Yangon Rangoon & things to do

Yangon Rangoon & things to do.

Rangoon is the largest urban area in Myanmar (Burma) with over 4 million inhabitants and a great landmark the Shwedagon pagoda. 

Visiting Myanmar usually starts here because of the airport and the harbor. There are plenty of other attraction in this truly old-fashioned Asian metropolis where the visitor can feel colonial times almost at every second corner. 

Yangon Rangoon Myanmar

This could be a great place but actually, there are mega-problems such as the daily electricity cuts etc. most time there is no power at all if the relevant house doesn't have their own generator.

Myanmar Nightlife    Bogyoke Market    Shwedagon Pagoda    Old City Center    Anawrahta Street    Maha Bandola Street    Yangon Harbor    Street Food    Yangon Chinatown    Yangon to Bagan

Now (2017) the problem is a bit less since they installed a huge new generator from General Electric in 2016 at the harbor area. 

Yangon Traffic

Yangon Shopping

Yangon Exotic Shopping

Yangon Rangoon history and the past

Yangon City was, in fact, an appendage of the Shwedagon Pagoda,
and it continued to preserve this character with varying fortunes till the growth across the water of Syriam, thronged with the ships of European adventurers, brought it political importance. The final phase in the struggle of the Burmese and the Mon or Talaing races was now approaching. At last in A.D. 1763. Alompra, having annihilated Pegu - Bago, signalized his conquest by raising the Shwedagon Pagoda to a height greater than that of the rival Mon fane at Pegu or Bago, and bestowed upon the city at its foot the name of Yan-koon, the City of Victory. 

Yangon was made the seat of a viceroy and considerable traffic passed through its gates, yet it had not really made any beginning towards greatness. The accounts of travelers at this period vary concerning it. Some, like Colonel Symes, the British Ambassador who visited Burma a hundred and twenty-five years ago, give it a character of importance; others, like the officers who accompanied the British colonial army to Burma in 1825, find little to say in its favor. In Symes' day Yangon lay upon the river shore and was a mile long and a third of a mile wide.

Yangon Photos

The inner citadel of Rangoon Yangon was surrounded by an indifferent stockade, the streets were well paved but inferior to those of Pegu or Bago. All the officers of Government, the most opulent merchants, and persons of consideration lived within the stockade. Yangon had three wharves, and close to one of these there were " two commodious wooden houses, used by the merchants as an exchange, where they usually meet in the cool of the morning and evening to converse and transact business."

" We had been so accustomed," wrote Major Snodgrass some thirty years later, " to hear Yangon - Rangoon Myanmar spoken of as a place of great trade and commercial
importance, that we could not fail to feel disappointed at its mean and poor appearance. We had talked of its Yangon Custom House, its Yangon dockyards, and Yangon harbor, until our imaginations led us to anticipate, if not splendor, at least some visible sign of a flourishing commercial city; but however humble our expecta­tions might have been, they must still have fallen short of the miserable and desolate picture which Yangon presented when first occupied by the British troops.

Yangon outside the inner city still is a vast assembly of wooden huts may be dignified with that name, is surrounded by a wooden stockade, from sixteen to eighteen feet in height, which effectually shuts out all view of the fine river which runs past it and gives it a confined and insalubrious appearance.

Canoes and sampans were the only craft found in this great commercial mart of India beyond the Ganges."

Thus the indignant soldier. Greatness had evidently not yet come to Rangoon - Yangon. From contemporary accounts of the town some eighty years ago the following particulars are taken.

The Yangon or Rangoon stockade covered an area of seventy-five acres and lay roughly between the Sule Pagoda and the Strand on one side, and 'Mogul Street and Ezekiel Street on the other. The Yangon Custom House lay on the river's edge outside the stockade. Within, there were two principal thoroughfares, one named the Kaladan, along which  Armenians, Moguls, Parsis, Hindus, Jews, a few Chinese, and other foreigners lived in the main street of Yangon city, running east and west, past the " palace " of the viceroy.

The European community of that time in Yangon or Rangoon consisted of ten persons.

Two of whom Mr. Crisp & Trill, had their place of business near where Balthazar's Buildings now stand, upon some of the most valuable lands in Rangoon Yangon. Where 36th and Merchant Streets of Yangon now meet, stood the British Residency, once occupied by Colonel Burney.

Outside the Rangoon Yangon stockade stood the house of Manook Sarkies, an Armenian resident; and in its neighborhood, opposite the present site of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company's office, was the yard in which he built a three hundred ton chip. The Yangon stockade was surrounded by a ditch, and a tidal stream ran up Latter Street. Shafraz Road remained till much later a canal. Buffaloes wallowed in the marshes beyond Ezekiel Street ; gardens spread east of the Sule Pagoda; Puzundaung was a small village of boatmen; and jack and pineapple orchards like those of Kemendine spread where now the jail, the lunatic asylum of Yangon or Rangoon, and St. John's College discharge their several functions. On worship days the Viceroy usually went to the pagoda, leaving the stockade to be ruled by his lieutenant.

All fires had to be put out  while he was absent, and failure to comply with this regulation brought upon the offenders the executioners, an outlawed tribe of police, who had a circle tattooed on each cheek and were known as " Spotted Faces."

These people walked the streets of Yangon or Rangoon with hens' feathers in their ears, which they thrust into the ashes, " and if a feather was curled up by the heat, it meant blackmail upon the spot." Any effort to resist such exactions only led to worse ones at the hands of the town ': Each officer of note kept stocks in his yard, into which people were incontinently thrust on the most frivolous grounds.

The Rev. C. Bennet, to whose notes I am indebted, paints a quaint picture of stern parents and surely husbands suddenly put into the stocks at the private instigation of their frivolous wives and unofficial children.

- In 1841 the stockade of Yangon was removed a mile or more inland from the Irrawaddy river.

Eleven years later it was carried at the point of the bayonet by the British troops. Traces of its earth­works may still be seen crossing the Prome – Pyi road, where the Rangoon - Yangon golfer pursues his dusty vocation.

Rangoon or Yangon Myanmar was now incorporated in the British Empire and definitely launched upon that career of prosperity which, in half a century, has lifted Yangon to a city of a quarter of a million people and the position of the third seaport in the Indian Empire. Life moves in its streets and waterways; prosperity, unbroken yet by any adverse fortune, smiles upon it; high hopes are entertained by all its citizens of a near future of still greater and almost boundless fortune; hopes that are being steadily realized. Every time that one who knows it returns to it, after a lapse of even a year or two, he is struck with Yangon growth in the interval, with its new buildings, its new streets, its new institutions and its new pride.

Rangoon's - Yangon most cosmopolitan thoroughfare is Mogul Street, which begins with the funnel of an ocean steamer, rises to the white minarets of a mosque, and ends under the wooden eaves of a Native Christian chapel. A Chettis' hall, with wooden columns of a design that was probably invented in Southern India twenty centuries ago, faces the white temple of Islam, and the voice of the green-turbaned muezzin as he calls the Faithful to prayer, is overborne by the clatter and chink of money and the brawling of that loud Chetti.

The main oriental bazaar in Yangon or Rangoon is the 
Bogyoke Market, named after the father of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi.Over the way, in an adjoining Yangon street, the Hindu clangs his bell and blows his conch before the altars of Shiv, in defiance of his Muslim neighbor.

His Muslim neighbor retorts by sacrificing the sacred cow and spilling her blood before the very eyes of those who worship her as a god. Gentle amenities of this kind, fomented by turbulent Afghans with the blue turban and by Hindu millionaires, whose care it is to establish an alibi by retreating at the crisis to a safe distance of fifteen hundred miles, arc apt occasionally to end in conflicts of a serious character. 

In 1893 they ended in a Yangon riot which was only quelled after thirty persons had been shot down, some two hundred, mostly mounted policemen, had been wounded, and a regiment of English soldiers had been summoned to overawe the populace. Often, as I drive down this crowded Yangon thorough­fare, past the archways of the mosque, I am reminded of the appearance it presented on that occasion when its steps were slippery with the blood of mullahs and muezzins and chulias pouring out of ragged wounds made by the sniders of the military police. I am reminded of the latent forces of an ancient hate under the new cosmopolitan unity of Rangoon or Yangon Myanmar.

Some quarters of Yangon are a little bit of India. Parallel to it, on the left as one faces the town, are Latter Street and Tsikai Moung Khine Street, with their tributaries, in which the Chinese community musters in force. It is a Yangon or Rangoon community of exclusive people, with an atmosphere and an architecture of its own; a Yangon community of rich merchants with broad views and the feelings and manners of gentlemen.

During British colonial times, the Scots, who stood at the top of the Yangon or Rangoon commercial ladder, readily admit that they would rather do business with the Chinaman than with any other Oriental in Rangoon or Yangon Myanmar. And this is as true of the Yangon carpenter who makes goods of medieval solidity as it is of the leading Chinamen whose houses tower above the wide thoroughfares, an ornament to the city. Several here, as in the Straits Settlements and wherever the British flag is flown, have attained to fortune and honor.

Yet the Chinese of Yangon Myanmar is not quite an angel in disguise; he is a man of many secret vices and one or two pronounced weaknesses. His leading Yangon clubs, modeled ostensibly on the lines of British institutions, cover a good deal of hard gambling ; his secret societies are credited by rumor with some of the attributes of the Camorra ; and most of his gains are made from liquor and opium, for which he takes out a license from the State. More and more local people are retreating into the suburbs. With his philosophic habits, his indolent ways, his love of good things, and his spiritual yearnings, he is no rival to the thrifty Surati, the aboriginal Coringhi, and the strenuous Chinaman. To see him thoroughly at home one must now go as far as Kemendine.

There, under the shade of the great trees, the sculptor of alabaster Buddha plies his chisel, the Yangon City umbrella-maker displays the delicate feeling of the race for beautiful things in the manufacture of yellow and green transparencies of perfect design, the weaver weaves tape for binding palm-leaf manuscripts into texts from the sacred books, the lacquer artist paints and gilds his cabinets for the monastery libraries. There in short one who would see the Burman or Myanmar's at work in his own way, and upon objects meant for Burmese or Myanmar use, must go. There are silver-workers and woodcarvers in Yangon's Godwin Road and other thoroughfares of the city, but they cater almost solely for European tastes.

It is upon the south of Rangoon or Yangon or Yangon Myanmar that the energy of the Municipality has long been concentrated. Enormous areas of land which were little better than buffalo pools half a century ago, and portions of which survived in that capacity to within a year or two ago, have been reclaimed at great expense, to provide for the growth of the city. A resolute belief in its future is one of the best characteristics of Rangoon, and its confidence is likely to be justified. New blocks are being occupied, new streets arc being made, new centers of life are being opened out—parks and gardens and offices—at this southern end of Rangoon, between the Puzundaung and the Hlaing.

There is a fascination in the evident process of growth. Every year there is somewhat added, and in ten years there is an absolute transformation. Every time that I come back to Rangoon or Yangon I walk out to look at the new town, the new houses, the newly metalled roads, running between the wide unoccupied spaces of newly reclaimed land. Thinking of Yangon - Rangoon I feel that the interest of it lies much more in the future than in the present or the past. If it were not already very proud of its achievements it might adopt as its civic motto the phrase that Cicero applied to youth -" Non res sed sees est." It has no golden Myanmar to speak of ; no buried past. Here is no " rose-red city, half as old as time " ; but it is full of life and color, a kaleidoscope of races, with a growing character of its own and the joyous atmosphere of youth.

At the center east at Yangon City is the royal lake,

and beautiful parks. There is no city in the East with a finer playground, and in time, when the Victoria lakes which provide Yangon - Rangoon Myanmar with its drinking-water are added to the total of finished beauty, they will become famous.

Yet Yangon or Rangoon new buildings at least should teach it humility. For a wave of terrible architecture has for sonic years been passing over the devoted Yangon city, and cathedrals, town halls, and Yangon public offices have been growing up which are a torment to the eye. Happily it is not all new. It is served by an immemorial river upon whose bosom a great life pulses ; it is dominated by an edifice whose stateliness and beauty are unsurpassed in Burma, one might almost say in the world ; and in its streets fifty races gather to give it picturesque ness. Unlike most Eastern cities, Yangon  is devoid of mystery. Rangoon's streets lie open to the eye, its life moves much upon the surface. Superficial visitors are apt to pass Yangon by as of little interest. Yet there is much in Yangon that will " repay investigation."