In 2001, on one of those trips I took my American friend Ken to Yangon. In between our busy schedule, we managed to find some time to visit the zoo. Surprisingly, he enjoyed our excursion there, and so did I, as it brought back many happy memories of my childhood. Then in 2010 I went to the zoo again with my buddy Monty who lives in Yangon, and another American friend. By then, the name had already been officially changed to a more elegant sounding "Yangon Zoological Gardens."

I found out that along with the name change, a lot of improvements had actually been made in spite of the intensive damage caused by Cyclone Nargis which hit the country with devasting force in May of the previous year.

Here is the name in Burmese letters: ရန်ကုန် တိရိစ္ဆာန် ဥယျာဉ်

You can't miss it! :)

Now, a little information about the zoo itself. Believe it or not, the zoo was formally opened way back in 1906 when the country was under British colonial rule. I believe its 100th anniversary celebration was held in 2006 with a grand festival on the 70-acre grounds of the zoo which lasted a full month.

Besides the usual collection of land and water animals, including 8 endangered species, it is also a recreational park with a Museum of natural history (where one can see some intriguing exhibits), an aquarium and an outdoor amusement area. It also boasts over 300 species of flora with trees and plants, beautiful flowers all over the place. Shady green lawns and a lovely lake can be found amidst lush tropical surroundings for family picnics, or just to relax for a while. There are a lot of entertainment options for the young and young at heart, such as various thrill rides, including rides on horses, elephants, horse cart, etc.

According to the zoo's pamphlet given at the entrance, care of the animals receives high priority and international animal care standards are followed. I was somewhat relieved to see this as I am very much against animal cruelty and abuse. The leaflet also stated that it is a world class zoo with 2.5 million visitors a year.

When I was there last, the admission fee was only $3.00 for adults and $1.00 for children. It might be a dollar or two more now. Be prepared to spend almost a whole day as it is a very large place with lots to see. There are a couple of restaurants on the grounds, and also refreshment booths. You can also take your own food and drink inside. Within walking distance from the zoo is the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel which is definitely worth a walk through (I did that several times even though I didn't stay at the hotel). It is situated on tranquil Kandawgyi Lake, another must see when you are in Yangon. HAPPY TRAVELS IN THE LAND OF THE GOLDEN PAGODAS!!