With its bright colours, sights and sounds, Southeast Asia is renowned for its bustling city centres. Myanmar’s former capital, Yangon illustrates this regional diversity with its unique blend of cultures, preservation of beautiful old buildings and fantastic fusion foods.
The largest and most populated city in the nation, Yangon is a vital business centre and the country’s most culturally diverse city. Though most of the metropolitan area’s population is of indigenous Bamar descent, large communities of Indian, Chinese, and Rakhine people, as well as the nation’s fascinating British colonial past have all influenced Yangon’s culture, architecture and cuisine. Under British rule from 1824 to 1948, Yangon has preserved many of its colonial era buildings.
Buddhism is at the heart of Myanmar’s culture, as you walk the streets of Yangon, you will notice many beautiful pagodas. Known for its great choice of restaurants, the city offers some of Myanmar’s most exciting dining experiences, featuring a mix of Burmese, Mon, Indian and Chinese influences with fresh local ingredients and a harmonious balance of sour, salty, spicy and bitter flavours.
1) Uncover Shwedagon Pagoda
Also known as Shwedagon Zedi Daw and the Golden Pagoda, Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most sacred Buddhist pagodas in Myanmar. Plated in gold leaf and covered with over 7000 diamonds, rubies, topaz and sapphires, this breath-taking stupa is estimated to be over 2600 years old.
2) Savour the Flavours of a Traditional Burmese Thali
Similar to Indian Thali (meal set), the Burmese version is made up of multiple small dishes. Often vegetarian, the dish is served with delicious piles of mung beans and green beans. Akin to Malaysian Banana Leaf, it is the perfect way to sample an assortment of local of rice, curry, vegetable, soup and chutney renditions in one go.
3) Historical Building
With over 180 historical landmarks to visit, The Yangon City Heritage List consists of mostly religious structures and British colonial era buildings. The list encompasses spectacular pagodas, temples, churches, mosques and a synagogue, as well as several exquisite hotels, schools, offices and government buildings scattered throughout the city.
4) Stroll Along Chinatown’s 19th Street
Coming to life at 6pm, 19th Street is a great place to get a taste of Yangon’s night life. Famous for its Chinese barbecue, the street’s enticing aroma of sizzling meats are sure to seduce you. Every evening, the main street of Maha Bundala comes alive with vendors of all kinds, selling all sorts of edible foods, ranging from Chinese to local Myanmar dishes.Food such as skewers of baby corn, okra and broccoli plus a couple of meat
skewers such as spicy mutton or chicken are the main food attraction not to be missed.
5) Dazzle Your Eyes with a Cultural Show
An iconic Burmese landmark, Karaweik Palace is situated right on Kandawgyi Lake. The palace comes alive every evening with a dinner buffet and performances showcasing multiple traditional Burmese dances such as the Elephant Dance; Kinnari and Kinnara Dance; U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe and Chin Bamboo Dance.
So pack your cameras, because this is going to be a photo-worthy journey with all the exciting cultural sites to visit. For more exciting Southeast Asian adventures watch Go Travel and other exciting GOASEAN Original Series on tonton.com.my and dimsum.my, or visit goasean.com for further details. Your next adventure awaits!
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