Yangon was Myanmar’s capital city up to 2005 when the government abruptly relocated the capital to Naypyidaw. With its wide, tree-lined, streets, parks and lakes Yangon has the sleepy charm of a provincial town. Crumbling British colonial mansions stand beside glittering pagodas, including one of the most remarkable religious shrines in all of Asia - the golden Shwedagon Pagoda. Much of Yangon's allure stems from its colorful street life: peddlers hawk stones on the sidewalk in the gem market; ricksaw drivers in striped longyis (sarongs) peddle lazily through tree-lined streets; and people drink endless cups of sweet, milky tea at roadside tea stalls.
CHAUK HTET GYI PAGODA - The Chauk Htet Gyi Pagoda in Yangon is noted for a colossal reclining Buddha image stretching 70 meters long. The reclining Buddha image, wearing a golden robe with white face, red lips, blue eye shadow, and red finger nails, is referred as the 'Sweet-Eyed Buddha'. Its staggering feet is decorated with 108 sacred Buddhist symbols.
The reclining Buddha image has graced the Chauk Htet Gyi Pagoda for more than one century since it was completed in 1907. It was restored by a devout Buddhist in 1966 when another 5 meters were added to the image. The renovation was paid for entirely with donations from Buddhists and foreign tourists. The names of the contributors are inscribed on the beams of the building. There are 8 shrines representing each day of the week (Wednesday is split into 2) surrounding the statue. Visitors come to give offering to the main Buddha and then payer to the shrine belonging to the day of their birth.
The Chauk Htet Gyi Pagoda is surrounded by several monasteries. There are hundreds of monks studying the teaching of Buddha in the Ashay Tawya Monastery. The entrance fee goes towards the maintenance work of the temple as well as the education of local monks at the Ashay Tawya Monastery.
HOCK KEONG TEMPLE - Kheng Hock Keong is the oldest Chinese Buddhist and Taoist temple in Yangon, situated in chinatown. It was founded in 1861 by the Hokkien community and dedicated to Mazu, the Sea goddess. Kheng Hock Keong means “Temple in celebration of prosperity/fortune” and the name was chosen in gratitude to Mazu for her blessings during their sea voyages and for their prosperity and fortune in Burma.
SHWEDAGON PAGODA - The golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is a symbol of Myanmar, and the most holy Buddhist site in the country. Located to the west of the Kandawgyi Lake on the Singuttara Hill, it dominates the skyline of Yangon and is visible from much of the city.
From a humble beginning of 8.2 meters to the current height of nearly 110 meters, the Shwedagon Pagoda has weathered seasons of 2601 years, being the oldest historical pagoda on the planet. The main stupa is covered with gold plates and topped with 4531 diamonds, the largest of which is 72 carats. There is no exaggeration to say Shwedagon Pagoda showcases the best Myanmar heritages in architecture, sculpture and art. Shwedagon Pagoda means Golden Hair. In its exterior enshrines strands of Buddha's hair and other holy relics, and hundreds of temples. Over the years, a stream of devotees has brought offerings to the various temple shrines within the pagoda.
SULE PAGODA - The Sule Pagoda is a Burmese stupa located in the heart of downtown Yangon, occupying the centre of the city and an important space in contemporary Burmese politics, ideology and geography. According to legend, it was built before the Shwedagon Pagoda during the time of the Buddha, making it more than 2,500 years old. Burmese legend states that the site for the Shwedagon Pagoda was asked to be revealed from an old nat who resided at the place where the Sule Pagoda now stands.
The Sule Pagoda has been the focal point of both Yangon and Burmese politics. It has served as a rallying point in both the 1988 uprisings and 2007 Saffron Revolution.