The Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT), strategically located on Strand Street, offers tourists and history buffs with two routes down Yangon’s memory lane.

The tour, available in both English and Burmese, is led by a well-trained local guide. (Photo: Hein Htet)

Route A covers the legal district, Sule Pagoda and Bogyoke Market, whilst Route B takes us down the commercial and administrative past.

Each walk is about 2.5 hours long, guided by witty and knowledgeable tour guides. The YHT provides two time slots for the heritage walks; a personal recommendation would be the morning walk- fairly pleasant with a sneak-peek into Yangon’s morning ritual state.

Just getting down the YHT office, the tour guide first gives you a glimpse of Yangon’s port -hardly a glimpse with the warehouses blocking the view of the dockyard- which is now the world’s largest port. YHT aims to push legislative drives to get rid of the warehouses and re-beautify the view. The YHT office boasts a variety of archaic photographs, tiles and ruins from historic buildings in Yangon.

In front of Yangon Stock Exchange (Photo: Natty)

While walking along Bank Street, the tour guide brings to our notice the transformation of the buildings from the early 1900s to the present banks. Although the Yangon Stock Exchange building stands strong, only a few companies trade, making it one of the least trading stock markets in the world!

Entering the vast expanse of the Mahabandoola Park, we get to see quite a few historic sites; even where the very first department store in Myanmar -largest is Asia- had previously existed. The park overlooks the Courts and the City Hall where people would historically gather to protest against the military rule and many revolutions after that.

Then passing the majestic Sule Pagoda, built around 2500 years ago, we walk towards the Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue; the only Jewish religious site in Myanmar. This synagogue carries 2 Turors which translate into “written bibles”. Initially the synagogue bore 128 turors (most number of turors in the world). The turors must be handwritten with no mistakes; a single mistake made, implies that the writer must begin once again from scratch -pity the one who makes an error on the final page!

The Last Jewish Synagogue in Yangon

Down the road, we’re permitted to enter into the mosque which is a Sunni Mosque, built by an Iranian architect in 1914. Originally a wooden building, the mosque is now in marble for restoration and maintenance purposes.Finally, the route leads up to the infamous Bogyoke Aung San Market, which is also known as Scott Market, after the Municipal Commissioner at the time- Mr. Gavin Scott. The tour guides leaves you to decide if you want to wander about the bustle of the local market or welcome the modern era by visiting Junction City, the mall next door.

A very informative heritage walk, the tour surprises you with facts unknown and relics hidden from the typical traveler. A must-do activity on your checklist, the YHT promises you a well-polished glimpse into Yangon’s history and fascinating past.

 


INFO: Yangon Heritage Trust Walking Tour

Tours are on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Both routes are available in the morning (9am) and afternoon (4pm/3pm in December and January). Price $30/person.

Book the tour: http://www.yangonheritagetrust.org/tours

Address: 22-24 Pansodan Street, Kyauktada Township, Yangon 11182

Phone: 01 240 544

Email : info@yangonheritagetrust.org

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