In January 2014 we headed to Myanmar, also called Burma, a totally underestimated travel destination, in our humble opinion. The place is extremely rich in culture, the climate is very mild at this time of the year (and of course if you avoid the rainy season) and the people are incredibly friendly and welcoming.
Since this was our first visit to Myanmar, we just kept ourselves to the easily accessible central region, and therefore the most visited places. The first stop, and main point of entrance to Myanmar, was Yangon. This former capital of Myanmar - in 2005 the government moved the capital to Naypyidaw after consulting a fortune teller - was founded in the 6th century and became the capital in 1852. Under British rule, the city of Yangon was completely remodeled, and an orthogonal grid was drawn over the existing town and colonial buildings for British administration were constructed.
The main point of interest in Yangon though is the Shwedagon Paya or Great Dagon of Golden Pagoda, situated on Singuttara Hill. It is the largest temple and the most sacred Buddhist Pagoda in Myanmar.
Situated on top of the hill, overlooking Yangon, the temple is a vast complex of old and new buildings, all covered in gold and mirrors, competing to be the most shiny and sumptuous. Every corner of it is used to place shrines and statues. Dominating it all is the 99 m (325 ft) high central stupa, completely covered in gold. Add a never ending stream of worshipers and pilgrims and you have a location with an extraordinary and vibrant atmosphere.
After sunset the place gets a more intimate feel. The complex becomes less crowded and hundreds of oil lamps are lit at the foot of the central stupa. Reflected by all the bling and the polished white marble floor, the flamesturn the pagoda into a mystical fairytale. This is a spot that really enchants you !