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Less Famous Yet Worth Visiting Places in Yangon
Yangon is one of Myanmar’s most busy and exciting cities. And I think it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves; it’s a city that’s full of character, with so many interesting things to do, see, and eat. This list of attractions doesn’t include everything there is to do in the city, but I think it’s a mixed-bag list of attractions and offers a good start, or place worth exploring the city.
Taukkyan War Cemetery
Eleven miles north of Yangon’s airport is this huge, immensely sad but beautifully maintained cemetery. It contains the graves of 6374 Allied soldiers who died in the Burma and Assam campaigns of WWII. There is also a memorial bearing the names of the almost 27,000 soldiers who died with no known grave.
The cemetery was opened in 1951. As you walk around reading the names of those who died and the epitaphs commemorating them, the heat of the sun seems to fade and the noise of the road recedes, leaving you alone in the silence of your own thoughts.
HtweOo Myanmar Traditional Puppet Theatre
Book ahead for this utterly charming cultural experience by Htwe and his family who stage traditional puppet shows in their front living room. They've travelled the world and won awards for their shows, which last around an hour. The shows include English explanations and you can inspect and play with the beautiful puppets.
Thakketa Crocodile Farm
Off the main road from Yangon to Thanlyin, at the end of a bumpy road leading into the Thakketa Industrial Estate, is this government-run farm that breeds rare crocodiles to maintain their population. Some of the saltwater crocs are monsters, growing up to 15ft long. Watching their fanged mouths snap around tossed pieces of fish will send a chill down your spine.
Boardwalks keep you at a safe distance and lead over concrete pools and the mangroves next to Pazundaung Creek. There's also a dubious circus-style 'show' where you may learn some more about the lives of these frightening creatures.
National Races Village
Traditional houses of the Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan are dotted around this lush, landscaped compound hugging the Bago River, just north of the Yangon side of the Thanlyin Bridge. The best thing to do here is go for a cycle – the park is large and you can rent a bicycle to get around.
Eat well and with a healthy conscience at this colorful restaurant and art gallery. It's run by the social-development project Forever, which helps train street kids and generates income for a shelter as well as other projects. Multicourse set Myanmar meals are a good deal at 6,000 to 8,000 MMK.
This is one of the busiest of Yangon's cultural centers. Apart from the library and French-language evening courses, it regularly hosts various events including film screenings (usually on Monday nights), art and music shows. The Rendez-Vous Bistro in the courtyard is a pleasant spot for a light meal or drink.