Inner Circle

Love, Learning and Longyis

Steeped in spirituality, history and hopefulness, Yangon will inspire you.

Love, Learning and Longyis
It is a step back to a time of simplicity and once the energy of travel subsides, you’ll find your assumptions slowly melting away.

Arriving in Yangon is a sensory tumble from the airport down bumpy roads and rivers to the churning wheels and hurried pace of downtown. It is a step back to a time of simplicity and once the energy of travel subsides, you’ll find your assumptions slowly melting away. Make no mistake, the wheels of enterprise are slowly turning and the comforts of modernity are never too far out of reach, but the down to earth traditions and lifestyles around you are refreshing and inspiring.

Sule Shangri-La, Yangon, with its old-world romanticism and touches of poetry, is the perfect corner to observe and discover this remarkable place.

Humble by Nature

In Yangon, a love of learning is evident in everything. From passionate conversations to rows of printed books lining the streets, from engineering textbooks to 20th century literary classics, knowledge is so precious and revered that it’s easy to find yourself reflecting on the last time you pursued learning something new with such fervour.

From Sule Shangri-La, Yagon, you’ll find your view adorned with the golden spires of the breathtaking Shwedagon Pagoda. Over 2,500 years old, its glow is a testament to the ancient majesty and spirituality of Myanmar. A short walk from the hotel is the Sule Pagoda, a small but enchanting temple. Despite the heat (Yangon’s temperatures year round range from a mild 18 ˚C to nearly 40 ˚C), it’s best to keep your legs and arms covered. Longyis, traditional sarong-wrap skirts, are readily available and more commonly worn than trousers by both men and women. These are necessary when entering places of worship, but also a surprisingly cool and breezy garment for walking the hot dusty streets.

While the heat also opens up the temptation to wear sandals, you’ll find a good pair of walking shoes much more forgiving. There’s a lot to see and do in Yangon and your feet are the best way to get you there. Sule Shangri-La, Yangon is the ideal home base. From here, you can begin a pedestrian adventure across the city. Start by ticking off the richly embroidered textiles, antiques, gemstones and handicrafts at Bogyoke Aung San Market. This colourful bazaar occupies a sprawling colonial building. Source your fabrics downstairs then head upstairs to have them quickly fashioned into your own longyi.

Time-worn Charm

Catch a taxi to The Strand for a glimpse into the colonial architecture and influences that once shaped this port into a thriving centre. Start early as the city gets hotter and hotter after noon. Luckily, the heat is easily remedied with a sweet and cool Mango and Lime Lassi. You’ll find Burmese cuisine an enticing blend of Indian and Thai influences with light curries and fresh salads – Preserved Tea Leaf with Crunchy Nuts, Tomatoes, Garlic and Onions is a staple and a highlight.

While Yangon is very much a downtown city, there are pockets of lush natural beauty. The best maintained parks are near Shwedagon Pagoda, where you can walk to Kandawgyi Lake. In the city’s parks you’ll find young couples sitting on grass, sharing moments together under the shade of an umbrella. Students, locals and Buddhist monks are happy and open to explaining cultural artefacts, customs and stories – everything in Myanmar has a story. 

The National Museum of Myanmar is housed in a very humble, unassuming structure and is yet to reach the grandeur and pride it deserves – but within its walls is a journey to ancient civilisations, the riches of royalty, the triumphs and trials of conflict and the dawn of time. Dinosaur fossils rub shoulders with woven precious metals and traditional garments and modern art. 

On the surface, Yangon may seem a little rough around the edges. Myanmar is slowly opening up to the rest of the world, with all the pitfalls and challenges that accompanies its development, but look deeper into this soulful city and see how invigorating and uplifting its remarkable people are. Revel in its contrasts, embrace its energy, savour its pace and you’re sure to fall in love.

Tips, tricks and attractions:

  • Pomelo design store on Thein Phyu Road boasts a range of beautiful handicrafts, accessories and decorations from various social enterprises across the city. It carries the perfect gifts and mementos.
  • Le Planteur on University Avenue is an unexpected touch of luxury with its tiered riverside lawns, elegant geese and French cuisine. A world unto itself, Le Planteur’s artistry, imagination and quality are unsurpassed in the city. Dress up as this place commands a sense of occasion.
  • Yangoods can be found at Le Planteur. These stylish pieces are an interesting and modernising interpretation of Burmese traditions, using old photos and motifs to create contemporary designs.
  • Bogyoke Aung Sun Market is a must-see for textiles, gems, jewellery and more.
  • Beat the afternoon heat with a dip in the Sule Shangri-La Yangon pool.
  • It’s hot out there. Wear a hat, make sure you bring water wherever you go and apply plenty of sunscreen.
  • Keep covered and dress for respect. When in doubt, don your longyis.
  • Negotiate taxi fares before you start driving – there are no fixed rates.

 

 Make a booking at Sule Shangri-La, Yangon Back to Destination 

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