This is a photo journal of my 3 short days in the awe-inspiring city of Yangon. It is a city with so much history and so much charisma, and one that will soon catch up to it’s south east Asian counterparts following years of military rule. It will change, and it will change fast, but for now there is a glimpse of a world stuck between two centuries, a fascinating place that will leave you captivated and wanting to return.
The streets remind me a little of what I imagined Bangkok to look like 30 years ago, rugged structures with a small hint of colonial feel. They are narrow and filled with cars, only enough for one car to drive one way.
Old colonial buildings still line the streets of Yangon from a time in the early 20th century when Yangon was the third largest cosmopolitan in Asia. Even the likes of George Orwell would spend their time here in this lively city.
A lady sells vegetables on the streets in Yangon. Her face is painted with Thanaka, yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It is used by many Burmese women as a natural cosmetic to protect and cleanse the skin.
Small wooden boats are used to transport goods across the Yangon River
This lady is selling Betal nut at a local market. Betel nuts have long been chewed by the indigenous peoples of Asia, and are known to produce a stimulating euphoria, although it is also known to cause teeth decay and kidney disease after long-term use.
Monks on their morning alms in Yangon city. This was the first time I ever saw women monks (referred to as Nuns in Burmese culture), who dress in pink rather than maroon.
Women make street food for the people of Yangon. It is much more common to eat from the street or in small tea houses, rather than eat in restaurants which is considered high class.
An old Telegraph Office sits in downtown Yangon as a reminder of a time not too long ago (2012) when a mobile sim card cost in excess of 100 US dollars, and people still went to the Telegraph Office to make calls. It’s an example of a time where Yangon stood still while the rest of the world entered the technological revolution.
Not far from the bustling city of Yangon there is a small Indian village, their houses far from the concrete buildings and their livelihoods far from prosperous. It is a sad example of the wealth disparity that is happening in the country.
El Ninõ prolongs the dry season and all the rivers in Dala have dried up. These villagers wait patiently in line for water donated by authorities as they look to the skies for any signs of rain.
Two generations of monks walk through a village in Dala collecting their alms.
You can buy almost anything on the streets of Yangon as they city is yet to erect convenience stores and shops. It is now mango season and there are mangos everywhere to be seen.
A watchmaker stares deeply into the workings of a local’s watch on a sidewalk in Yangon.
Two met concoct a batch of refreshing sugar cane juice for locals, using what seems to be an apparatus made in the early 20th century
A taxi driver reads a Burmese newspaper. The Burmese alphabet consists almost entirely of circles or portions of circles used in various combinations.
Much business goes on in the streets of Yangon, including the sale of fruits and snacks. This man sells Bananas on his bicycle, a scene you would see back in the 1950’s.
We visited a small village located in Dala and this lovely family offered us some delicious mango snacks and water. We were met with smiles and a “Mingalabar” wherever we rode our bicycles.
Special thanks to
Uncharted Horizons Myanmar and Free Yangon Walks for contributing to my amazing experiences in Yangon.