Carlos Melia – A Day in Yangon, Myanmar

Author: , November 22nd, 2015

Carlos Melia - Myanmar

It was time to give my warm Mingalaba ” Good Morning ” to Yangon, and off I went, escorted by the expert team of the Belmond Governor’s Residence, on a full day experience tour of Yangon. I will let mainly the images do the talking, and pinpoint some tips and must see/do while in there.

Carlos Melia - MyanmarMy stay consisted of two nights, and I felt it was the perfect amount of time to enjoy the destinations and see all that needed to be seen. Hope you enjoy my day exploring the vibrant and contrasting Yangon (also known as Rangoon), former capital of Myanmar (Burma) and the the country’s largest city with a population of over five million.

I wish to dedicate this, and all my Myanmar post, to Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi. And congratulate her on her massive win on the latest elections. I happened to be in Myanmar, weeks before the election took place. Such a pivotal moment in the life of Burmese people and a new era to come. A true example that convictions ethics, values and character cannot be undermined and dreams cannot be crushed by power.

It was a hard decision, to leave Belmond Governor’s Residence, a blissful mirage of tranquility, but have to be done. It was my time to take the streets of Yangon and see what this was all about. There was one thing I know about Yangon, well actually more than that.

But one thing I truly wanted to see, and it was the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most famous pagodas in the world and it is certainly the main attraction of Yangon. I mean you can’t help its omnipresence. Locally known as Shwedagon Zedi Daw The, it sits atop of a hill and is 99 meters high. It can be seen from most places of Yangon day and night as the golden roof illuminates the city.

First stop of our tour, not by coincidence, was the Secretariat Building. The Ministers’ Building, formerly The Secretariat is occupied an entire city block.. It was the home and administrative seat of British Burma and built in the late 1800s. The structure is more than 120 years old. It was where General Aung San and 6 cabinet ministers were assassinated on 19 July 1947. The building is currently on the Yangon City Heritage List and completely abandoned.

From there on, we left our luxury bus, and mingled with the flow of the locals, to stroll and explore the streets of Yangon. Men wearing casual and formal Longyi, Tanaka white faced women, and a busy pulse surrounded by the highest number of colonial period buildings in Southeast Asia. This is Downtown Yangon.

Carlos Melia - MyanmarAfter a full morning exploring Downtown Yangon, it was time to sample the local cuisine. So we came to Rangoon Tea House. Ragoon Tea House proposes a taste of local Myanmar – including my new favorite Mohinga – in a very comfortable clean environment. Read the Full post here …” Lunching like a local Dinning like a King in Yangon…”

After a succulent local lunch, was need to take a long, long, long walk. First stop was POMELO ( where I’ve got this lovely parasol). Where local art, helps those in need. The lovely selection of contemporary handicrafts produced by projects supporting disadvantaged groups in Myanmar.

Of course, me being ME, I could not resist stopping by the Strand Hotel, located right in Downtown. A total different experience to Belmond Governor’s Residence, but yet another great example of Yangon’s luxury hospitality. Excellent example of the Yangon’s past, Century-old building with magnificent architecture. One of the most iconic 5 star hotels in Yangon. Built in 1901, it remains as awe inspiring as it was in the early 20th Century.

Our next stop, was my least favorite, since I felt it was sort of a tourist trap. But perhaps, I have spent too much time in Asia, and particularly in South East Asia, and I have grown to appreciate this type of markets, when they are more local and real. Bogyoke Aung San Market, also known as Scott Market.

Carlos Melia - MyanmarBack on track to interesting things, was our next stop and last before my most awaited sunset visit to Shwedagon Pagoda, the Chauk That Gyi Pagoda and the Reclining Buddha. The most well-known Buddhist temple in Bahan Township, Yangon. It houses one of the most revered reclining Buddha images in the country, of 66 metres (217 ft) long. Buddha image is wearing a golden robe; the right arm of the Buddha is supporting the back of the head. The Reclining Buddha image is decorated with very expressive colors, white face, red lips, blue eye shadow, golden robe and red finger nails.

Around the Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha image is a number of shrines, one for each of the eight days of the week in Asian astrology (Wednesday is split in two days). Local people pray to the shrine belonging to the day of their birth.

And yes ladies and gentleman. The time had come to finally see the main reason of excitement, of my visit to Yangon. Finally after years of wait, I was right there at the impressive and gorgeous Shwedagon Pagoda. One of the most famous pagodas in the world – and believed to be one of the oldest – and it is certainly the main attraction of Yangon, Myanmar’s capital city. But you will have to wait for my next post to see in detail, my awaited visit during sunset, with a lovely surprise prepared for us by the team of Belmond. Hope you’ve enjoyed my day exploring the vibrant and contrasting city of Yangon.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

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