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Tips for Indian Travelers to Yangon

August 27, 2018

Tips for Indian Travelers to Yangon

You probably know it better as Rangoon, capital of Burma. Now things have changed-it’s not only is just a regional capital but changed to Yangon in a nation that now calls itself Myanmar. The changes are largely cosmetic and Yangon or Rangoon retains much of its old character.

The epicenter of the city is the Shwedagon Paya, a huge golden pagoda around which all activities revolve. Quite close to it is the downtown area with its British colonial era buildings and roadside markets.

Shwedagon Paya (Pagoda) is gilded with 27 tons of gold and reputed to be 2,600 years old; it sits atop a 167ft high hill and occupies 114 acres. It has suffered from earthquakes, fires, and invasions and been repaired and renovated countless time and is still truly awe-inspiring.

Kandawgyi Lake is actually a reservoir built by the British and so close to the Shwedagon Paya that it can be seen reflected in its waters. The southern and western part of this lake is free; the eastern side has an admission fee and a small park and a kids section. The northern side has a gallery, massage parlor, bars, etc. 

National Museum is a bit haphazard and not well labeled but don’t let that deter you. It has some great stuff, including a throne 26 ft high and appears to be more a doorway encrusted with gems; chairs of ivory and innumerable ancient images of the Buddha.

People's Park is to the west of Shwedagon Paya, with an impressive fountain, consisting of elephants arranged in concentric circles and other attractions, including an old fighter jet, a Fokker aircraft, and an old locomotive. There’s also a planetarium, an amusement park with rides. Low cost and homely, worth it if kids are tagging along.

Bogyoke Aung San Market is a modern covered market and good for handicrafts, souvenirs, and local textiles. Some other goods are lacquer ware, jewelry, puppets and lonjis or lungis, which are still worn all over India and Myanmar.

Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple has the largest reclining Buddha in the country, some 216 ft long. The Buddha image was commissioned in 1899 but the end result was a Buddha with an angry expression and it was demolished in 1950. A new image was commissioned and consecrated in 1973. This reclining Buddha has glass eyes that are 5 ft 10 in × 1 ft 11 in size.

Parts of Yangon are modernized but Myanmar still exists in a time warp, and this charm appeals to many jaded travelers. Taking a limited amount of local currency and crisp US dollars for all traveling expenses is a good idea as soiled currency is often rejected by local moneychangers. Getting travel insurance before venturing into Myanmar is also a good idea. For all your travel expenses, opt for EbixCash World Money and its Multi-Currency Card, valid worldwide at all Visa outlets. The card comes with pin/chip security and has 24x7 customer support.

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