After you land in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, you’ll be met by a car and driver to transfer you to the Strand Hotel
. One of Asia’s iconic hotels, the Strand opened in 1901 and has long been the address for visitors to the city. While the hotel has been renovated and refreshed many times over the years, most recently in 2016, it has always been with the goal of staying true to the property’s history. While the chandeliers, dark woods, and ceiling fans remain, the hotel had added the latest in in-room technology and entertainment.
After you get settled, head out to the 326-foot-tall Shwedagon Pagoda. The gleaming stupa covered in gold plates dominates the city’s skyline and is the most important holy site in the country. It is also, according to some, the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world, though the date of its construction is disputed. Continue on to the more modest Sule Pagoda. While it doesn’t compete with the Shwedagon when it comes to the “wow” factor, Sule’s location at the heart of downtown Yangon has made it an important site in recent years. Demonstrations here in 1988 and 2007, the so-called Saffron Revolution, were central to bringing political reform to this country.
On a stop at the Rangoon Tea House, about ten minutes on foot from the Sule Pagoda, order a lunch of the local dish mohinga
, a fish soup with rice noodles, and then head on to the Bogyoke Aun San Market to shop for gifts for friends back home. Look for lacquerware, embroidered tapestries, and silk items. Myanmar is also known for its gemstones; if you are planning on shopping for jewelry, ask the concierge at the Strand for recommendations of reputable jewelers before you head out.
After a cool cocktail at the Strand, dine tonight at Kipling’s at the Savoy Hotel
. The menu includes excellent Asian and Western dishes, though the primary draw here is the views of the Shwedagon Pagoda, illuminated at night.