Yangon, the second capital city and gateway to the Union of Myanmar, is one of the most attractive cities in the East. Its fringes are beautiful with pagodas, spacious parks gardens and its atmosphere cooled by the Kandawgyi Lake and Inya Lake. Most of the major Myanmar and foreign companies are located in Yangon. The city is the point of entry for visitors from abroad to Myanmar by air and sea. About 2,500 years ago, there was probably a coastal fishing village or a trading colony called “Okkala”. After the construction of Shwedagon Pagoda, the settlement grew in fame as Dagon. King Alaungpaya of Konbaung Dynasty founded Yangon when he took the village of Dagon in 1755. He called the settlement as Yangon or “End of Strife”. It becomes a port city and a centre of commercial functions since pre-colonial and colonial days. The Yangon River or Hlaing River gives it color and peninsular look (from aerial view) touching the city in the east and south flanks and the Pazundaung Creek in the west.
Bago(Pegu) is just 80 km(50 miles) north of Yangon. It is just about an hour drive from Yangon. Bago is accessible easily from Yangon, Mandalay, Pyay and other cities. Bago is one of the richest archaeological sites in Myanmar. Apparently Mons were the first to settle at this site. Two Mon brothers Thamala and Wimala from Thaton, first founded the city about 825 A.D. In 13th century A.D. the site, which was then on the Gulf of Martaban, had already been earmarked as the location of a great city by Gautama, the historic Buddha. Bago was made the capital of the Mon Kingdom and it came to be known as Hansavati (Hanthawaddy). It was also the seaport of ancient Mon kings. Then it became the Second Myanmar Empire founded by King Bayinnaung.
Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock)
Kyaikhtiyo pagoda is also known as the Golden Rock Pagoda. It is situated in Kyaikhto Township in Mon State, four-hour drive from Yangon. There is a well-beaten path leading to the Pagoda on the peak of the mountain. It automatically makes a good trekking. It is a really miraculous Pagoda, because it does not fall down the steep slope of the mountain, although it should, but still remains as it is throughout a great length of time. Myanmar Buddhists believe it is due to the power and glory of the Buddha’s hair enshrined in the Pagoda. Tourists can make a side trip there from Yangon and get back the same day if set out very early. Crowds of pilgrims from all parts of Myanmar both along the climbing paths and on the Pagoda Platform are themselves attractive.
It had been the base of notorious Portuguese Philip De Brito between 15th AD. He ran his own kingdom in Thanlyin siding with the Mon in their struggle against the Burmese. King Alaunpaya destroyed Thanlyin in 1756. Today, nothing of this ancient city is to be seen. There are two tombs of Minister Padetha Raza and the great solider – poet Natshin Naung. A short bus ride would take you to the Golden Kyaik Khauk Pagoda and Yele Paya – is perched on a tiny island in the middle of the river.
It is very enjoyable tidal cruise from Yangon to Twente – a small town, not far from the Twente Canal. Twente is famed for pottery and the production of various vegetables and fruits in large quantity. Of particular interest is the fact that all ships from deltaic area of the Ayeyarwaddy Division call at Twente, hence a busy jetty.