Yangon, the commercial capital city of Myanmar, is so evergreen and cool with lush tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakes it has earned the name of “The Garden City of the East”. Though with the atmosphere of a typical Asian city, It stands out in contrast as it is not yet overwhelmed with the global trends of modernity and is making its own progress at its own pace, in its own calm, civic culture. Being the main entrance to the country and principle seaport, it is the hub of business activities of government offices as well as nongovernmental organizations.
It also serves as the centre for higher learning as it abounds with educational institutions. The city represents a mixture of diverse communities and cultures, with respect to people, religion, business, and settlement. Yangon was founded by King Alaungpaya on the site of a small town called Dagon when he conquered lower Myanmar in 1755. He changed its name to Yangon, which means “End of Strife”, but was anglicized as Rangoon by the British when they annexed Myanmar in 1885. The present day Yangon covers an area of 350 sq. km with a population of over 5 million.
Myanmar is known as the golden land for the thousands of pagoda spires covered in real gold that one could see even on remote hilltops. The Kyaikhtiyo or Golden Rock pagoda have been built and it seems a veritable miracle, a huge boulder balanced on the very edge of a steep cliff standing 1100 metres above sea level. On this boulder is a glittering 25ft spire with an elaborately fashioned ‘ Hti ‘ or umbrella tip. This Kyaikhtiyo or Golden Rock pagoda is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Myanmar for the Buddhist, after the Shwedagon Pagoda of Yangon and the Maha Muni Pagoda of Mandalay.
Only 45 minutes drive from Yangon across the Bago River, Thanlyin was a major port from the 14th century, until it was displaced by Yangon in 1755, and was briefly controlled by the Portuguese adventurer de Brito at the beginning of the 17th century. The old buildings still stand in evidence of the days of Portuguese occupation. Kyaik-Khauk Pagoda in Thanlyin and Kyauktan Pagoda in the creek are the places of interest.
Pho Kyar Elephants Camp
Pho Kyar Elephants camp is located in the foothills of the Bago Yoma mountain range and lies within the tropical reserve forest. It is about 16 kilometers from the town of Thargaya on Yangon- Mandalay highway and 330 kilometers from Yangon and 389 kilometers from Mandalay. The place has emerged as an ideal ecotourism spot and enjoys a spectacular location, surrounded by a zigzagging stream and full of the fragrance of wild orchids and seasonal flowers. The stream supplies an abundance of water for local residents and also provides a bathing place for elephants. This trip provides the opportunity to visit an elephant Village, where you can see the skillful manner in which the mahoot (elephant handler) communicates with his elephant.