Kandawgyi Park, sometimes also called Kandawgyi Garden, is one of the reasons why Yangon is often called the garden city. It is a retreat in the middle of the bustle and the noise, where couples, joggers and people looking for a relaxing stroll can unwind in a tranquil setting. The many picnic areas and playgrounds under the shady trees are especially popular with families and kids. But spread over 260 acres you can also find tropical gardens, restaurants and recreation centers, a big walkway along Kandawgyi, the great artificial lake created in colonial times, a mini zoo and good views of the Shwedagon Pagoda and Karaweik Hall. The latter is an enormous replica of a royal barge comprised of three floors of dining rooms, performance halls and shops and reminds of the ancient Burmese kings, who used to travel the waterways of their kingdom on these glamorous boats.
Kandawgyi Park is also the location where regular concerts and festivals are held throughout the year. At the beginning of January, for example, the Independence Day festival is celebrated in the gardens for seven days. Another prominent festival takes place in November, when oarsmen from all over the country compete in boat races on the lake. This annual regatta also includes a royal barge procession, which stands in contrast to the more rowdy races and pays homage to the old times and the beautiful vessels used back then with a lot of pomp and ceremony.
You can find the Kandawgyi Park just north of downtown Yangon and east of the Shwedagon Pagoda. The easiest way to get there is either on foot or by taxi, but if you want to brave the bus system, it’s best to get off at either the Shewdagon Pagoda East Gate stop or on 3 Street. If you want to go on the boardwalk around the lake, the entry fee to the park is K2000 for foreigners, about $2, but if you enter through the two eastern entrances to go to one of the restaurants, you will only have to pay K300. There is also a K500 camera fee if your camera is spotted at the entrance.