.
If for some reason, you can’t make it to Myanmar don’t despair; you can get a feel of its ambiance in the upcoming Bollywood film ‘Rangoon’ starring Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, scheduled for release this October.
(Image Credits: justgoodvibe.com)