Burma, now Myanmar, spend plenty of time as a colony of Britain, with a capital, Rangoon, now Yangon, by far the largest and most important city in the country. Somehow the years of Myanmar’s isolation made Yangon a forgotten city. In recent years, the government decided to build a new capital, Naypyidaw, almost like a new beginning for Myanmar with the national flag changed as well. Yangon remains the largest city and the likely city of entry for those deciding on a Myanmar travel package. The riches of the country may have slipped from the tourist consciousness but they were all still there and as the country opens up, an increasing number of tourists are enjoying Myanmar tours and seeing them. In terms of Yangon, there is plenty to see before you move on elsewhere in the country, especially temples:
• Shwedagon Paya is the most important religious site in Myanmar and is likely to even be included on Indochina tours. It is a pagoda on top of Singuttara Hill where legend says five lotus flowers grew, representing the 5 Buddhas who could lead people to Nirvana. It was built in the 6th Century, and rebuilt and restored many times since, especially after an 18th Century earthquake. It is a fairly informal place but tourists must show due respect to this, and every other religious site. There is a great deal to see and you should consider several hours to do it justice.
• Sule Paya is actually effectively a traffic island on the busiest intersection in the heart of Yangon. It was built 2,000 years ago and is a remarkable sight.
• Botataung Pagoda is located on the banks of the river; it was destroyed by Allied bombing during Japanese occupation during World War II.
• Mailamu Paya on the outskirts of Yangon sits a large area of land where there is a series of Buddha statues depicting their lives.
Other religions are represented in Yangon as well; Saint Mary's Cathedral is fairly ugly but internally there is some most impressive carvings.Holy Trinity Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral built by the British and again, the interior is most impressive. Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue on 26th Street dates back to 1893.
Elsewhere, there are some nice parks that help you forget the bustle of Yangon. The best time to visit Myanmar are the four months either side of Christmas when rain is rare and temperatures most bearable. The Zoological Gardens were built by the British early in the 20th Century while other parks to consider visiting are Mahabandoola Garden and its rose gardens and the Independence Monument as well as People's Park with its huge water fountain and museum. There are two lakes within the City, Inya, which is a prosperous area within the City and Kandawgyi Lake in the north east of Yangon.If you have time, you might like to visit the National Museum where you will learn more about the history of Burma and Rangoon as they were then.