Yangong, Yangon, Myanmar

🇲🇲 Yangon, also known as Rangoon, is the capital of the Yangon Region and the largest city of Myanmar. Yangon served as the capital of Myanmar until 2006, when the military government relocated the administrative functions to the purpose-built capital city of Naypyidaw in north central Myanmar. Yangon is Myanmar's most populous city and its most important commercial centre.

Yangon boasts the largest number of colonial-era buildings in Southeast Asia, and has a unique colonial-era urban core that is remarkably intact. The colonial-era commercial core is centered around the Sule Pagoda, which is reputed to be over 2,000 years old. The city is also home to the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda – Myanmar's most sacred and famous Buddhist pagoda. Yangon was the burial place where the British sent Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor, to live in exile after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Yangon suffers from deeply inadequate infrastructure, especially compared to other major cities in Southeast Asia, such as Jakarta, Bangkok or Hanoi. Though many historic residential and commercial buildings have been renovated throughout central Yangon, most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be profoundly impoverished and lack basic infrastructure.

Economy Yangon is the country's main centre for trade, industry, real estate, media, entertainment and tourism. The city represents about one fifth of the national economy. According to official statistics the economy of Yangon Region is 23% of the national GDP. The city is Lower Burma's main trading hub for all kinds of merchandise – from basic foodstuffs to used cars although commerce continues to be hampered by the city's severely underdeveloped banking industry and communication infrastructure. Bayinnaung Market is the largest wholesale centre in the country for rice, beans and pulses, and other agricultural commodities. Much of the country's legal imports and exports go through Thilawa Port, the largest and busiest port in Burma. There is also a great deal of informal trade, especially in street markets that exist alongside street platforms of Downtown Yangon's townships.

Manufacturing accounts for a sizeable share of employment. At least 14 light industrial zones ring Yangon, directly employing over 150,000 workers in 4,300 factories in early 2010. The city is the centre of country's garment industry which exported US$292 million in 2008/9 fiscal year. More than 80 percent of factory workers in Yangon work on a day-to-day basis. Most are young women between 15 and 27 years of age who come from the countryside in search of a better life. The manufacturing sector suffers from both structural problems (e.g. chronic power shortages) and political problems (e.g. economic sanctions). In 2008, Yangon's 2,500 factories alone needed about 120 MW of power; yet, the entire city received only about 250 MW of the 530 MW needed. Chronic power shortages limit the factories' operating hours between 8 am and 6 pm.

Construction is a major source of employment. The construction industry has been negatively affected by the move of state apparatus and civil servants to Naypyidaw, new regulations introduced in August 2009 requiring builders to provide at least 12 parking spaces in every new high-rise building, and the general poor business climate.

Tourism represents a major source of foreign currency for the city although by south-east Asian standards the number of foreign visitors to Yangon has always been quite low—about 250,000 before the Saffron Revolution in September 2007. The number of visitors dipped even further following the Saffron Revolution and Cyclone Nargis. The recent improvement in the country's political climate has attracted an increasing number of businessmen and tourists. Between 300,000 and 400,000 visitors that went through Yangon International in 2011. However, after years of underinvestment, Yangon's modest hotel infrastructure—only 3,000 of the total 8,000 hotel rooms in Yangon are "suitable for tourists"—is already bursting at seams, and will need to be expanded to handle additional visitors. As part of an urban development strategy, a hotel zone has been planned in Yangon's outskirts, encompassing government- and military-owned land in Mingaladon, Hlegu and Htaukkyant Townships.

Yangon Time 
Yangon Time
Image: Adobe Stock Mazur Travel #164233168

Yangong has a population of over 4,088,000 people. Yangong also forms the centre of the wider Yangong metropolitan area which has a population of over 7,000,000 people.

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