In pictures: The old and new Yangon

WITH one foot embedded in the past and the other taking its first steps into the present, Yangon is very much a city of the old and the new.

Here you’ll find some of the best preserved colonial structures left in Asia, vintage-style trains and age-old monasteries filled with red robed monks. But you will also find development — high rise buildings starting to appear amongst the cracked and faded vestiges of the past, new buses, mobile phones, digital camera shops and air conditioning. Increasingly the old scenes of Rangoon, as it was once known, are being juxtaposed with the new in modern day Yangon.

These images reflect some of that passing age and the new sights and sounds of the former capital.

The modern centre burgeoning around SulePagoda in Downtown Yangon


Saint Mary's Cathedral, dating from 1895

A nightmarket in downtown Yangon. While lit by electricity, here many street sellers still use candles.

“Rangoon is one of the last cities in Asia with a lot of its 19th and 20th century architecture intact,” said Thant Myint. “We have a narrow window of opportunity to try to avoid the worst mistakes of the rest of the region.”
– Associated Press

Young monks wind their way through traffic. They head out every morning to collect alms around Yangon.


Billboards by Bogyoke Market


An old system of watering on the outskirts of the city


Monks pass one of Yangon's newer buses

Most of Yangon's buses and forms of transport are dilapidated and hopelessly overcrowded.

“Although we’re way behind, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. We want to handle Burma with care. It’s like a fragile thing,” said Su Su Tin, who runs a travel agency and is an executive member of a consortium of more than 100 hotels, airlines and tour operators.
– Associated Press

Lighting candles at Shwedagon Pagoda remains a nightly ritual for many locals.


The Shwedagon Pagoda rising above new high rise


Vintage bicycles in central Yangon

Modern day traffic in Yangon

Popular tea stall near Sule Pagoda

The modern reception area in one of Yangon's oldest and finest hotels, The Strand

Street side vegetable and produce markets remain the best place to do your shopping.

All images are by Joanne Lane,