|The Shewedagon Pagoda|
Yesterday the New Zealand Herald published part one of my three-part series of travel articles on Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). Thanks to Intrepid Travel, Flight Centre and Student Flights, I had a 15 day Intrepid tour of what is really the last undiscovered country in South East Asia.
The tour began and ended in the motorbike-free former capital of Yangon and it is this city of five million people that this first article is about. Find out why the bikes were banned, plus how religious architecture plays such a defining role in the city’s landscape.
Beneath are two paragraphs from the article and if you click here you can read the full version on the Herald website:
Rooftop views of central Yangon reveal some of the most densely populated streets in South East Asia, but amidst the clutter is indefatigable greenery, a smattering of newer skyscrapers, some of the best British colonial architecture in the world (albeit crumbling through neglect and the reproaching jungle) as well as the spires of churches, mosques and temples. And it is religious architecture that perhaps defines Yangon the most.
In particular is the still skyline-dominating 2600 year-old Shewedagon Pagoda which sits on top of a hill just north of the CBD and rises to a height of 99 metres. Regarded by some as the most impressive religious structure to be found within any of South East Asia’s biggest cities, it’s best viewed at sunset when floodlights make the gold-plated pagoda glow brightly against the sky.
Myanmar was just the holiday I wanted. It was an adventure in a country so different to any I’d been before. Keep reading for part two in the series which is all about Bagan – a plain of more than 2000, 1000-year-old temples, and part three which explains why Inle Lake’s floating markets, floating resorts, floating gardens and floating villages made it my favourite place in the country. In the meantime, enjoy these 30 favourite photos: