The garden city of the east
Myanmar—more than any other Asian country—is in the midst of a massive transformation, and at the center is the former capital Yangon. A former British colonial capital, the streets of Yangon are lined with colonial period buildings. But the most impressive piece of architecture is hands down the Shwedagon Pagoda. The great gilded dome and turrets rise above the city like a crown, hovering protectively over every nook and cranny. Join the thousands of Buddhist pilgrims and curious tourists that flock to this impressive structure every day to admire its artistry up close.
To truly get a glimpse of the city, hop on the Circular Train. For less than $5 and three hours of your time, you can get a fascinating glimpse into daily life around Yangon. You’ll travel through urban neighborhoods and rural villages while locals go about their routines. Just beware of the bright-red stains on the sidewalk, especially if you choose to adapt to the local tradition of going barefoot. It’s the byproduct of another local tradition—chewing betel nut—which produces a bright red juice that folks spit on the sidewalk as they go about their day.