Yangon and Shwedagon Paya
It took me some time but I LOVED Yangon. I liked its good vibe, its multiculturalism, its tea houses its modern Myanmar business life vs traditional Burma . . . Yangon has interesting colonial architecture as well, after all it was the capital of British Burma. I started my tour from the top of 100 metres high Sakura Tower, with excellent views over inner Yangon and its river.
Then I went downtown to Sule Paya, a 2000 year old temple standing in the middle of the chaotic circulation. Around this paya, there are some interesting colonial buildings. By the river it is nice to stop at Strand Hotel, a stylish hotel 100% colonial and its lobby and bar still recall those past times.
At lunch time I had some snacks in one of the tea houses downtown, a great place to meet locals and talk about everything (except politics) while sipping a cup of green tea.
After killing time with some minor temples, I took a taxi to Shwedagon Paya. This 2000 years old building and 99 high is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese and the heart and soul of the country. The pagoda is surrounded by a potpourri of minor temples, Buddhas in all possible positions and shrines, everything covered with gold.
There is a special atmosphere at Shwedagon, this is a place to spend hours and hours, taking pictures or just for people watching, everybody seems to find his corner for a little prayer.
Other people prefer to take care of the sacred images looking for blessing or protection.
At dusk people start lighting candles. Candles are always important in all religions.
Shewadon pagoda is best visited in the afternoon and at night.
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