Yangon (Burmese: ရန်ကုန်မြို့, MLCTS rankun
mrui, pronounced [jàɴɡòʊɴ mjo̰]; formerly known as
Rangoon, literally: "End of Strife") is the capital of the Yangon
Region of Myanmar, also known as Burma.
Yangon served as the capital
Myanmar until 2006, when the military government relocated the
capital to the purpose-built city of
Naypyidaw in central Myanmar.
With over 7 million people,
Yangon is Myanmar's largest city and its
most important commercial centre.
Yangon boasts the largest number of colonial-era buildings in
Southeast Asia, and has a unique colonial-era urban core that is
remarkably intact. The colonial-era commercial core is centred
around the Sule Pagoda, which is reputed to be over 2,000 years
old. The city is also home to the gilded
Shwedagon Pagoda –
Myanmar's most sacred Buddhist pagoda. The mausoleum of the last
Mughal Emperor is located in Yangon, where he had been exiled
following the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
Yangon suffers from deeply inadequate infrastructure, especially
compared to other major cities in Southeast Asia. Though many historic
residential and commercial buildings have been renovated throughout
central Yangon, most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be
profoundly impoverished and lack basic infrastructure.
2.1 Early history
2.2 Colonial Rangoon
2.3 Contemporary Yangon
4.2 Road layout
4.3 Parks and gardens
6.3 Buses and cars
10 Health care
11 Notable sites
11.3 Museums and art galleries
11.4 Concert halls and theatres
12 International relations
12.1 Twin towns – sister cities
15 External links
The name "Yangon" (ရန်ကုန်) is derived from the
combination of the Burmese words yan (ရန်) and koun
(ကုန်), which mean "enemies" and "run out of", respectively.
This word combination is commonly translated as "End of Strife".
The city's colonial era name, "Rangoon", likely is derived from the
Anglicization of the Arakanese pronunciation of "Yangon",[citation
needed] which is [rɔ̀ɴɡʊ́ɴ].
Timeline of Yangon
Timeline of Yangon and List of name changes in Yangon
Yangon was founded as Dagon in the early 11th century
(c. 1028–1043) by the Mon, who dominated
Lower Burma at that
time. Dagon was a small fishing village centred about the Shwedagon
Pagoda. In 1755, King
Alaungpaya conquered Dagon, renamed it "Yangon",
and added settlements around Dagon. The British captured
First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–26), but returned it to Burmese
administration after the war. The city was destroyed by a fire in
Rangoon and Environ map, 1911
A view of the Cantonment Gardens (now Kandaw Minglar Garden) in 1868.
Damage of central Rangoon in the aftermath of World War II.
The British seized
Yangon and all of
Lower Burma in the Second
Anglo-Burmese War of 1852, and subsequently transformed
the commercial and political hub of British Burma. In 1853, the
British moved the capital of Burma from Moulmein (present-day
Mawlamyine) to Yangon.
Yangon is also the place where the
British sent Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor, to live after
the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Based on the design by army engineer Lt.
Alexander Fraser, the British constructed a new city on a grid plan on
delta land, bounded to the east by the
Pazundaung Creek and to the
south and west by the
Yangon became the capital of all
British-ruled Burma after the British had captured
Upper Burma in the
Third Anglo-Burmese War
Third Anglo-Burmese War of 1885. By the 1890s Yangon's increasing
population and commerce gave birth to prosperous residential suburbs
to the north of Royal Lake (Kandawgyi) and Inya Lake. The British
also established hospitals including Rangoon General Hospital and
colleges including Rangoon University.
Colonial Yangon, with its spacious parks and lakes and mix of modern
buildings and traditional wooden architecture, was known as "the
garden city of the East." By the early 20th century,
public services and infrastructure on par with London.
Before World War II, about 55% of Yangon's population of 500,000 was
Indian or South Asian, and only about a third was
Karens, the Chinese, the
Anglo-Burmese and others made up the rest.
After World War I,
Yangon became the epicentre of Burmese independence
movement, with leftist Rangoon University students leading the way.
Three nationwide strikes against the
British Empire in 1920, 1936 and
1938 all began in Yangon.
Yangon was under Japanese occupation
(1942–45), and incurred heavy damage during World War II. The city
was retaken by the Allies in May 1945.
Yangon became the capital of the Union of Burma on 4 January 1948 when
the country regained independence from the British Empire.
Soon after Burma's independence in 1948, many colonial names of
streets and parks were changed to more nationalistic Burmese names. In
1989, the current military junta changed the city's English name to
"Yangon", along with many other changes in English transliteration of
Burmese names. (The changes have not been accepted by many Burmese who
consider the junta unfit to make such changes, nor by many
publications, news bureaus including, most notably, the
foreign nations including the United Kingdom and United
Yangon has expanded outwards. Successive
governments have built satellite towns such as Thaketa, North Okkalapa
and South Okkalapa in the 1950s to Hlaingthaya, Shwepyitha and South
Dagon in the 1980s. Today, Greater
Yangon encompasses an area
covering nearly 600 square kilometres (230 sq mi).
During Ne Win's isolationist rule (1962–88), Yangon's infrastructure
deteriorated through poor maintenance and did not keep up with its
increasing population. In the 1990s, the current military government's
more open market policies attracted domestic and foreign investment,
bringing a modicum of modernity to the city's infrastructure. Some
inner city residents were forcibly relocated to new satellite towns.
Many colonial-period buildings were demolished to make way for
high-rise hotels, office buildings, and shopping malls, leading
the city government to place about 200 notable colonial-period
buildings under the
Yangon City Heritage List
Yangon City Heritage List in 1996. Major
building programs have resulted in six new bridges and five new
highways linking the city to its industrial back country.
Still, much of
Yangon remains without basic municipal services such as
24-hour electricity and regular garbage collection.
Yangon has become much more indigenous Burmese in its ethnic make-up
since independence. After independence, many South Asians and
Anglo-Burmese left. Many more South Asians were forced to leave during
the 1960s by Ne Win's xenophobic government. Nevertheless,
South Asian and Chinese communities still exist in Yangon.
Anglo-Burmese have effectively disappeared, having left the
country or intermarried with other Burmese groups.
Yangon was the centre of major anti-government protests in 1974, 1988
and 2007. The 1988 People Power uprising resulted in the deaths of
hundreds, if not thousands of Burmese civilians, many in Yangoon where
hundreds of thousands of people flooded into the streets of the then
capital city. The
Saffron Revolution saw mass shootings and the use of
crematoria in Yangoon by the Burmese government to erase evidence of
their crimes against monks, unarmed protesters, journalists and
The city's streets saw bloodshed each time as protesters were gunned
down by the government.
In May 2008,
Cyclone Nargis hit Yangon. While the city had few human
casualties, three-quarters of Yangon's industrial infrastructure was
destroyed or damaged, with losses estimated at
In November 2005, the military government designated Naypyidaw, 320
kilometres (199 mi) north of Yangon, as the new administrative
capital, and subsequently moved much of the government to the newly
developed city. At any rate,
Yangon remains the largest city, and the
most important commercial centre of Myanmar.
Yangon metropolitan area
Yangon is located in
Lower Burma (Myanmar) at the convergence of the
Yangon and Bago Rivers about 30 km(19 mi) away from the Gulf
of Martaban at 16°48' North, 96°09' East (16.8, 96.15). Its standard
time zone is UTC/GMT +6:30 hours.
Yangon has a tropical monsoon climate under the Köppen climate
classification system. The city features a lengthy wet season from
May through October where a substantial amount of rainfall is
received; and a dry season from November through April, where little
rainfall is seen. It is primarily due to the heavy rainfall received
during the rainy season that
Yangon falls under the tropical monsoon
climate category. During the course of the year 1961 to 1990s, average
temperatures show little variance, with average highs ranging from 29
to 36 °C (84 to 97 °F) and average lows ranging from 18 to
25 °C (64 to 77 °F).
Climate data for
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Average rainy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization, Sistema de
Clasificación Bioclimática Mundial (extremes)
Danish Meteorological Institute (sun and relative
Map of Yangon
Until the mid-1990s,
Yangon remained largely constrained to its
traditional peninsula setting between the Bago,
Yangon and Hlaing
Rivers. People moved in, but little of the city moved out. Maps from
1944 show little development north of
Inya Lake and areas that are now
layered in cement and stacked with houses were then virtual
backwaters. Since the late 1980s, however, the city began a rapid
spread north to where
Yangon International Airport
Yangon International Airport now stands. But the
result is a stretching tail on the city, with the downtown area well
removed from its geographic centre. The city's area has steadily
increased from 72.52 square kilometres (28.00 sq mi) in 1901
to 86.2 square kilometres (33.3 sq mi) in 1940 to 208.51
square kilometres (80.51 sq mi) in 1974, to 346.13 square
kilometres (133.64 sq mi) in 1985, and to 598.75 square
kilometres (231.18 sq mi) in 2008.
A colonial-era building
Downtown Yangon is known for its leafy avenues and fin-de-siècle
architecture. The former British colonial capital has the highest
number of colonial period buildings in south-east Asia. Downtown
Yangon is still mainly made up of decaying colonial buildings. The
former High Court, the former Secretariat buildings, the former St.
Paul's English High School and the
Strand Hotel are excellent examples
of the bygone era. Most downtown buildings from this era are
four-story mix-use (residential and commercial) buildings with 14-foot
(4.3 m) ceilings, allowing for the construction of mezzanines.
Despite their less-than-perfect conditions, the buildings remain
highly sought after and most expensive in the city's property
In 1996, the
Yangon City Development Committee
Yangon City Development Committee created a
Heritage List of old buildings and structures in the city that cannot
be modified or torn down without approval. In 2012, the city of
Yangon imposed a 50-year moratorium on demolition of buildings older
than 50 years. The
Yangon Heritage Trust, an NGO started by Thant
Myint-U, aims to create heritage areas in Downtown, and attract
investors to renovate buildings for commercial use.
City centre around Sule
A latter day hallmark of
Yangon is the eight-story apartment building.
Yangon parlance, a building with no elevators (lifts) is called an
apartment building and one with elevators is called a condominium.
Condos which have to invest in a local power generator to ensure
24-hour electricity for the elevators are beyond the reach of most
Yangonites.) Found throughout the city in various forms, eight-story
apartment buildings provide relatively inexpensive housing for many
Yangonites. The apartments are usually eight stories high (including
the ground floor) mainly because city regulations, until February
2008, required that all buildings higher than 75 feet (23 m) or
eight stories to install lifts. The current code calls for
elevators in buildings higher than 62 feet (19 m) or six stories,
likely ushering in the era of the six-story apartment building.
Although most apartment buildings were built only within the last 20
years, they look much older and rundown due to shoddy construction and
lack of proper maintenance.
An apartment building in the city centre
Unlike other major Asian cities,
Yangon does not have any skyscrapers.
Aside from a few high-rise hotels and office towers, most high-rise
buildings (usually 10 stories and up) are "condos" scattered across
prosperous neighbourhoods north of downtown such as Bahan, Dagon,
Kamayut and Mayangon. The tallest building in Yangon, Pyay Gardens, is
a 25-story condo in the city's north.
Older satellite towns such as Thaketa, North Okkalapa and South
Okkalapa are lined mostly with one to two-story detached houses with
access to the city's electricity grid. Newer satellite towns such as
North Dagon and South Dagon are still essentially slums in a grid
layout. The satellite towns—old or new—receive little or no
Downtown Yangon at night
Sule Pagoda and City Hall
Downtown Yangon's road layout follows a grid pattern, based on four
types of roads:
Broad 49-m wide roads running west to east
Broad 30-m wide roads running south to north
Two narrow 9.1-m wide streets running south to north
Mid-size 15-m wide streets running south to north
The east-west grid of central was laid out by British military
engineers Fraser and Montgomerie after the Second Anglo-Burmese
War. The city was later developed by the Public Works Department
and Bengal Corps of Engineers. The pattern of south to north roads is
as follows: one broad 100-foot (30 m) wide broad road, two narrow
streets, one mid-size street, two more narrow streets, and then
another 100-foot (30 m) wide broad road. This order is repeated
from west to east. The narrow streets are numbered; the medium and
broad roads are named.
For example, the 100-foot (30 m) Lanmadaw Road is followed by
30-foot (9.1 m)-wide 17th and 18th streets then the medium
50-foot (15 m) Sint-Oh-Dan Road, the 30-foot 19th and 20th
streets, followed by another 100-foot (30 m) wide Latha Road,
followed again by the two numbered small roads 21st and 22nd streets,
and so on.
The roads running parallel west to east were the Strand Road, Merchant
Road, Maha Bandula (née Dalhousie) Road, Anawrahta (Fraser) Road, and
Bogyoke Aung San (Montgomerie) Road.
Kandawgyi Lake, a popular park near downtown Yangon
Parks and gardens
The largest and best maintained parks in
Yangon are located around
Shwedagon Pagoda. To the south-east of the gilded stupa is the most
popular recreational area in the city – Kandawgyi Lake. The 150-acre
(61-ha) lake is surrounded by the 110-acre (45-ha) Kandawgyi Nature
Park, and the 69.25-acre (28-ha)
Yangon Zoological Gardens, which
consists of a zoo, an aquarium and an amusement park. West of the
pagoda towards the former Hluttaw (Parliament) complex is the 130-acre
(53-ha) People's Square and Park, (the former parading ground on
important national days when
Yangon was the capital.) A few miles
north of the pagoda lies the 37-acre (15-ha)
Inya Lake Park – a
favourite hangout place of
Yangon University students, and a
well-known place of romance in Burmese popular culture.
Hlawga National Park
Hlawga National Park and Allied War Memorial at the outskirts of the
city are popular day-trip destinations with the well-to-do and
Yangon City Hall
Yangon is administered by the
Yangon City Development Committee
(YCDC). YCDC also coordinates urban planning. The city is divided
into four districts. The districts combined have a total of 33
townships. The current mayor of
Yangon is Maung Maung Soe. Each
township is administered by a committee of township leaders, who make
decisions regarding city beautification and infrastructure. Myo-thit
(lit. "New Towns", or satellite towns) are not within such
Yangon Administrative Districts
Western District (Downtown)
Yangon is a member of Asian Network of Major Cities 21.
Yangon is Burma's main domestic and international hub for air, rail,
and ground transportation.
Yangon International Airport
Yangon International Airport, located 12 miles (19 km) from
the centre, is the country's main gateway for domestic and
international air travel. The airport has three terminals, known as
T1, T2 and T3 which is also known as Domestic. It has direct flights
to regional cities in Asia, mainly: Doha, Dubai, Dhaka, Kolkata,
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Phnom Penh, Seoul,
Guangzhou, Taipei, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur,
Kunming and Singapore.
Although domestic airlines offer service to about twenty domestic
locations, most flights are to tourist destinations such as Bagan,
Heho and Ngapali, and to the capital Naypyidaw.
Yangon Central Railway Station
Yangon Central Railway Station
Yangon Central Railway Station is the main terminus of Myanmar
Railways' 5,403-kilometre (3,357 mi) rail network whose reach
Myanmar (Naypyidaw, Mandalay, Shwebo), upcountry
(Myitkyina), Shan hills (Taunggyi, Lashio) and the Taninthayi coast
Yangon Circular Railway
Yangon Circular Railway operates a 45.9-kilometre (28.5 mi)
39-station commuter rail network that connects Yangon's satellite
towns. The system is heavily used by the local populace, selling about
150,000 tickets daily. The popularity of the commuter line has
jumped since the government reduced petrol subsidies in August
Buses and cars
Yangon has a 4,456-kilometre (2,769 mi) road network of all types
(tar, concrete and dirt) in March 2011. Many of the roads are in poor
condition and not wide enough to accommodate an increasing number of
cars. The vast majority of
Yangon residents cannot afford a car
and rely on an extensive network of buses to get around. Over 300
public and private bus lines operate about 6,300 crowded buses around
the city, carrying over 4.4 million passengers a day. All
buses and 80% of the taxis in
Yangon run on compressed natural gas
(CNG), following the 2005 government decree to save money on imported
petroleum. Highway buses to other cities depart from Dagon Ayeyar
Highway Bus Terminal for
Irrawaddy delta region and Aung Mingala
Highway Bus Terminal for other parts of the country.
On 16 January 2017, city bus network system
Yangon Bus Service
Yangon Bus Service was
A right hand drive bus originally from a left-hand traffic
jurisdiction modified for right-hand traffic (Left hand-drive) on
Motor transportation in
Yangon is highly expensive for most of its
citizens. As the government allows only a few thousand cars to be
imported each year in a country with over 50 million people, car
Yangon (and in Burma) are among the highest in the
world. In July 2008, the two most popular cars in
Yangon, 1986/87 Nissan Sunny Super Saloon and 1988 Toyota Corolla SE
Limited, cost the equivalent of about US$20,000 and US$29,000
respectively. A sports utility vehicle, imported for the
equivalent of around US$50,000, goes for US$250,000. Illegally
imported unregistered cars are cheaper – typically about half the
price of registered cars. Nonetheless, car usage in
Yangon is on the
rise, a sign of rising incomes for some, and already causes much
traffic congestion in highway-less Yangon's streets. In 2011, Yangon
had about 300,000 registered motor vehicles in addition to an unknown
number of unregistered ones.
Since 1970, cars have been driven on the right side of the road in
Burma, as part of a military decree. However, as the government
has not required left hand drive (LHD) cars to accompany the right
side road rules, many cars on the road are still right hand drive
(RHD) made for driving on the left side. Japanese used cars, which
make up most of the country's imports, still arrive with RHD and are
never converted to LHD. As a result, Burmese drivers have to rely on
their passengers when passing other cars.
A taxi in Yangon
Yangon city limits, it is illegal to drive trishaws, bicycles,
and motorcycles. Since February 2010, pick-up truck bus lines have
been forbidden to run in 6 townships of central Yangon, namely Latha,
Lanmadaw, Pabedan, Kyauktada, Botahtaung and Pazundaung Townships.
In May 2003, a ban on using car horns was implemented in six townships
Downtown Yangon to reduce noise pollution. In April 2004, the
car horn ban was expanded to cover the entire city.
Yangon's four main passenger jetties, all located on or near downtown
waterfront, mainly serve local ferries across the river to Dala and
Thanlyin, and regional ferries to the Irrawaddy delta. The 22-mile
Twante Canal was the quickest route from
Yangon to the
Irrawaddy delta until the 1990s when roads between
Yangon and the
Irrawaddy Division became usable year-round. While passenger ferries
to the delta are still used, those to
Upper Burma via the Irrawaddy
river are now limited mostly to tourist river cruises. In 2017
October, a New
Yangon Water Bus was launched.
A ferry in
Yangon in 2016
Sources: 1846, 1872–1941, 1950–2025
Yangon is the most populous city by far in Burma although estimates of
the size of its population vary widely. All population figures are
estimates since no official census has been conducted in Burma since
1983. A UN estimate puts the population as 4.35 million in
2010 but a 2009 US State Department estimate puts it at
5.5 million. The US State Department's estimate is probably
closer to the real number since the UN number is a straight-line
projection, and does not appear to take the expansion of city limits
in the past two decades into account. The city's population grew
sharply after 1948 as many people (mainly, the indigenous Burmese)
from other parts of the country moved into the newly built satellite
towns of North Okkalapa, South Okkalapa, and Thaketa in the 1950s and
East Dagon, North Dagon and South Dagon in the 1990s. Immigrants have
founded their regional associations (such as
Mawlamyaing Association, etc.) in
Yangon for networking purposes. The
government's decision to move the nation's administrative capital to
Naypyidaw has drained an unknown number of civil servants away from
Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. While
Indians formed the slight majority prior to World War II, today,
the majority of the population is of indigenous
descent. Large communities of Indians/
South Asian Burmese and the
Chinese Burmese exist especially in the traditional downtown
neighbourhoods. A large number of Rakhine and Karen also live in the
Burmese is the principal language of the city. English is by far the
preferred second language of the educated class. In recent years,
however, the prospect of overseas job opportunities has enticed some
to study other languages: Mandarin Chinese is most popular, followed
by Japanese, and French.
The primary religions practised in
Yangon are Buddhism, Christianity,
Hinduism, and Islam.
Shwedagon Pagoda is a famous religious landmark
in the city.
Yangon is the country's hub for the movie, music, advertising,
newspaper and book publishing industries. All media is heavily
regulated by the military government. Television broadcasting is off
limits to the private sector. All media content must first be approved
by the government's media censor board, Press Scrutiny and
Most television channels in the country are broadcast from Yangon. TV
Myawaddy TV are the two main channels, providing
Burmese-language programming in news and entertainment. Other special
interest channels are MWD-1 and MWD-2, MRTV-3, the English-language
channel that targets overseas audiences via satellite and via
MRTV-4 and Channel 7 are with a focus on non-formal
education programs and movies, and Movie 5, a pay-TV channel
specialising in broadcasting foreign movies.
Yangon has three radio stations.
Myanmar Radio National Service is the
national radio service and broadcasts mostly in Burmese (and in
English during specific times.) Pop culture oriented
Yangon City FM
Mandalay City FM radio stations specialise in Burmese and English
pop music, entertainment programs, live celebrity interviews, etc. New
radio channels such as Shwe FM and Pyinsawaddy FM can also be tuned
with the city area.
Nearly all print media and industries are based out of Yangon. All
three national newspapers – two
Burmese language dailies Myanma Alin
(မြန်မာ့အလင်း) and Kyemon
(ကြေးမုံ), and the English language The New Light of
Myanmar – are published by the government. Semi-governmental The
Myanmar Times weekly, published in Burmese and in English, is mainly
geared for Yangon's expatriate community. Over twenty special interest
journals and magazines covering sports, fashion, finance, crime,
literature (but never politics) vie for the readership of the general
Access to foreign media is extremely difficult. Satellite television
in Yangon, and in Burma, is very expensive as the government imposes
an annual registration fee of one million kyats. Certain foreign
newspapers and periodicals such as the International Herald Tribune
Straits Times can be found only in a few (mostly downtown)
bookstores. Internet access in Yangon, which has the best
telecommunication infrastructure in the country, is slow and erratic
at best, and the Burmese government implements one of the world's most
restrictive regimes of Internet control. International text
messaging and voice messaging was permitted only in August 2008.
Common facilities taken for granted elsewhere are luxury prized items
Yangon and Burma. The price of a
GSM mobile phone was about
K1.1 million in August 2008. In 2007, the country of 55
million had only 775,000 phone lines (including 275,000 mobile
phones), and 400,000 computers. Even in Yangon, which has
the best infrastructure, the estimated telephone penetration rate was
only 6% at the end of 2004, and the official waiting time for a
telephone line was 3.6 years. Most people cannot afford a computer
and have to use the city's numerous Internet cafes to access a heavily
restricted Internet, and a heavily censored local intranet.
According to official statistics, in July 2010, the country had over
400,000 Internet users, with the vast majority hailing from just two
Yangon and Mandalay. Although Internet access was available in
42 cities across the country, the number of users outside the two main
cities was just over 10,000.
Karaweik at night time, at Kandawgyi Lake, which is one of a few
major recreational parks in Yangon.
Yangon's property market is the most expensive in the country and
beyond the reach of most Yangonites. Most rent outside the centre and
few can afford to rent such apartments. (In 2008, rents for a typical
650-to-750-square-foot (60 to 70 m2) apartments in the centre and
vicinity range between K70,000 and K150,000 and those for high end
condos between K200,000 and K500,000.)
Street food vendor in Yangon
Most men of all ages (and some women) spend their time at ubiquitous
tea-shops, found in any corner or street of the city. Watching
European football (mostly English
Premier League with occasional La
Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga) matches while sipping tea is a popular
pastime among many Yangonites. The average person stays close to his
or her residential neighbourhood. The well-to-do tend to visit
shopping malls and parks on weekends. Some leave the city on weekends
for Chaungtha and
Ngwesaung beach resorts in Ayeyarwady Division.
Hindu temple procession cart
Yangon is also home to many pagoda festivals (paya pwe), held during
dry-season months (November – March). The most famous of all, the
Shwedagon Pagoda Festival in March, attracts thousands of pilgrims
from around the country.
Yangon's museums are the domain of tourists and rarely visited by the
Most of Yangon's larger hotels offer some kind of nightlife
entertainment, geared towards tourists and the well-to-do Burmese.
Some hotels offer traditional Burmese performing arts shows complete
with a traditional Burmese orchestra. The pub scene in larger hotels
is more or less the same as elsewhere in Asia. Other options include
karaoke bars and pub restaurants in
Due to the problems of high inflation, the lack of high denomination
notes, and the fact that many of the population do not have access to
checks, or credit or debit cards, it is common to see citizens
carrying a considerable amount of cash. (The highest denomination
of Burmese currency kyat is 10 000 (~US$10.)) Credit cards are only
rarely used in the city, chiefly in the more lavish hotels. Credit
cards are also accepted in the major supermarket and convenience store
As the city has the best sporting facilities in the country, most
national-level annual sporting tournaments such as track and field,
football, volleyball, tennis and swimming are held in Yangon. The
Aung San Stadium
Aung San Stadium and the 32,000-seat
Thuwunna Stadium are
the main venues for the highly popular annual State and Division
football tournament. Until April 2009, the now defunct
League, consisted of 16 Yangon-based clubs, played all its matches
Yangon stadiums, and attracted little interest from the general
public or commercial success despite the enormous popularity of
football in Burma. Most Yangonites prefer watching European football
on satellite TV. Teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea,
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City are among
the favourite European teams among the Yangonites. It remains to be
seen whether the
Myanmar National League, the country's first
professional football league, and its Yangon-based club
FC will attract a sufficient following in the country's most important
Yangon is also home to annual the
Myanmar Open golf tournament, and
Myanmar Open tennis tournament. The city hosted the 1961 and 1969
South East Asian Games. During colonial times, cricket was played
mostly by British officials in the city.
First-class cricket was
played in the city in January 1927 when the touring Marylebone Cricket
Club played Burma and the Rangoon Gymkhana. Two grounds were used to
host these matches, the
BAA Ground and the Gymkhana Ground.
These matches mark the only time Burma and Rangoon Gymkhana have
appeared in first-class cricket, and the only time first-class cricket
has been played in Burma. After independence cricket all but died out
in the country.
Yangon has a growing population of skateboarders, as documented in the
films Altered Focus: Burma and Youth of Yangon. German non-profit
Make Life Skate Life has received permission from the
Yangon City Development Committee
Yangon City Development Committee to construct a concrete skatepark at
Thakin Mya park in downtown, and plans to complete the park in
Cargo ships on the shores of
Yangon River, just offshore of Downtown
A street market in
Downtown Yangon selling produce.
Yangon is the country's main centre for trade, industry, real estate,
media, entertainment and tourism. The city represents about one fifth
of the national economy. According to official statistics for FY
2010–2011, the size of the economy of
Yangon Region was
8.93 trillion kyats, or 23% of the national GDP.
Traffic congestion in Yangon
Teashop on Pavement
The city is Lower Burma's main trading hub for all kinds of
merchandise – from basic food stuffs to used cars although commerce
continues to be hampered by the city's severely underdeveloped banking
industry and communication infrastructure.
Bayinnaung Market is the
largest wholesale centre in the country for rice, beans and pulses,
and other agricultural commodities. Much of the country's legal
imports and exports go through Thilawa Port, the largest and busiest
port in Burma. There is also a great deal of informal trade,
especially in street markets that exist alongside street platforms of
Downtown Yangon's townships. However, on 17 June 2011, the YCDC
announced that street vendors, who had previously been allowed to
legally open shop at 3 pm, would be prohibited from selling on
the streets, and permitted to sell only in their townships of
residence, presumably to clean up the city's image. Since 1
December 2009, high-density polyethylene plastic bags have been banned
by city authorities.
Manufacturing accounts for a sizeable share of employment. At least 14
light industrial zones ring Yangon, directly employing over
150,000 workers in 4,300 factories in early 2010. The city is the
centre of country's garment industry which exported
US$292 million in 2008/9 fiscal year. More than 80 percent of
factory workers in
Yangon work on a day-to-day basis. Most are young
women between 15 and 27 years of age who come from the countryside in
search of a better life. The manufacturing sector suffers from
both structural problems (e.g. chronic power shortages) and political
problems (e.g. economic sanctions). In 2008, Yangon's 2500 factories
alone needed about 120 MW of power; yet, the entire city received
only about 250 MW of the 530 MW needed. Chronic power shortages
limit the factories' operating hours between 8 am and
Construction is a major source of employment. The construction
industry has been negatively affected by the move of state apparatus
and civil servants to Naypyidaw, new regulations introduced in
August 2009 requiring builders to provide at least 12 parking spaces
in every new high-rise building, and the general poor business
climate. As of January 2010, the number of new high-rise building
starts approved in 2009–2010 was only 334, compared to 582 in
Tourism represents a major source of foreign currency for the city
although by south-east Asian standards the number of foreign visitors
Yangon has always been quite low—about 250,000 before the Saffron
Revolution in September 2007. The number of visitors dipped even
further following the
Saffron Revolution and Cyclone Nargis. The
recent improvement in the country's political climate has attracted an
increasing number of businessmen and tourists. Between 300,000 and
400,000 visitors that went through
Yangon International in 2011.
However, after years of underinvestment, Yangon's modest hotel
infrastructure—only 3000 of the total 8000 hotel rooms in
"suitable for tourists"—is already bursting at seams, and will need
to be expanded to handle additional visitors. As part of an urban
development strategy, a hotel zone has been planned in Yangon's
outskirts, encompassing government- and military-owned land in
Hlegu and Htaukkyant Townships.
See also: List of universities and colleges in Yangon
University of Medicine 1
Yangon educational facilities has a very high number of qualified
teachers but the state spending on education is among the lowest of
the world. Around 2007 estimate by the London-based International
Institute for Strategic Studies puts the spending for education at
0.5% of the national budget. The disparity in educational
opportunities and achievement between rich and poor schools is quite
stark even within the city. With little or no state support
forthcoming, schools have to rely on forced "donations" and various
fees from parents for nearly everything – school maintenance to
teachers' salaries, forcing many poor students to drop out.
While many students in poor districts fail to reach high school, a
Yangon high schools in wealthier districts such as Dagon 1,
Sanchaung 2, Kamayut 2, Bahan 2, Latha 2, and TTC provide the majority
of students admitted to the most selective universities in the
country, highlighting the extreme shallowness of talent pool in the
country. The wealthy bypass the state education system altogether,
sending their children to private English language instruction schools
such as YIEC or more widely known as ISM, or abroad (typically
Singapore or Australia) for university education. In 2014,
international schools in
Yangon cost at least US$8,000 a year.
There are over 20 universities and colleges in the city. While Yangon
University remains the best known (its main campus is a part of
popular Burmese culture e.g. literature, music, film, etc.), the
nation's oldest university is now mostly a graduate school, deprived
of undergraduate studies. Following the 1988 nationwide uprising, the
military government has repeatedly closed universities, and has
dispersed most of undergraduate student population to new universities
in the suburbs such as Dagon University, the University of East Yangon
and the University of West Yangon. Nonetheless many of the country's
most selective universities are still in Yangon. Students from around
the country still have to come to study in
Yangon as some subjects are
offered only at its universities. The University of Medicine 1,
University of Medicine 2, Yangon
University of Medicine 2, Yangon Technological University, University
of Computer Studies and
Myanmar Maritime University are the most
selective in the country.
See also: List of hospitals in Yangon
Yangon General Hospital
The general state of health care in
Yangon is poor. According to a
2007 estimate, the military government spends 0.4% of the national
budget on health care, and 40% to 60% on defence. By the
government's own figures, it spends 849 kyats (US$0.85) per
person. Although health care is nominally free, in reality,
patients have to pay for medicine and treatment, even in public
clinics and hospitals. Public hospitals including the flagship Yangon
General Hospital lack many of the basic facilities and equipment.
Wealthier Yangonites still have access to country's best medical
facilities and internationally qualified doctors. Only
Mandalay have any sizeable number of doctors left as many Burmese
doctors have emigrated. The well-to-do go to private clinics or
hospitals like Pun Hlaing International Hospital and Bahosi Medical
Medical malpractice is widespread, even in
private clinics and hospitals that serve the well-to-do. In 2009 and
2010, a spate of high-profile deaths brought out the severity of
the problem, even for the relatively well off Yangonites. The wealthy
do not rely on domestic hospitals and travel abroad, usually Bangkok
or Singapore, for treatment.
The following are healthcare facilities in
Yangon in 2010–2011.
# of public hospitals
# of private hospitals
Shwe Dagon Pagoda
Interior View of Tooth Relic Pagoda
Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda
St Mary's Cathedral at the corner of Bo Aung Kyaw Road
Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple
Kyauktawgyi Buddha Temple
Kaba Aye Pagoda
Maha Wizaya Pagoda
Ye Le Pagoda
Allied War Memorial
Bogyoke Market (Scott's Market)
Hlawga National Park
Inya Lake (formerly Lake Victoria)
Kandawgyi Lake (formerly Royal Lake)
Kandawmin Garden Mausolea
Maha Bandula Park
People's Square and Park
St Mary's Cathedral
Sain Lane So Pyae Garden
Yangon Zoological Gardens
Yangon Zoological Gardens (
Museums and art galleries
National Museum of Myanmar
Myanmar Gems Museum
Bogyoke Aung San Museum
Yangon Drugs Elimination Museum
Concert halls and theatres
Yangon National Theatre
Myanmar Convention Centre
Yangon is a member of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21.
Twin towns – sister cities
Yangon is twinned with:
Ho Chi Minh City,
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See also: Bibliography of the history of Yangon
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yangon.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Yangon travel guide from Wikivoyage
Satellite picture by Google Maps
BBC article about British colonial architecture in Yangon
Mawlamyaing, Sittwe, Yangon
Capital of British Burma
31 January 1862 – 7 March 1942
3 May 1945 – 4 January 1948
End of British rule
Capital of Japanese Burma
7 March 1942 – 3 May 1945
End of Japanese rule
Capital of Burma
4 January 1948 – 6 November 2005
Articles related to Yangon
Districts/Townships of Yangon
Dagon Seikkan Township
East Dagon Township
North Dagon Township
North Okkalapa Township
South Dagon Township
South Okkalapa Township
Mingala Taungnyunt Township1
Seikkyi Kanaungto Township
1 - part of South
Yangon City; 2 - part of North
Dagon Seikkan Township
East Dagon Township
North Dagon Township
North Okkalapa Township
South Dagon Township
South Okkalapa Township
Mingala Taungnyunt Township1
Seikkyi Kanaungto Township
Main cities and towns
1 - part of South
Yangon City; 2 - part of North
Administrative divisions of Myanmar
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