Yangon

YANGON

Yangon , the former capital city and commercial city , is the main gateway to Myanmar. It was founded by King Alaungpaya when he conquered lower Myanmar in 1755. He built a new city on the site of a mall settlement called Dagon and renamed it as Yangon , which means “ End of Strife “. Yangon had itself only been the capital of Myanmar since 1885. When the British conquered northern Myanmar , the seat of government moved from Mandalay ( the last Myanmar Kingdom ) to Yangon. As the British had long held the city as a main trading port , a wonderful array of colonial buildings-many of which are now crumbling can be seen in Yangon. The biggest concentration of them is on the riverfront Strand Road , around the bottom of Pansodan Street and Sule Pagoda Road. After getting independence of Myanmar in 1948 , many colonial names of streets and parks changed to more nationalistic Burmese names. In 1959 , the current military junta changed the city’s English name “ Rangoon” to “ Yangon “ , along with many other changes in English transliteration of Burmese names.

Yangon had expanded outwards since independence. Successive governments have built satellite town such as Thaketa , North Okkalapa and South Okkalapa in the 1950s to Hlaingthaya , Shwepyitha and South Dagon in the 1980s. The present day Yangon covers an area of 600 square kilometers with a population of over 7 millions. Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. While Indians formed the slight majority prior to Second World War , today the majority of the population is of indigenous Bamar descent. Large communities of Indians , Chinese , Burmese exist in the traditional downtown neighborhoods. A large number of Rakhine and Karen also live in the city. The Shwedagon Pagoda is the most famous landmark of Yangon. A visit to the union of Myanmar is not complete without visiting the 2500-years-old Shwedagon Pagoda as it is a repository of the best in Myanmar heritage- architecture , sculpture and arts.


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HIGHLIGHTS

Bago

Bago is the capital city of Bago Region and lies on the bank of Bago river in lower part of Myanmar. It was once an ancient capital of Mon Kingdom in 13th century and grand capital of Second Myanmar Empire. It is located about 80 Km far away from the north of Yangon.
The legend says that long ago , the place Bago stands today was completely submerged in the water. One day , at a low tikde , a small patch of land appeared above the sea. It was very tiny islet and there was not enough space for two birds to land down. The male Hintha ( Brahminy ) bird landed first and the female bird perched on her male’s back. Believe it or not , it’s said that anyone who marries a Bago lady is sure to be hen-pecked. Thus , the statue of a couple Hintha birds seated one upon is a symbol of Bago.
According to the Mon chronicle two princes Thamala and Wimala from Thahton ( Suwannabumi ) established a new city in Bago in 825 AD. At that time it was known as Ussa & after ruling by 17 kings , Thamala Dynasty came to an end under Bagan Empire in 1057AD.
After falling down of Bagan , King Banya-Oo , a descendant of Wareru Dynasty , moved his capital from Moktama to Bago and founded the first Hamthawaddy Kingdom in 1369 AD. 11 Kings ruled in Hamthawaddy including King Rajadarit , Queen Shin Saw Pu , and so on.
During the reign of Thushintakarupi , the last king of Hamthawaddy Kingdom, King Tabinshwehti of Taungoo conquered to Bago in 1536 AD. After King Tabinshwehti’s death , King Bayint Naung ascended the throne in 1551 and built Kambawzathadi Palace of Hamthawaddy as Second Myanmar Empire.
Normally , the Shwemawdaw Pagoda and the Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha Image constitute the chief tourist attractions of Bago. Shwemawdaw is one of the largest and highest Pagodas in the country and almost as famous as the great Shwedagon in Yangon. After paying homage to Shwemawdaw Pagoda , another religious place one should visit is Shwethalyaung Reclining Image. It has 188 ft in length and 52 ft in height. The latest addition to Bago’s tourist attractions is the “ Kambawzathadi Palace “ , that was built by King Bayint Naung , the founder of second Myanmar Empire. The meaning of “ Kambawzathadi “ is peaceful and pleasure.
Bago city is popular for cheroots industries and different brands of Cheroots are produced. Other products are rice , salty dry fish , tobacco , rubber , plywood and handicrafts. One of famous traditional food is fermented glutinous rice with fish.
In conclusion , Bago was once the important place for successive kings according to geographical site of Myanmar. One can’t deny that Bago is one of the most popular tourist destinations for not only ancient monument but also the ways of life of the local people.

Pathein

Pathein ( former name , Bassein ) is the capital city of the Ayeyarwaddy Region , Myanmar with 287,071 population by 2014 census record. It is located on the Pathein River , which is a western branch of the Great Ayeyarwaddy River & It’s one of biggest cities in Myanmar & it’s situated 190 Km ( 120 miles ) west of Yangon.
Although once part of the Mon Kingdom , Pathein has few ethnic Mon residents today. The majority are Bamar , Burmese Indians , Karen ethnicity.
Centuries ago Pathein was known as Cosmin. Ralph Fitch , the first recorded British traveler who visited Myanmar between 1586 and 1588 called it Cosmin. Some authorities argued this word “ Cosmin “ was a corruption of two Mon words “ Kaw “ and “ thamein “. The word “ Kaw “signifies an island and “ thamein “ as a prince.
The origin of the Delta town of Bassein has much to do with the growth of Portuguese imperialism. The Starting point was 1498 , the year Vasco Da Gama discovered the sea route to the East. From then on Portuguese shops began to enter the Pacific Ocean through the straits of Malacca. Within a short time , Portugal became an imperial power. This was the beginning of the encounter between Europe and Asia.
The area are full of rice fields with crops such as sesames , groundnuts , maize , tobacco & chilies. Parasol production is synonymous with Pathein.

Thanlyin and Kyauktan

Thanlyin , formerly known as Syriam , is situated at the confluence of the Yangon and Bago Rivers & it’s on the southern bank of Bago River. It’s one of major port cities in Myanmar.
Thanlyin first came to prominence in the 15th century as the main port city of the Hanthawaddy Kingdom , replacing a silted up Bago port. In 1539, the city became part of the Kingdom of Taunggoo. In 1599, the city fell to the Rakhine forces led by the Portuguese mercenary Filipe de Brito e Nicote , who was made governor of the city. De Brito declared independence from his nominal Rakhine masters in 1603, defeated the invading Rakhine navy in 1604 and 1605, and successfully established Portuguese rule over Syriam or Sirião -as it was called back then- under the Portuguese viceroy of Goa. In 1613, Burmese king Anauk Petlun recaptured the city, and executed Brito by impalement , a punishment reserved for defilers of Buddhist temples.
Main highlights in Thanlyin and around are Thanlyin Kyiak Kauk Pagoda and Yele Kyauktan Pagoda that is located at middle part of river.
Visiting to Dala that is a small town located at the opposite site of Yangon and the south of Yangon River is worthwhile trip.

Mawlamyine

Mawlamyine is the capital city of Mon State & it’s fourth largest city of Myanmar with the population of 289,388 in 2014. It’s situated 300 Km far from Yangon , former capital city of Myanmar. It’s the main trading center and seaport in South-eastern Myanmar.
It is said to derive from Mot-Mua-Lum, meaning "one eye destroyed". According to legend, a Mon king had a powerful third eye in the centre of his forehead, able to see what was happening in neighbouring kingdoms. The daughter of one of the neighbouring kings was given in marriage to the three-eyed king and managed to destroy the third eye. The Burmese name "Mawlamyine" is believed to be a corruption of the Mon name.
Mawlamyine is first capital of British Burma in 1824. The town's signature landmark is Kyaikthanlan pagoda built in 875 AD and thought to be the site from where Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous poem, 'The Road to Mandalay'.
The Thanlwin bridge, the longest road and railway bridge in Myanmar is the most prominent landmark in the area. It stretches a distance of 11,000 feet over the Thanlwin River connecting the country's south eastern region with Yangon.
Mawlamyine is generally considered to be off the main tourist trail for most travellers to Myanmar but the town does have a charm of its own with its rich history, buildings with colonial style architecture, World War II era wooden buses, and its close proximity to the infamous Siam-Burma "death railway", making it a fascinating place to visit!

Hpa An

Hpa An is the capital of Kayin State ( Karen State ) in Myanmar & It’s 289 Km far from Yangon , former capital city of Myanmar & it takes about 5 hours drive from Yangon. Hpa An is the eastern bank of Thanlyin River that is one of four major rivers in Myanmar. The population of Hpa An is 421,525 in 2014 census. Most people resides in Hpa An are Karen ethnic group ( Karen , Kayin , Kariang or Yang ) , Mon & Burmar.
the people are friendly and the city is the logical base from which to explore the Buddhist caves, sacred mountains and rivers and lakes of the surrounding countryside with Karen typical villages and rice fields. It is opened its door to the foreigners in 2005 which becomes the new travel destinations of the east. It is notable to reach there by road from Yangon crossing over the Thanlwin River Bridge.
Tourist interested sites in Hpa An are Morning Market , Myo Mya Zay Gyi , Sadan Cave , Kyauk Ka lat Pagoda , Mt.Zwegabin , Kawgun Cave , Bayin Nyi Naung Cave , Yathaypyan Cave , Shwe Yin Myaw Pagoda & Kyone Htaw Waterfall.
Overnight at Hpa An & Exploring around city and several caves are worth to do when you are in Myanmar.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda ( Golden Rock )

The Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, today also known as the Golden Rock is located on top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo at 3615 feet (1102 meters) above sea level, in the Mon State and approximately 130 miles (210 km) from the city of Yangon. The pagoda is located nearby Kyaikhto town in Mon State.
The Pagoda was built more than 2500 years ago. Legend has it that the Pagoda was built on a Hair relic that was given to a hermit by Buddha Himself. The hermit treasured the sacred Hair in his hair knot until he found a boulder resembling his own head on which he could build a pagoda to enshrine it.
In the Mon language “Kyaik” means “pagoda” and “Yo” means “to carry on the head” “Ithi” in Pali means “hermit”. Thus the name “Kyaiktiyo” derived from “Kyaik-Thi-Yo” , “ the pagoda carried on a hermit’s head”.
It can also be qualified as one of the wonders of the world by virtue of the fact that it sits uniquely at the apex of a huge, almost egg shaped granitic boulder. This boulder (now completely gilded) is precariously perched on a projecting tabular rock. The gilded boulder and the rock table are two separate pieces, the boulder actually balancing off the extreme verge of the sloping surface of the rock and overhanging it by nearly half its length.
It is now well known as Miracle Golden Rock, which is the biggest pilgrimage site in Myanmar. An endless stream of pilgrims comes annually to admire the sight and to pay homage, and to apply gold leaves on its surface. The Golden Rock is a truly extraordinary natural feature visited by more than 1 million pilgrims the whole year round.

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