Shwedagon Pagoda is the most visually impressive structure in Yangon. So we won't bury the lead, and start there.
Sunrise and sunset are the optimal times to see Shwedagon, to experience the dramatic shifts in light on the Pagoda, while avoiding the heat of the day. Sunrise is less crowded, though avoiding a crowd is not possible at any time of day.
The size of Shwedagon is hard to grasp. Perspective is easily lost even when seeing it in person. These monks walking along the lowest portion of the pagoda adds clarity.
Yangon is hot. It is a hot, big, crowded, dirty, and chaotic city. More so than Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Medan. Motorcycles have been outlawed since the 90's allegedly due to unacceptably high number of fatalities. With the worst drivers we have seen yet, and lack of two wheeled vehicles to lessen congestions, the streets are an absolute mess. Constant honking is part of life. However road rage seemed not existent, which is as unexplainable as it is impressive.
The circle train is a good way to get a real view of the city. The first ten minutes offered nothing to see whatsoever. Then the view opened up and there was plenty to see on and off the train.
Vendors hop on and off the train at each stop. This woman only used her hand for balance near a crowd.
Huge crowds of pigeons were a common scene. Nearby will certainly be someone selling seeds to feed the birds. People will pay for a little bonus karma.
The city has a very a unique with dingy look that is charming. Eventually we noticed the clips hanging from high up balconies are used for newspaper deliveries. Clever and simple.
Yangon is dirty city (kind of), and it smells (kind of). There is quiet a bit of garbage around, especially in the allies, and the streets have semi-open sewers. It became kind of curious, why does it not smell worse? We know that parts of New York City and Los Angeles have areas that smell like they manufacture garbage juice. So is American garbage that much more rancid? Whats going on here?
Sule Pagoda in a light fog. Perhaps more impressive from the outside, it makes a good marker for downtown Yangon. Staying in this area keeps you near the very extensive night markets, where none of the signs are in english, but some menus have english. See something that looks good? We just did a lot of pointing.