by the Siam Society under Royal Patronage

Yangon’s Urban Heritage

A Siamese Heritage Trust Study Trip
A Visit to Yangon’s Urban Heritage
Trip leader: James Stent
Chairperson of Siamese Heritage Trust
Friday 6 – Sunday 8 October 2017

Yangon is unique. The British seized Yangon in 1852 and made the city the capital of Burma in 1885. They constructed a great number of grand, impressive buildings in Victorian, Art Deco, British Burmese and Neoclassical style. Of all Southeast Asian cities, Yangon has the highest number of surviving colonial era buildings. As a result of 60 years of Myanmar’s isolation, it still retains much original architecture.

After the Myanmar government moved the capital to Naypyidaw in 2005, many of the colonial era buildings were abandoned and are in a bad state of repair. Since Myanmar has slowly opened its door to tourism and foreign investment, Yangon’s urban landscape has gradually changed its face. Many colonial era buildings have been destroyed and replaced by modern high-rise buildings, shopping malls and hotels.

Since 2012, many of Yangon’s heritage building have been monitored and safeguarded through the efforts Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT), in cooperation with the Yangon City Development Committee. Many have been listed as historic buildings, many of them are being restored, the use of those historic properties will be controlled, and urban planning for balanced development has been promoted. YHT’s efforts to bring about better cultural heritage management in Yangon is a model for heritage protection in Southeast Asia.

While YHT works to protect built heritage, another NGO, the Turquoise Mountain Foundation is working to preserve aspects of Myanmar’s intangible heritage—its arts and crafts.

Siamese Heritage Trust will lead Society members to tour the heritage architecture of Yangon’s downtown and learn from Yangon Heritage Trust and Turquoise Mountain about their working strategy and conservation projects by walking through historic trails and listening to Myanmarpeople describe their visions of the future Yangon.           

The tentative programme is below:-


Day1, Friday, 6 October : Bangkok to Yangon: 


Meet at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

7:55 a.m.

Depart Bangkok to Yangon by TG 303 (flight time 1.25 hrs.)

8:50 a.m.

Arrive at Yangon International Airport

11:00 a.m.

An introduction to Yangon Urban Heritage Protection by Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) at its office. Learn about YHT as a centre of excellence in urban built and cultural heritage management, and a leading civil society that sets the standard for good heritage practice.


Have Myanmar and other Southeast Asian food in a colonial era shophouse adapted for restaurant use

1:30 p.m.

Visit the Secretariat at which YHT funded a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the iconic building 


A visit to Turquoise Mountain at its office. Turquoise Mountain is an international organization that uses its expertise and its track record to combine heritage-led regeneration in Yangon, with supporting and reviving a traditional craft industry across the country. The group will visit the artisan workhop and one of its historic building conservation project. 

5:00 p.m.     

Check-in at Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake


Fine dining at a beautiful adaptive reuse house


Day 2, Saturday, 7 Oct. : A historic trail and a conservation project

8:30 a.m.     

Leave the hotel for Bogyoke Market


Walk a historic trail from Bogyoke Market to YHT office  


Take a short walk to see historic buildings on the Strand road
Lunch at a leading hotel in Yangon during the colonial era, and has now been restored as the premier hotel of Yangon


Visit Yangon National Museum and U-Thant House

4:00 p.m.

Rest at the hotel


Visit Shwedagon Pagoda


Dinner at a Shan restaurant


Day 3, Sunday, 8 October: A historic trail and a discussion

9:00 a.m.

Check-out and leave  baggage at the lobby


Visit Indian Quarter and China Town


Lunch at a local restaurant in the neighborhood

1:30 p.m.

Visit with Dr. Thant Thaw Kuang, noted Burmese historian at his bookshop for a discussion on aspects of heritage protection

4:30 p.m.

Leave the hotel for Yangon International Airport

07:45 p.m.

Depart to Bangkok by TG 306 (flight time 1.25 hrs.)

09:40 p.m.

Arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport


Wonderful photos from Yangon trip have been exhibited
with a short description HERE>>>
Images and captions by Visanu Euarchikiati, SHT Committee Member